Our entire team at American Ratings Corporation wishes you and your loved ones a wonderful Thanksgiving season. For me, this is the time of year to thank special people and reflect on outstanding deeds—an ideal precursor for personal and business planning.
Besides focusing on family members and friends, I’d like to take stock of what we’ve achieved with the Diamond Certified Resource this year. I’m thrilled to report that both consumer awareness of and preference for Diamond Certified companies were very strong in 2016. Continue reading “Giving Thanks” »
I’m sure we agree that growing your Quality Customer base is the right path to building your company for the long haul. It’s your Quality Customers who allow you to produce good-margin work, nurture staff members who take pride in their work, and grow a cash flow cushion and the actual value of your company. So, it’s surprising when I come across owners who say that ANY customer who’s willing to buy from them is a Quality Customer. I disagree. I define Quality Customers as not just those with enough resources to afford your services, but of these, only the ones who seek quality and are willing to pay for it and whose basic nature is that they have integrity and want fair dealings. These are the customers who, when you deliver what was promised, will return and more often refer others in-person and online. These are Diamond Certified Quality Customers: the customers who truly sustain and strengthen your business. Continue reading “The Wisdom of Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise” »
“Just because I have a method to my madness doesn’t mean I’m not mad.”
What upsets us may not upset our neighbor, or our spouse for that matter. The return call promised within two days that still hasn’t come a week later, eyeballing a piece of wood on a framing project that looks sub-quality, wading through a complex bill and finding no one to explain it or staring at our shoes in the waiting room while the 15-minute expected wait stretches into its second hour. All of these are problems in the Process of the work, not the Outcome, yet they greatly affect the relationship between a customer and a company.
Your team’s Process (its methods) signals to customers the end result they’re likely to get or actually got. Continue reading “Process and Outcome” »
Competition is a fascinating game. It starts with the concept of supply and demand. If you had no competitors (supply), all of your customers (demand) would be obliged to buy from you when they wanted the services you provide. Quite a pleasant thought, but alas, reality is stark and unrelenting. We live in America: the land of abundance; competition; free enterprise; and fragmented, crowded, noisy markets.
I hate to tell you this, but demand for your services will not really go up next year.
In most local service industries, consumer spending isn’t likely to go up or down much year-over-year. After all, here in Northern California, population growth is around 1% per year. For your specific industry to grow organically beyond this minuscule rate requires either a change in consumer behavior or a big change in a cycle or specifics that happen to be meaningful to your situation (like a real estate boom or bust). Continue reading “Compete or Shrink” »
A few years back, I was giving some fatherly advice to my then 20-year-old son. I was certain that the advice I prescribed him was wise and would be carefully considered. After I finished pouring forth my golden words of wisdom, much to my surprise, rather than getting a thankful in-kind expression of gratitude, he simply looked me square in the eyes and said, “I’m not you.” And to make his point perfectly clear, he immediately repeated the phrase, even gratuitously prefacing it with, “You don’t realize…I’m not you.”
OK, you can see where that was headed. To my credit, I didn’t counter with, “Of course you’re not me, but consider these issues and possible solutions.” I was actually struck with the simplicity and power of his reply. Continue reading ““I’m not you.”” »
Diamond Certified is the brand that builds your company (if you qualify). It means Quality, Helpful Expertise and Customer Satisfaction, backed by a Performance Guarantee. To create this meaning, we’ve operated the most accurate ratings of local companies available. We’ve spent $50 million+ promoting the meaning of Diamond Certified in the Bay Area over the past 15 years, and we’ve delivered 10 million directories to local Quality Consumers. Plus, Diamond Certified companies have handed out more than 3 million Diamond Certified brochures to help prove their top rated, quality status to local consumers. Continue reading “The Brand That Builds” »
Sometimes you just have to say, “Hey, by doing that, we’re killing our brand!” If you don’t, you’re not paying attention. Your brand’s meaning and power change every day. Do good things for your brand and it builds in power and meaning. Allow bad things to keep happening and your brand becomes tarnished and weak. It’s so important for your company’s long-term success that we’ve decided to create a list of brand building and brand killing actions and decisions that you, as a manager, can do a lot to control. Continue reading “Brand Building vs. Brand Killing” »
I’m standing next to my mailbox, directory in hand, sunlight glistening from the giant gold embossed Diamond Certified symbol. The bright sunlight splashes down on me. I’m happy. My brain, sending joy-induced heat to its surface, partners with the faraway sun to warm my face from both sides. The number 10 MILLION dances through my mind with images of the last 15 years. I see the faces of owners of top rated companies, consumers I’ve met and my team members who’ve done the work every day to reach this significant milestone. TEN MILLION: that’s how many directories we’ve published and mailed to consumers in the Greater Bay Area—consumers who care about quality, have the incomes to afford it and seek out top rated local companies. Continue reading “10 Million!” »
Fortunately, El Niño has brought his rain and snow to our parched state. A last wet blast as we head into spring sets the stage for sunny skies, flowers blooming, birds nesting and new grasses growing. Spring is a season of renewal. For consumers, moods brighten, house projects are planned, cars are serviced and winter-delayed health appointments are booked. For company managers, it’s a time to achieve performance numbers, optimize employee skills, satisfy customers and generate more referrals. Continue reading “Spring Training for Your Team!” »
If you qualify for Diamond Certified, it’s incredibly important that you show prospects and customers that you earned it. The enclosed 2015 Awareness and Influence Report illuminates the power Diamond Certified has on both your potential and past customers. More than 7 out of 10 customers stated that Diamond Certified influenced them in choosing a company, and an even greater percentage of current customers said they felt more positive about a company because it had earned Diamond Certified. Continue reading “Top Rated for Quality and Expertise” »