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3 Tips For Researching Your Rivals Essay

A: When it’s time to size up your opposition, consultant and author Becky Sheetz invokes the wisdom of ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu: Know your enemy, and know yourself.

1. Cultivate spies. Hire your competition’s — or at least invite them for lunch, dinner or cocktails. “It’s a great conversational way to find out stuff you may not otherwise be able to,” says Sheetz, author of .

2. Engage your prospects. When a declines your business, find out why — and how your offer stacked up. “It’s more important to find out why you lost,” Sheetz says, “than why 
you won.”

3. Behold the secret shopper. Intelligence gathering typically involves strolling through competitors’ aisles. No store? No problem. Hire consultants to make phone calls to your competitors, to learn how they operate. 

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