the winners podiumHas it already been four years since the previous Olympic summer games?  Wow, time seems to have flown faster than Michael Phelps swims the men’s 100-m butterfly…Ok maybe not quite that fast, but you’ve got to admit it seems close.

While you curl up to watch this year’s upcoming games, take a few minutes to relate them to your kitchen cabinet dealership or remodeling company.  “But what could I possibly learn from the Olympic games other than who won and who lost,” you ask?  A little thing called the importance of keeping track of the competition.

Who are your competitors?

Hopefully by now you’ve taken a chance to find out who you’re competing against, and if not, you should be embarrassed.  And for those of you who say you don’t have any real competitors, well, you must have forgotten about big box stores or online retailers.

“It’s important to know who you’re up against.”

Do you think for a minute any Olympic competitor had any question about potential competitors?  Sure, there’s always a chance someone will slip up on the uneven bars in the trials, but generally, they have an idea of who they’re competing against.  We’d venture to guess they also have history on each competitor, along with videos of past performances and maybe even practice rounds.

So, get online, talk with builders in the area, find out from your prospects who else they checked out, heck – get old school (*gasp* we rarely condone this behavior) and pull out your phonebook for all we care.  Just find out who it is you’re competing with.  It’s important to know who you’re up against…which leads us to our next point.

What are they doing?

Once you’ve got an extensive list of your kitchen and bath competiton, even the teeny tiny “never going to be a threat” ones, it’s time to do your best Macgyver impersonation.  Find out what your competition is doing and how they’re doing it, what they’re selling, how they’re selling it, etc. Keep a file on each of your competitors and come back to them regularly to see if they’ve changed anything.

A few things to look for:

  • Website – People love to talk about themselves, even in business situations, so scope out their website and find out everything you can about their business.
  • Product offerings – what type of products, and which brands are your competitors offering?  Knowing what they offer can better prepare you when speaking with prospects.
  • Social Media – Often you can find this information on their websites by clicking on any facebook, twitter, Pinterest, or other icons they’ve integrated.  Once found, take notice of their # of followers, post content and frequency and interaction.
  • Key people – They may have these listed on the website, and oftentimes other sites such as have owners listed, although it may be out of date. Once you have names, check LinkedIn to see if they have a public profile, which will give you a good idea of their background experience.
  • Sales Process – Sometimes this information will be available on the website under “What to Expect,” “Our Process,” or something of the sort.  If you’re really curious, which you should be, why not investigate with a secret shopper (can be hired, or someone you know personally)?  What better way to get to the goodies than going straight to the source?
  • Marketing strategies – Is their website set up to generate kitchen buyer leads?  Do they have a blog?  How often are they posting on their blog, and what type of kitchen content are they creating?

You can always learn something from your competition – whether it’s what you should be doing, or what it is they’re doing wrong.  Either way, knowing what your competition is up to can better prepare you in the long run – or the long jump – you get the idea.