Keep Your Friends Close And Your Enemies Even Closer

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Street Sign The Direction Way To Friend Versus EnemyFor those of you that have been on any of my 121 coaching or consulting programmes and have gotten to know the “Real Sean” (whatever that means!) then:

A. You know that I’m a big fan of the The Godfather films!


B. You also know that I am obsessive about knowing all there
is to know about the competition

Now these two points actually came together nicely when Michael Corleone (played by Al Pacino) said in the movie:

“Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer”

You see, you need to know everything there is to know about your competition. And I am VERY big on this.

My question to you is this:

What are you doing on a monthly basis to keep your enemies even closer?

Forget about Sales Techniques, tips and strategies for a moment and focus in on your competition.

Here are some areas that you SHOULD know. If I called you right now and asked you about these questions or areas you should be able to tell me the answers without hesitation.

Are you ready?

Now this is not an exhaustive list but it will give you an idea of what I mean by keeping the enemy close!

Here goes:

When was the last time that you stood in your own queues and mystery shopped your own company?

What is easy? What did you learn?

Who are your top 5 competitors?

When was the last time that you stood in their queues and mystery shopped them as a prospect?

Where are they based? How many staff do they have?
How much do they turnover? What’s their profits?

What products and services do they offer that are:
A. The same as yours
B. Different to yours

What are their key USP’s? Per company and per product and service?

How much do they cost? Are there any fluctuations in the prices they charge?

What do their proposals look like? What are their payment terms?

What was their speed of response for email enquiries? What did the email say? Did you get an email response to an email enquiry or did they call you?

Did you speak to a receptionist when you called them? Were you put through to the “sales department”?

When did you call your competition and say “I love your product but I also like ABC’s product too (where ABC is your company/product) Please can you tell me the differences between your company and theirs? (This gets you to know what the competition are saying to the same prospects you are
going after about you)

In summary:

You get the picture here! There are many other areas and questions to explore.

But you need to know the competition inside out (and don’t forget you need to do this type of thing with all of the information about your industry as a whole too! But I’ll leave that for another time)

There are many ways to do all of the above and I must admit I am a master at it! (So modest in my old age)

So, are you keeping your enemies close? Or are you so busy sorting your own house out that you are neglecting this very important area.

If you are, don’t beat yourself up about it but you need to start now. In a changing economy “your enemy” might be constantly changing what they are doing to stay ahead of the game – you need to know this and then go one better.

Get some base level knowledge about all of the areas above and then schedule in a couple of days each quarter to revisit your intelligence and go again.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image at

Sales DNA

Originally published: 13 March, 2009

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