I know it sounds crazy, but you really should take some time each year and talk with some of your competitors. I had the opportunity to do this today at a local trade show. I have to admit it was a bit awkward at first thought, but as I got in it, I looked for commonalities and I watched how the conversation develop. By the end, we all felt good about each other and were actually looking to stand together on some specific issues in our industry.
Now, you are asking what type of ROI is gained here. Well, I actually learned more about the company than I could have ever known by reading the my competitor’s website. In addition, I know a little bit more about what types of services are valued at the particular company. Also, by leading the discussion, I was able to control the conversation and continue to ask questions of my competitors.
This information will really be valuable in formulating plans and helping me sort out our own strengths and weaknesses with respect to my competition’s offerings.
Good companies, find ways to connect and even share information when appropriate.
Use this as a strategy if the circumstances present themselves. Also, determine which competitors could eventually be resources for you with respect to a specific product or service you may not offer or have no intention of getting into.
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