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.

Jim Stein
Published Date: June 20, 2023

Most customers base their hiring decisions on their expectations of the quality of a company's performance.

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 noise in the market. 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-making 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 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.


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-making process. Most prospects are inexperienced at purchasing your product or service and view credentials as positive proof of your team’s qualification or expertise.


“She Only Wants the Lowest Price”
When you hear a potential client talk about looking for the lowest price, do you believe her? In most cases, 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, 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.

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