Accelerate Your Business – Who are you competing with?

By Mike Philie
In December 10, 2015

Back in the day, it was easy to know who the competition was. There were usually 3-4 local, formidable competitors who were calling on the same accounts and typically, the work was spread out among the group. Those competitors were similar and on any given day could all do a great job for the client. I’m sure you will all agree that today that landscape has changed.

My observations are that as companies are selling more programs and solutions, the greater the ability for that work to travel outside of what was their traditional trading boundaries. I see this more and more, particularly with direct mail campaigns, print-on-demand solutions and even the large-format, in-store marketing business.

As geographical barriers drop and the value-ad that you deliver might be more data driven or have more intellectual capital woven into the deliverable than ever before, it’s important to have a firm grasp on the playing field. Who else is your client considering? Who else does the client think can help them reach their objectives? How do you find out and what do you do with the information?

Call me simple, but you could start with asking your client who else they are considering for this important project? It could go like this: “First of all, thank you for including us in the RFP or bid. We all know that there are many folks out there that could probably do a good job with this – who else are you considering?” What’s the worst that could happen? They either tell you the other competitors or they tell you, “I can’t share that information with you.” Either way, don’t give up trying to find out. Why? You may have a leg up on the others, or you may not – wouldn’t it help to know? They may be considering folks that don’t have near the capabilities as your firm does which leads you to wonder if your solution (or price) may be overkill or out of line with their expectations. If you’re showing up, keeping up and paying attention, you should also know who the other sales reps are that you’re competing against. All of this helps you determine your competitive advantage, how to leverage your strengths and how to accelerate your business.

Too many times when looking at an opportunity for one of my clients, I speak to the rep or manager and ask them who else they are competing against and what factors should they consider in building their strategy to win this work, and too many times I get the answer, “Gee, I’m not sure.” Change this in your business today – change it today! Make it a point to do a deep dive in understanding your competitive situation and work to make a positive impact on your business.

What do you think? Does this make sense? Let me know what’s working for you. You can reach me at or 201.523.6302.

Mike Philie

Mike works with printing companies that are not satisfied with their sales and business development performance, and are looking to get objective advice and strategic direction on how to improve the results of their business. His engagements can range from providing input on the overall sales strategy to building business development pipelines while training the processes of “selling” in today’s marketplace. Mike quickly establishes himself as a trusted resource and advisor to the owners and senior staff of his client companies through his personal involvement, and very quietly and effectively becomes an extension of their staff.

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