Check out your competition. Too many business people neglect to do this. How in the world will you know where you stand in your market and your category if you don’t keep an eye on the other guy?
Do competitive shopping, but go with an open mind. Don’t waste a lot of time looking for what your competitors are doing wrong. We all tend to do this; it makes us feel better, superior, and helps confirm that what we are doing is right. But finding excuses to congratulate yourself is not the objective here.
Here’s a better idea. Send your employees out to do your competitive shopping. Have them come back with ten things the other guys are doing right. think about that. what could you possibly learn from paying attention to what your competitor is doing wrong. What you really want to know is why those customers are in the other guy’s store instead of yours.
Are you in the carpet business? Send your salespeople to other showrooms to comparison shop. Or have them call for an in-home estimate from all your competitors. Make sure your employees are learning firsthand what tricks the competition has up their sleeve.
Have your staff study every aspect of the other guy’s business, from how he answers the telephone to how he prices his product or service. Your employees will come back with ideas they can incorporate in to their work.
Once you’ve allowed your employees to discover ways they can improve customer service and grow your business, you’ve recruited them to your own cause. You’ve given them respect and dignity. You’ve made them, in effect, you’re partners. They’ve become your loyal internal customers- which they could not be if you had simply gone out yourself and come back to bestow your new found wisdom on them.