Be Different – And Quantify It

The purchasing behavior of human beings is fairly predictable. If they buy something once and it works for them, they’ll be inclined to repurchase it when the need arises again. And if they purchase something from a source that is acceptable to them and doesn’t let them down in any way, they’ll return to the same source for their next purchase of that item.

We learn from experience, and a positive experience is more easily duplicated by repeating the same factors that delivered it before. In other words, if you expect to take business away from your competitors you have to give prospects a really good reason to change because they already know where they can get satisfaction elsewhere.

One of the best ways to attract the attention of prospects is to leverage your existing customers and their satisfaction with your business. As a hypothetical situation, let’s say you publish a magazine and are trying to lure an advertiser away from a rival publication. Let’s also say that one of that advertiser’s biggest competitors advertises in your magazine. What can you do?

Testimonials are powerful tools

You can impress your prospect – and other potential advertisers, by compiling a case study of the success your present advertiser enjoys and using the information as a testimonial. “My sales rose 18% after I switched my advertising to Sportsman’s World” sounds pretty impressive. Provide some supportive details and you have a powerful argument for getting your prospect to think about using your publication.

Testimonials are also potent highlighters of savings if you’re a retailer and want to acquire new customers. “I save $28 on my weekly grocery bills at Buy-Rite”, and “Since I started using reloaded cartridges my photocopying costs have dropped by $54 a month” are examples of how your existing customers can be the basis of an attractive proposition.

The important things here are that it’s not you talking – it’s one of your customers telling about their satisfaction with your company, and the benefits are quantified. Statistics are impressive, whether it’s dollars saved, extra time gained, additional miles traveled or any other figures that can be quickly understood by prospects.

Gather your own statistics

Notice also that statistics are hardly ever even numbers. If they’re genuine they’ll probably be more like ’29.90’ than ‘$30’. If you have a statistic that’s down to the decimal point, use it. Rounding-off only make it look like it’s made up for the advertisement.

Statistics can be obtained in any number of ways. The first is obviously to talk to your customers. You can do it directly or appoint a market research firm to conduct a customer survey; having a third party as the source of statistics will add credibility.

Customer surveys can give you an excellent source of meaningful statistics that can be used to promote your business. “98% of our customers tell us they’d never go anywhere else for their furniture” and “Seven out of ten Mason’s customers have told their friends about us” show how to use this kind of information. If you ask the right kinds of questions you’ll be able to have your customers write your headlines.

It’s also possible to create a strong proposition by using industry statistics that can be obtained from the Internet, from industry associations or trade publications. “Our products perform 26% higher than industry averages” and “We clean more carpets than any other carpet cleaner in town” are examples of how this can work.

An offer too good to refuse

If you’re confident that you can outperform the competition and want to switch one of their customers over to your business, do it with a direct comparison. Go to your prospect and offer to supply them with your product for a period of time that’s sufficient to provide them with proof that you’ve got a better offering.

Supply them on the same basis as your competitor, on the understanding that if you prove that you can give them a better deal than the competition they’ll give you a testimonial you can use in your promotion. You’ll gain both a new customer and an advocate for your company.