1. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo offer a wealth of competitive information. Search for your company name, then search your full name and see what comes up. Put in some common search terms relevant to your business. If you aren’t on the first page, you might as well not be there at all. Only 10% of people go beyond the first page. How do you stack up to the competition? Are your prospects getting access to you?
2. Spend some time as a “secret shopper.” Pose as a prospect and call your competition, email them, try the “contact us” form on their websites. Are they handling the first contact well? Are they saying anything remarkable? If they are, make notes and think of ways to do it better.
3. Google will send you online and news mentions of you, your company, and your competition. Register for Google Alerts at: google.com/intl/en/options. Sign up for your company’s name, and that of your competitors. It is an easy way to watch the competition as well as web references to your company.