1) Pricing Strategy.
How is your competition pricing in the market? Does it make sense? Can you utilize the model or is it something you should avoid? Ask questions, find out why they are pricing in that manner. Is it deceptive? does it hide fees? Is it priced so thinly that it is not worth writing deals at those margins. Finding out what pricing is being used in your market allows to you to attack your market with an effective strategy.
Out in the field you will find marketing pieces, hear different pitches and approaches. You can then put together a strategy to compete with them, and utilize the good things you hear, I wouldn’t reinvent the wheel, rather add those tools to my tool belt. I would also search Google, Linked In, Twitter, Manta and Facebook for the competitors in your area and see how they are using social media to market themselves.
3) Prospecting techniques
How are they finding customers? Are there networking groups, a local magazine, or other avenues that they are utilizing specific to your market? Are they just cold calling with no plan? Find out what works and use it, avoid what seems ineffective, integrate the effective ones.
What type of equipment is your competition placing in the market? Is it something that would be of value to you? Do you have access to a comparable or better type of technology? If not, how can you counteract their product? Can you put together a strategic partnership with them if they have a unique product? Think outside the box.
5) Sales Methodology
How is your competition approaching the prospect? Is it effective? Do you have an approach to offset theirs, can you integrate their approach?
6) Follow Up
Did you know that most sales are closed after the 3rd call? Persistence often overcomes resistance and finding out what your competition does is very helpful. I always try to learn new techniques, even if it is from my direct competition.
7) After Sale Follow up
This is one piece that separates the wheat from the chaff. Do the customers even know who their agent is? If so how do follow up with the customer after the sale, what makes them stick out in the merchants mind? Ask your clients what they like and don’t like about their current agent. You may find some things that will work for you in the field.
8) Vertical Product Offerings
What other products is your competition offering in the field? Gift Cards, Loyalty Programs, Cash Advances, Business Loans, Consumer Financing, Marketing Services,etc. are great ways to get a foot in the door. Merchants have become numb to a lot of the credit card processing pitches. One way to separate yourself is to offer a suite of services. The more products you have with a customer builds a better relationship. You can put together a complete package of offerings and save them money or infuse cash flow into their business. Find out what merchants are using in your market, what products work and have a good reputation. If your competition is having success with a vertical, find out what it is and how you can add it too your menu of service offerings.
9) Cancellation Policies
What is your competition doing with regard to ETF? do they have one? Is it liquidated damages? What is the cancellation process? Knowing this info about the providers you are selling against can be the difference between closing a deal and not closing one.
10) Strategic Partnerships
Does your competition have a unique vertical product you can utilize? Talk to them, several people have multiple relationships with different vendors, maybe you leverage one of your competitors products to drive your processing sales. You may have an offering that they need access too as well. Another thing I have done is to look at my competition when looking for new agents. If they are solid reps and their customers like them, I want them to submit their business through me. Recruiting your competition is a great way to gain market share. If I know what my competition is doing, their strengths and weaknesses then I can put together an attractive program for a good agent in the field. They are worth their weight in gold and are few and far between.
If you want to take your sales to the next level, analyzing your market is something you have to do. Remember you are not looking at this like a job, but like business. If you want to be successful, use successful behaviors.
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