Reverse engineering is the process of making a reproduction of another’s product/service by tearing it down and figuring out how it works in hopes of duplicating or producing better value.
Doing this process presents a lot of great benefits in business:
- It greatly reduces the cost of research & development
- It allows you to understand why it has an impact on the market
- It can help you better understand the competition
In this five-part series, I want to take you through a series of reverse engineering procedures that will allow you to tear down your competitors to see what really makes them tick. You will gain an edge on the competition if you understand their fundamentals – this gives you the “one-up”.
The series will comprise of the following (which you may use to jump around):
- Reverse Engineering their Advertising
- Reverse Engineering their Content
- Reverse Engineering their Social
- Reverse Engineering their Sales
- Reverse Engineering their Brand
Whether you know it or not – your competition is doing this to you. The competition is keeping close tabs on you; they may even be your customers to get on the inside!
But enough of all that… let’s get into the top of part four of the series: Sales.
Understanding the Competition & Sales
Reverse engineering a competitor’s sales is the trickiest of the bunch of this series but if you can break their code then you are in for a treat. Understanding how the competition pulls leads, sends them through the funnel, and keeps them as customers is an instant shortcut for your business. Once you know what they’re doing – it’s only a matter of time that you can take their work and crank it up to 11.
The only reason why I say it’s “tricky” is that you have to go “undercover”. The actual actions are easy but the hard part is keeping your cool and composure because what you’re doing is essentially infiltrating their business while acting like a customer.
And here is how that’s done…
A. Identify the lead generators
Here you will want to scope how the competition is driving leads to their business.
Take a look around and look at their advertising, social, and content (as discussed in a previous post in the series). Also, take a look at who may be referring business to them so you can keep tabs on what that individual may be doing to convince their audience to trust the competition.
B. Slowly down the funnel
Once you’ve found out how they’re driving in leads it’s time that you become one yourself.
Make a small budget and purchase (or subscribe) to one of their offers. Record what happens throughout the process such as which call-to-action caught your attention, how they responded the moment you ordered (like a confirmation email or call), how logistics went, and the experience you had when you received the offer.
C. Follow up
Get on the phone and call into customer service.
Make up some form of an issue you have with their product/service so you can really begin prodding the customer service to understand how they react (taking notes, of course). Get active on their social media channels and talk to the company and others that make up their audience.
Gauge the reception of their community as you become one of them.
D. Find the weak spots
Collect your notes and then have someone go through the same process but with your sales funnel. Compare the notes to see what the competition does differently and where you could improve. Identify the weak spots and the areas of your efforts that allow hot leads to go cold.
By being one of their customers you can really get to know the company than just being a third-party observer. You can get into their head. Going through the process gives you hard data on what they’re doing rather than the usual guessing.
The information you gain from customer service is its weight in gold. If you can pull off at least the same level of customer service then your business will progress but if you can find those weak points and “one-up” their sales then you are going to dominate the market.
Understanding your competitor’s sales funnel will dramatically reduce the cost associated with entering an industry and marketplace. Using their sales funnel as a base will let your business tap into a process that is already familiar with the marketplace making it that much easier to convert hot leads.
Take it one step further with A/B testing and your sales funnel can become one envious of the competition (to the point they may attempt to replicate).
“One up” them in their sales game and you’ll slowly chip away at the competition and soon enough become the major player.