Asking About Your Competitors

Don’t you just hate when you ask who you’re up against, and the prospect declines to answer, making some vague reference to confidentiality or wanting to keep an even playing field?

Most times, the prospect won’t tell you who you who else they’re looking at. Next time this happens, try one or both of these techniques…

  1. Suggest that if you know who the competitors are, you can make your differences more easily seen, which might make their jobs easier moving forward. Particularly helpful when wading through a pile of RFPs or sitting through the fifth credentials presentation and they all the agencies seem to blend together…
  2. Ask again when you make the round. After all, they can appreciate the efforts to date and you’re about to ratchet up the investment in time and money.

If they still won’t share, try asking some general, open-ended questions about the competitive field. If you’ve just made the RFP round, for instance: what was it that helped some of the RFPs really stand out? What surprised you the most? What disappointed you? What process did you use to wade through the stack of responses? What were some of the “stunts” agencies used? How were they received? How did you come to decide on who would get the RFP at the beginning of the process?

Answers to the above questions can really help moving forward.