If you’re not spying on your competitors’ spray tanning business, chances are that they’re spying on your business! Have you ever had a client tell you what the company they've used before is doing? If so, I have one simple thought about that, why would competitors do that? Personally, I'm not one for spying on other companies because I have way too much to do. When I am tanning clients though, many have talked about the past companies they've used, from customer service to what they wear, to product and equiment they use. No need to spy on your competitors if clients tell you about them but if you want to, then this is something you can do.
It’s Time to Recruit Your “Spy” As an owner or manager, you might not have the time to check in on your competitors. If this is the case, you should appoint a company “spy” to do this for you. The best type of person for this job is someone who is very observant and doesn’t call attention to herself.
Send Your “Spy” on Her First Mission Give your undercover spy some company money and have your spy tan at your competitors. Yes, this gives money to “the competitor,” but it also provides you with the 411 on what’s going on at these businesses. Competitors have had their spy's do this to me a few times.
Your “Spy” Needs to Look For… Before you send her off, prepare your spy to observe – and take notes on – the following customer service practices: * The greeting she received. Was it sincere? * Does the competitor engage in rapport building? * Did the staff compliment anything about you? * What special offers or deals are offered?
Your spy also needs to be looking for the following: * Old spray tanning equipment * What products are being used * Spray tanning room cleanliness * Equipment cleanliness * Is staff thorough with their work? * Does staff rush you?
Don’t Forget the Traffic Report You should have your “spy” conduct a “traffic count” at the competition if they have a salon. What this means is that she stakes out a competitor’s parking lot on any day between 4 and 6pm and count the number of customers who walk through the salon’s doors. Compare this number to your own to get a good idea of the volume you do, if you have a salon. It also gives you a good idea of the competition’s market share.
Yes the above mentioned had happened to me many times, competitors would even go further and post their website on my Facebook business page, request my friends on Facebook because my friends have told me, and steal my pictures of clients on Instagram. I have quite a few competitors that I trust and send clients to when my employees and I are booked. Those competitors and I share ideas and whatnot and support one another. I'll admit that I love helping others out but there are those competitors who don't like you but want to ride your coat tails.
So if you are looking to start a spray tan business or are in one already, this is something that can happen to you just like it has happened to me.