While you may see yourself as distinct from those you compete against, it’s important to appreciate where the customer, who hasn’t met you or your company, is starting from when you first attempt to meet with them.
To better appreciate your customer’s view of your industry, look in your local business directory for a product type you have little knowledge of. For example, roof restoration, window double-glazing, or insect pest control suppliers.
You’ll see advertisements and listings for many suppliers, whichever category you select.
On face value, most suppliers will look the same to you. It’s valid to suggest that you are indifferent in your preference because they appear that way.
The reality may be that out of ten suppliers you look at:
• Some will be very reliable, with good quality products
• Some will offer products of barely acceptable quality
• Some will take your business for granted and be difficult to deal with
• Some will provide poor quality products and service
• Some may not be totally honest, even unethical
Your initial perception and the reality for each supplier are often vastly different.
This lack of appreciation of the reality is also the starting point for your customers.
They see you in the same way as you see the “double glazing” list of suppliers. The customer may not have knowledge of your industry, so the starting point of their decision-making process is that all suppliers look the same.
Remind yourself of this reality as you craft your sales stories around the competitive advantages you offer.
You have to earn the right for the customer to see you as a knowledgeable industry professional.
It’s also common for customers to think they know more about your product and industry than you do, despite the fact that you do this every day!
Try to respect the fact that they have no choice but to be indifferent to you and your product – at least until they get to know you – given the many options available to them.