You can gain a lot of knowledge about your competition by combing through their websites, but here are five offline approaches that you don’t want to overlook.
5 Ways to Research Your Competition Offline
1. Check them out at trade shows.
Since you’re likely to be attending the same trade shows, visit their booth and listen to what their salespeople are telling prospects. Also check out their literature to see if they are announcing any new offerings.
2. Ask your vendors.
If you’re on good terms with your vendors, ask them what trends they see based on the competition.
3. Play the role of a secret shopper.
Visit or call the competition to evaluate their customer service and product offerings.
4. Check out public documents.
If your competition is a publicly-held company, check out their SEC filings. You can also learn of a competitor’s expansion plans by checking your regional planning commission. If you see a sign of trouble in the business, check state and federal agencies for tax liens.
5. Don’t forget your local paper or trade publication.
Subscribe to and read publications that report on business happenings in your region or industry.