Meaning: Why Potential Clients Choose Them Over You

Today’s consumers don’t want a lot of market noise and claims by local companies; they want “relevant meaning.” Your company should be communicating with meaning that matters.

Claims, Claims, Claims: A Lesson in Local Market Signals
When talking to your competitors, your potential clients have heard it all. “We’re the best. We’re the biggest. We care about you. We deliver quality.” Yet, they know these claims don’t necessarily correlate with their experiences after they buy. Face it—there’s a lot of market noise. Are you contributing to more noise and confusion, or are you providing your customers with sought after meaning; clarity and tools to cut through the claims; and properly weighed, relevant market facts?

3 Steps to Create Meaning and Cut Through Market Noise

1. Make Promises, Keep Promises. How your company behaves during the sales process gives each prospect powerful market signals. I encourage you to map out your company’s decision process from a prospect’s perspective. What type of promises is your team making pre-sale? Include promises such as providing a quote, returning a phone call, visiting a prospect, etc. Make sure your staff makes five separate promises (even minor ones) before the sale that you’re able to keep. These send important signals of trustworthiness during the decision process.

2. Create a Comparative Summary. Some company owners don’t want to speak about their competitors. Although this sounds virtuous, I believe it’s a mistake. I’m definitely not recommending that you rip your competitors—you’ll come off badly and lose most prospects. However, in a confusing environment of conflicting market noise, I suggest you help your prospective clients by creating a document that compares your company with your competitors. A simple table can show the difference in quality, materials, staff expertise and follow-through. We’ve created narrative Comparative Summaries for every Diamond Certified company, with good results.

3. Earn and Use Third-Party Credentials. Relevant and high-profile credentials can have a huge impact on increasing the trust factor in the decision process. Most prospects are inexperienced at purchasing your product or service and view credentials as positive proof of your team’s qualification or expertise. Here’s an example: During the past decade, ongoing research involving 63,000 customer surveys proves that companies who earned Diamond Certified increased their transaction rates with prospects.

“She Only Wants the Lowest Price”
When you hear a potential client talk about looking for the lowest price, do you believe her? Usually, you shouldn’t. Most “lowest price” declarations by prospects reveal only a small part of the story. I’ve read hundreds of thousands of local company customer satisfaction surveys, and I’ve learned that although price will be talked about, a majority of customers across a wide range of industries base their choices on their expectations of the quality of the company’s performance.

So, if you don’t present quantifiable proof-of-quality, then the quantifiable nature of price looms large. Think about it: Price is a hard fact, so unless you present quality as a hard fact, you’re giving your prospective client little to solidly base her decision. In this hard fact quality vacuum, she will indeed compare your price with that of your competitor and is likely to overwhelm your unsubstantiated quality claim with her hard fact of price comparison.

Solution: Create hard facts that prove your quality performance. Diamond Certified companies use their certification and Diamond Certified Research Report to prove quality. You can also use credentials, quantifiable customer satisfaction research, awards and proof of work process documents to turn a quality claim into a Quality Hard Fact.


Jim Stein, Founder and CEO

About Jim Stein, Founder and CEO

Jim Stein is the founder and CEO of American Ratings Corporation. Through his interactions with more than 6,000 local companies and analysis of over 1 million consumer survey responses, Jim has developed easy-to-understand strategies for consumers to enjoy consistently positive customer experiences and for companies to better satisfy customers, increase referral rates and reduce customer attrition.
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