Dancing in the rain

Wishing and hoping won’t bring the rain, but dancing will.

Most service businesses make the same empty claims about their competitive advantages: Highest Quality, Best Customer Service, Best People, blah, blah, blah. The fact is, if your claims echo those of your rivals, your advantage is zero.

To establish real competitive advantages in the eyes of prospects, focus on two things: objectivity and data.

You aren’t objective about your company, so when you praise it, prospects dismiss that as hype. Objectivity comes from third parties: your customers, trade or general media, industry ratings and awards.

But if you sit back wishing and hoping for objective praise to rain down upon you, you are destined for drought. Get up and do a rain dance every day! Ask your customers for testimonials. Cultivate media mentions with ongoing public relations activities. Respond to solicitations from industry rating agencies. Enter contests to win awards.

Data, like objective praise, does not generate itself. You have to dance for data, too. Think about the claims you would like to substantiate. How could you quantify those claims with numbers? You may be able to mine existing data from your accounting software, or you may have to start tracking now and continue until you have enough data to make your point.

Let’s say you want proof that you serve customers extremely well. Client retention data can prove that point. Ask your bookkeeper to pull up “sales by customer” data and sort it by year. You can quickly determine the percentage of clients who have done business with you for 3 years, 5, 10 or even more.

Client referral data can be a proof point, too. Prospects so often hear “Most of our business comes from referrals” that their reaction is “Yeah, sure.” It would be infinitely more powerful if you tracked referrals and were able to say, “Over the last 4 years, 66 percent of our new business has come from customer referrals.”

Every piece of objective information and data that supports your claims will add to your competitive advantage. So shout them out on your website, in your marketing materials and in pitch meetings with prospects.

Do your rain dance. You’ll be a better rainmaker.

To inquire about consulting services, call Kim Landry at 484.829.0021 or email [email protected]

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