Are your competitors eating your lunch? Maybe it’s because you’re not keeping up-to-date on what they’re doing. In today’s guest post, marketing experts Mike Lieberman and Eric Keiles share five simple tips for keeping abreast of the competition.

These days it’s actually not too hard to keep tabs on your competition. But it’s just as important as it’s ever been. If you don’t know you’re your competitors do and what they’re up to, then you can’t position your company as different and you can’t help your prospects understand why they should do business with your firm.

Here are a couple of simple ways to keep tabs on your closest competitors.

1. Check out their website once a week. Most people keep their websites fairly up to date and when things change in their businesses, the website is where most people start. By taking a look at a competitor’s website you can see if there are new products new services, or any new announcements.

2. Sign up to get their email newsletter. Most businesses have regular email newsletters to clients and prospects. With a generic email address it isn’t too hard to get on these email lists and now you get updates on your competitors delivered right to your inbox.

3. Follow them on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Social media has opened all our businesses to the public and if you want to see what your competitors are saying connecting with them via social media is a great way to do it.

4. Sign up for Google Alerts. Every day Google scans the Internet for you and emails you updates related to specific keywords. This is a great way to see what people are saying about you, but also a great way to see what people are saying about your competitors.

5. Ask your prospects. Some people are uncomfortable coming right out and asking, but prospects aren’t usually too bashful to give you an earful of comments about a competitor. Just keep in mind that they are probably talking about you, too, so make sure there isn’t anything negative to say.

Remember to try and look at your competition from your prospect’s perspective. For instance, if your competitors are promising 24-hour turnaround and you know for a fact they can’t deliver that quickly, don’t dismiss it. Your prospects don’t know what you do and might be interested in speed of service. In marketing if someone is saying it, then it’s true…in the mind of the prospect, anyway.

Mike Lieberman and Eric Keiles are the authors of Fire Your Sales Team Today: Revolutionizing Your Company’s Sales & Marketing Strategy. For more information on how to make your company stand out from your competition and drive more revenue, click here to download the free report My Marketing Isn’t Working and I Don’t Know Why.