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Crushing your competition requires a deeper level of research

Friends and enemies

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Yes it’s a cliché but it’s got a lot of merit too. Andy Grove of Intel wrote one of the best business books I have ever read, Only The Paranoid Survive. It has a broad scope of lessons and insight, but the overall theme of the book is that to be great in business, and to continue to innovate, one has to always study the competition and the competitive landscape. It’s a fantastic read by a very smart and successful man.

How can we apply this intense focus on competition to the real estate industry? Here are a few ideas and insights.

Competitive research

Competitive research is more than just a simple observation of competitor strengths, weaknesses and strategies. You want to go deeper – to understand not only what your competition is doing but why. What is driving them? What is keeping them up at night? Why are they winning customers now and why will they continue to do so in the future?

In real estate, this exercise can be done on many levels. At the most basic, it’s agent verses agent. Why did Jane Doe secure the listing you wanted, why did she secure the buyer client and why are her reviews on Trulia and Zillow exceptional? It also can progress up the food chain to teams, offices and to the brand. What does the brand stand for? How does the company reinforce the brand? How do customers respond to the brand?

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Three ways to respond to competition

A deep understanding of your competition helps you understand the market better, and even more importantly yourself better. If your competition is securing all of your local online leads due to superior blogs and social media, you have to respond. One direction for this scenario is to stay away from the online space and not spend money and time in an arena where you are not equipped well.

Another direction is to understand how and why your competition is succeeding online and then, in your own style and matching up to your own strengths, develop an online program that beats the competition. A third choice is to understand what the competition and customer behavior is moving towards in the future, and then develop a strategy to win that future. You might develop highly focused and effective mobile and iPad applications to compliment your skills and expert content. Now that’s a path that Andy Grove would approve of!

Is it right to desire to crush the competition?

Competitors are an integral part of the business equation. While you of course want to best them, they are also necessary. They help grow the market, educate the market and drive overall business. Your mission should not be to eliminate your competition, but to learn from them, get better because of them and yes, then crush them in the market.

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Written By

Hoyt David Morgan is an entrepreneur, angel investor and business strategy leader. He is an investor and/or adviser to a handful of exciting and high growth companies, and has been a part of several high-value exits. He is passionate about customer experience, smart business and helping innovative companies grow... and sailing.

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