Your Wild Card

If you run a company, you face problems. They come with the territory and change with market conditions and the flavor of staff issues. People may say you have “good problems” if you have too many potential customer inquiries to handle, but we both know you face a big challenge if you’re also dealing with severe capacity issues due to a shortage of quality staff. If you can’t do the work, having inquiries can be frustrating and, if you don’t follow up well, lead to an erosion of your brand image. “Bad problems” may be times when you lack Quality Customers and have thin margins and/or face new competition. These problems kill financial performance, and left unresolved, they lead to severe financial results and the potential destruction of your business.

Truth be told, it’s not easy to run a great local company for years and years when you periodically face these problem-filled scenarios. Fortunately, if you earn Diamond Certified and maintain your Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise status, you’ll have a powerful tool that works in many ways and in every media channel. We often call Diamond Certified the “wild card” because like a wild card in a card game, it optimally adapts to the hand you’re playing and improves it. So, if you’re facing a problem in your business, it works powerfully within each strategy you deploy to help that strategy counter the problem your team is trying to overcome.

The Analogy: Playing Different Cards Different Ways
We use a card game analogy to show that a changed condition requires an adaptive strategy. You and your opponents are dealt different cards during rounds of the game. Each card has different values with strengths and weaknesses, and good players know how to play different cards in different ways. Now let’s add a wild card or joker. If you get dealt a wild card, you can change it to any card value—it’s your choice. Your wild card improves the value of your hand and helps you win!

How to Use the Diamond Certified Wild Card to Overcome Problems

Problem: Too Little Capacity
The labor market is tight, and attracting and retaining quality staff is tougher than ever. When you face this problem, you need to deploy three strategies, using your Diamond Certified wild card within each strategy to optimize your results (if you qualify).

Strategy #1: Superglue the loyalty of your best staff members to your company. Use Diamond Certified research reports, directories, brochures, signage and labels throughout your office or jobsites. Your staff will always see these Diamond Certified tools, so make sure they know how they earned it and how they’ve been able to maintain a top rated status, placing your team in the top band of performing companies in your industry/area. Annually review your new customer satisfaction research report with your team and celebrate their great accomplishment. Quality staff want to play for and stay with a winning team. They like the public recognition and are able to tell their family and friends that they’re part of one of the top rated work teams in their industry. This means a lot to most personality types, and using Diamond Certified to consistently reinforce this will help you retain your best people.

Strategy #2: Attract quality people to fill open positions. Easier said than done, right? Yes. So, use your Diamond Certified status in your job postings online, in flyers, at job fairs, etc. You’ll separate your company/job opening from the others and attract new staff who share your passion for quality work. You also want to reach talented workers who aren’t looking for a job but may not be satisfied where they’re at. Your high-profile use of Diamond Certified (including handing out your Diamond Certified Expert Contribution Reprints) throughout your market area elevates your company’s reputation as a team of quality players run by a top expert (you) in your field. This Diamond Certified positioning of your company helps bring in key staff members.

Strategy #3: Limit your new job flow to high-margin work from Quality Customers. We all know that half the customers out there just want the cheapest price. Take them on and you’ll just spin your wheels with low margins and all sorts of problems. These are not Diamond Certified customers. Diamond Certified customers are Quality Customers: those who want quality and are willing to pay a fair price for it. You’re capacity-restrained, so you need to make the most with what you have while delivering on your quality promises. Use your Diamond Certified tools with shoppers to powerfully signal your team’s Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise track record. Even though you’re overbooked, you must still respond to inquiry flow and cherry-pick the absolute best jobs. Engage with prospective customers by linking to your online Diamond Certified Company Report, the most powerful web presence your company has. Your quality reputation gets reinforced each time you send out your Diamond Certified brochures and eBrochures, and this enhances your ability to set up profitable work from Quality Customers in the future. Lose this and you lose your future (a dramatic statement, but very true).

Problem: Thin Margins + Powerful Competition
Strategy #1: Increase your pricing and stop taking low-margin work. Yes, you need to raise your price even in the face of tough competition that’s undercutting your current too-low price. If you qualify for Diamond Certified, your Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise status will prove you’re worth it and signal your high-quality position in your marketplace. Raising your price is a confident move. Price is a partially believed quality signal that, when combined with Diamond Certified, clearly positions you for quality head and shoulders above your competition. Confidently use your inclusion in the prestigious Diamond Certified Directory to reinforce your team’s high-quality performance. You have to get proper margins to be fairly compensated for your daily efforts; otherwise, why do it? It may be a scary step, but you and your team deserve to be paid a premium for premium work.

Strategy #2: Own the Highest Quality position. Let’s say you’ve raised your price and now your key competitors are undercutting you by even more. OK, time to own the best position in the marketplace by using your Diamond Certified tools often and effectively. Go to to see the Top 21 Uses of Diamond Certified.

Problem: Low Flow of Quality Customers
Strategy #1: Create your Hot Center and expand out from there. Your brand’s meaning must burn very hot within you. First, you need real clarity about what your brand really means. Then, from your personal Hot Center, pass this searing hot brand meaning to your staff, then on to your best customers, all customers and out into the marketplace. Go to to read how to do it.

Strategy #2: Build Deep InfoTM on the Diamond Certified Resource platform (if you qualify). Quality signals from your company attract Quality Customers. Significantly increase the number of quality signals about your company emanating from all media to attract a flow of new, quality-seeking customers. The place to start is on your Diamond Certified Company Report page, where your Deep Info includes essential articles; your certified video profile; photos of your staff, location, work in process and finished projects; your expert contributions; a capabilities table; lists of the services and products you provide; and more. How can you make them better? What can you add?  How can you deploy this Deep Info into other channels? How do you link to this and bring it onto your website, in emails, and in handouts? We have a sizable team of videographers, photographers, writers, editors, social media experts, designers and digital production staff. So, we’re ready to help you create and improve your Deep Info.

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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