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How well do you know your competition?

April 20, 2017

You can't always be the most talented in the room, but you can be most competitive

These days one can say that finding who your competition is, is no longer as simple as walking outside your shop and finding your competitor across the street, where you can observe their window advertising, and watch their customers walking in.

 

You can't always be the most talented in the room, but you can be most competitive

A few weeks ago we discussed the subject of how well do you know your product, which we have established is a very important aspect of being successful at a trade show.

Another very important aspect of success at a trade show is the knowledge you possess about your competition. There is no doubt they will be there, and they will be hungry to get your clients, and prospects. In the same way you need to know your products, you will need to understand who your competition is, and how you can use this information to your advantage, at this particular trade show.

These days one can say that finding who your competition is, is no longer as simple as walking outside your shop and finding your competitor across the street, where you can observe their window advertising, and watch their customers walking in.

Today your competition could be someone enjoying a coffee in a Bistro with just a Smartphone. Competition is everywhere, and most of the time it's not local. That doesn't mean it has to be difficult to get the information you seek.

So who is your competitor at this trade show?

As a would be exhibitor, you have already placed some enquiries with the organisers. This should have resulted in a list of exhibitor registrations, this is the first thing you need to do. Have good look and see these exhibitors, many of whom will be offering similar products and services. This is where you start to find out who they are and asking some very to the point questions:

  • Have these exhibitors have been to this trade show before?
  • Where is their booth located, and what size is it?
  • Do they have an open booth, a corner booth, or an aisle booth.
  • Are they local, interstate, or international?

After you find this out have a look at their website, and learn as much as you can, their home page will always give you an indication as to who you are dealing with. Your competitor is that someone that is coming to this trade show to steal your clients and your prospects, that's WHO he is.

Make no mistake about it.

Now we come to the question of how you're going to find out more about them. As I said above you are no longer able to go out into the street and find more about your competition, so your first port of call will be their website, find how they promote their product or their service, their home page will give you a very good indication of the culture of their business. Read their newsletters and their blogs. In many cases what they say on their website, newsletters, and blogs, is how they look, and market their own product or service.

You may also obtain a quotation for a similar product as yours, to find out how long they take to respond, their best prices, delivery times, warranties offered, method of payment etc.

To be the most competitive you need to compare your business with theirs, your product or service with theirs. Once again you are doing this with the aim, of getting that competitive edge. The best way to do this is to conduct a Competitive Analysis.

In conducting a SWOT analysis you will find the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your competition, you can then compare that to your own. (SWOT templates are available free by doing a simple Google search). By doing so you will be able to learn whether you need to adjust your strategy and substantially gain that competitive edge.

Again you must keep in mind that you are going through this as a means of gathering knowledge about your competition, NOT TO COPY THEM, but to learn what their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are, and how to get a better competitive edge on them. This will make sure that you will be doing all the stealing of customers and prospects. Remember INFORMATION IS EVERYTHING. Gather as much as possible.

You have now gathered a lot of information about your competition, and as you do you will find information about your business and your products that you have forgotten. This information will get you re-focused on the needs of your own business.

A lot of information is now at hand, and you need to be able to use it, you now need to do something with it, that will give you the advantage. “

You can't always be the most talented in the room, but you can be most competitive

This is what you need to look into from here:

  1. You have assessed the strengths and the weaknesses of both the competition and that of yourself, you now need to determine where you and the members of your staff can improve the strategic thinking to achieve your goal in becoming the #1 dog at this forthcoming trade show.
  2. Having information about your competitors is very important, but we must not allow it to become a central issue of analysis, too much analysis brings paralysis, you only need to have enough to be able to make some strategic decisions of how to make the required changes (if need be) to get the advantage.
  3. There is an old saying “you never truly know someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes.” Here you need to have your team leaders role play "the walk", you will imagine you are the competition, you will understand why they do what they do, and how they do it.

Getting that competitive edge is not easy, but with the knowledge that you now have, it can be done. By knowing who your competitors are at this trade show, and knowing what they stand for, you will be able to anticipate more accurately any potential shifts being taken. You can now develop strategies to counter any movements by the competition, so you can stay at the top of the game.

We are getting closer to making a decision of investing in this trade show. As we indicated before, it is not easy to make a success of it, but with what information you are gathering now, and for the next few weeks you will be able to determine if:

  • You want to do this on your own, and you want to confirm your strategy, email me.
  • You require some assistance in getting there, then email me.
  • You want someone else to do it for you, ok email me

There is still some thinking to be done but you are getting closer to exhibiting at a trade show with a much bigger potential for success.

Now to make sure that you can achieve that potential for success, you must give some lengthy consideration to which trade show is going to be the more beneficial to your business. We will talk about that next week.