Who do you choose when there is very little difference between the choices?
Do you take the time to understand the small factors that might distinguish one choice from another, or do you go with what is easy or the name that you hear the most often?
There are four individuals running to represent their party for the office of state representative in the area where I live. All four seem like nice people, and all four are virtually indistinguishable in their stance on the issues. Seriously, you could copy and paste any of their individual responses onto the web site for any of their competitors, and no one would notice.
And that takes us back to the question that began this post: Who do you choose when there is very little difference between the choices?
Judging from the number of telephone calls and mailings we’ve received in the past 60 days, candidates hope that I will choose based on name recognition or some other factor that I have determined as important – such as gender, race, status as a veteran, status as the incumbent, and claim to be the most conservative in the race. Any or none of these have anything to do with how any of the candidates is different from any of the others.
I see the same thing with businesses. Most of your competitors – and mine – all say about the same thing in their marketing pieces. Their prices are about the same as your prices. Their customer service experience is roughly the same as yours. The comparisons of sameness could go on forever.
And in that situation, you are like the state representative candidates where I live. Your success depends on how much money you can throw at the advertising or the random connection that a customer makes with your product, service, or business.
That, my friends, is an expensive way to do business.
Marketing and staying in touch with customers are critical. Out of sight out of mind is a certainty when your customers are bombarded daily with messages.
Here is the take-away: Wouldn’t it be better if we all did the hard work of determining and then delivering on how we really are different from our competitors? Couldn’t we make our dimes work like dollars if we focused our message on how we are truly different – and better – rather than reinforcing our sameness?
The candidate who will receive my vote cemented my decision with one comment made in a personal conversation: Compromise doesn’t have to be a dirty word.
For me, that told me that this individual understands the nuance of delivering results in a world where not everyone shares the same beliefs.
Most people won’t make the effort to find out what is behind the campaign rhetoric. It is the same for your customers. They want us to do the hard work of determining and delivering how we are different so that it will be easy for them.