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YOU Are The Product
by Kay Ross
No matter how good you think your product or service is, the quality of that product or service alone is not what attracts clients to buy from you. After all, people EXPECT quality as the bottom line; it's your cost of entry into the marketplace. And they could probably buy something similar, maybe even cheaper, from another supplier, right?
Whether you offer a tangible product or an intangible service (but especially if you offer a service), one of the key factors that inspires people to buy from YOU rather than anyone else is YOU! Their relationship with you. How much they like, trust and respect you and your values. How they feel about doing business with you. What they've heard about you from their friends. What they've read about you in the media. The impression they get of you from your website or from talking to you on the phone.
Marketing is all about managing perceptions, motivations and expectations. And people gather their perceptions about you from multiple sources. For example, a prospective client might ask you how much you charge and whether you'll give them a discount. They'll pick up lots of clues about you from the way you reply. Do you fumble, mumble and let them overstep your boundaries, or do you project a calm, confident knowing that you're worth every penny? It's your confidence in yourself and the results your client will get from working with you, not the price, that will seal the deal.
Think about it - there are probably hundreds of accountants, doctors, dentists, massage therapists and marketing consultants in your city. They're all, presumably, well qualified; they all promise high-quality service. Their prices might range from very low to very high. But what makes you choose one doctor over another? I know for myself that I'm willing to travel further and pay more to do business with someone I like, trust and respect, and who treats me with respect.
So sure, when you're planning your marketing campaigns and writing your marketing communications material, you need to talk about the features and benefits of your product or service. But you also need to tell your prospective clients something about YOU. Share the story of how and why you came to be doing what you do; tell them about your values and what you stand for; apologise when you make a boo-boo; tell them what you did over the holidays, and include a photo of yourself. I know that I always like to see someone's photo on their "About Us" page - it makes them seem real, and it tells me a lot about them.
Lesson: Business is about people and relationships. So before people buy your product or service, they must first decide to "buy" YOU - your values, your attitudes, your energy, your enthusiasm, your compassion, your confidence, your humility...
Action steps: Think about what you can do to communicate who you are and what you believe in - then do it!
© Kay Ross
Kay Ross is a Hong Kong-based marketing consultant & coach, editor and copywriter. She devises creative marketing strategies and crafts compelling English-language marketing communications messages that translate into bottom-line results for her clients. To learn more, visit www.kayross.com.