How to Spy on your Competitors
There are many ways to track your competition. Some businesses take a software-driven approach. Others prefer traditional spy tactics. In today’s hyper-competitive environment you need to go a step further to really get a good look at your opponent. Here are some of the best strategies we’ve found over the years.
Fly a surveillance drone outside their office
Purchase a drone for $1500. Don’t get a cheap one, as you’ll need HD video and a powerful zoom.
Position it just outside of their office window. Ideally with a good look at their workstations. Monitor who comes in and out. Customers, partners, employees, everyone. Track their CRM. Expense sheets, hiring plans. Everything. You don’t need to watch live but make sure you’re parked nearby if you need to recharge the drone battery. Spend 3-6 hours a day reviewing the footage. Profit.
Lurk at their Sales reps’ favorite lunch spots
This is a big one. Are you looking for an easy customer information leak? There’s nothing better than a loud and obnoxious sales director taking a call while standing on line at Chick-fil-a. Stay close but not too close.
Warning: This approach can lead to significant weight gain.
Find out what shows their leadership team likes, now watch all of them
You really want to get a sense for what these people are thinking. To truly get into the mind of your opponent, you have to see what they see. Binge what they binge.
Already seen Euphoria? Guess what, you’re gonna watch it again.
Thought Resident Evil was terrible? Learn to love it.
Block off those nights, kid. You’ve got work to do.
Dig through their trash
Stalk their Interns
It’s no secret that interns like to party. A great way to get insider secrets is to make friends with your competitors’ interns. They love to talk about work, what they’re learning, and how much of an impact they’re making on the organization. And if you really like them, you can just hire them.
Pretend to be an interested VC
- Setup a website for a fake VC fund. Something believable like “Bruh Venture Partners”
- Create a fake LinkedIn for your VC persona. For your photo wear a midtown uniform.
- Write the founders an email saying how excited you are about what they’re building.
- Take the call, ask them everything about the business. Make sure to ask them to email you a deck.
- Write them back saying “It’s not a fit at this time, but let me know how I can be helpful.”
- Delete all traces of your VC fund.
Apply for a job
Want to spy on competition for real? Work there.
Go through the full recruiting process. Ask about their tech stack. Get their revenue figures, hiring plans, and burn rate. Speak with teammates. Inquire about their codebase. Ask how the sales team is doing. Take the coding challenge. Complain that it wasn’t challenging enough. Ask to speak with a higher up. After months of back and forth, receive an offer. Decline it, but leave room to negotiate. Work that offer up by 50%. Tell them it was an honor to be selected, but that you’ve just inherited your late aunt’s estate and will no longer be working. Ever again.
Ask them to reveal financial information while pretending to be a Nigerian prince
This is a tried and tested method for social engineering. For decades the Nigerian prince impersonation has been used effectively to scam individuals. Now it’s become a viable tactic for corporate competitive intelligence.
Actually go work there, rise through the ranks and become a powerful executive
This one might take a while but its worth it. After years of dedicated effort you’ll be given the reins to the business. Now you’ve got access to the inner workings of the company. Checkmate.
Send them an Award
Tell them they’ve been selected as a finalist for the “most good looking business” award published by Kramerica Magazine, then ask them to share how they win business so you can finalize their entry. (this one has the added benefit of you actually getting paid in cash via fees to print their listing in bold text or print their ad in the winners issue.)
Or, Just Try 1up
Want to spy on competitors the right way? Try our free tool.