What Does Your Company Image Say About You?
If you know who your potential clients are and where they are then all you have to do is present them with what it is that you offer.
From there they will gladly part with their hard-earned cash in order to make sure that the wonder that is your company works alongside their own business.
You solve their problems. They are grateful and recommend you to their other friends who in turn do the same. You all grow stronger as a community.
Easy… At least in theory.
Yet more people seem to fall at this hurdle than any other.
At this stage I will say that quite a few also seem to fall at the research part (Finding your ideal customer). This will be covered in a later blog.
For now, let’s assume you have a good idea of who your customers are and where they are geographically situated.
It’s an old adage that you never get a second chance to make a first impression and largely I believe this is true.
If I order a meal at a restaurant and find toenails in my Ceaser Salad starter then I am unlikely to want to finish my meal or ever darken the doors of that establishment again (Unless that is what I ordered in the first place, naturally).
It doesn’t matter what they do in the future to try and secure my business their first impression will leave a lasting impression that is hard to shake.
Now, metaphorical toenails can take many forms. It could be a pushy salesperson, a badly designed website, an ambiguous or overly complicated logo or slogan or badly written web copy.
Perhaps all of these are fine but your clients simply cannot find you. The last one is a different problem to which there are helpful solutions that will also be addressed in later blogs.
Maybe your impression is one that doesn’t spark a negative reaction. Instead, it is so ‘run of the mill’ and like everyone else out there toting for business that it leaves no lasting impression at all.
How many PPI companies have you seen and ignored out there for example?
When I first started Parcel Ex, a marketing expert asked me what my unique selling points were. He asked about me about my brand and the impression I wanted to leave other people with.
Initially I gave the same old stock responses:
“Parcel Ex has great customer service.”
“Parcel Ex delivers across the UK seven days a week.”
“Parcel Ex is reliable.”
I could go on (and did). In around 15 minutes I delivered just about every clichéd stock response that he’d clearly heard from many a business owner before.
He told me that whilst my business ambitions were admirable – coming from me (The business owner) without the right strategy behind me, they were worth little more than smoke in the wind.
It’s expected (He said) that you think your business has great customer service and delivers on its promises. But these are elements that clients will find on their own – either through personal connection with your brand or through testimonials of other people that they trust.
But what is it that will encourage them to make that first step?
Filling in a form for a quote.
Clicking on a web page to get more information.
Picking up a phone and talking to your great customer service staff.
Let’s leave the arena of business relationships and look instead at human relationships.
What attracts you to another human being?
The long term emotional and practical reasons to continue with a personal relationship were covered in the last blog and they go to build what is your personal brand. But what of the short-term indicators that may prompt you to take that initial first step?
These short-term indicators are signs that the person with which you are considering a more intimate connection will be able to satisfy those longer-term goals.
I’m speaking of course of your First Impression.
Examine what it is that your clients see or hear from you.
Is it a (pushy) sales pitch?
How do you act when you are confronted by a pushy sales person?
Do you invite them into your house, all the time ever eager to sign on that metaphorical dotted line?
I’m guessing the answer is no and some companies will hire ever pushier sales people as the resilience of the potential client grows ever stronger.
With Parcel Ex I reject that idea. It would feel more like I’m beating weary travellers into submission rather than helping them solve a problem and improve their lives in some way. It would also devalue the service that Parcel Ex offers.
I’ve seen many sales messages from companies on social media and LinkedIn asking me to hire them. Even if it’s a service I need, internally I’ll ask the question ‘Why you?’ And I’ll probably ignore it.
There’s a strange irony here. I need the product or service yet I’ll ignore many offers placed upon my doorstep. I think, having been burned by dishonest and less than reputable people can leave a lasting scar in my mind’s internal computer. This is the same computer that my emotions reference every time a new ‘opportunity’ comes up.
This is my first impressions computer.
If people want to avoid negative reactions and immediate rejection from me, they have to convince me (While I want to make a purchase) that they are the right person to satisfy my short- and long-term goals.
- I want to already be aware of their brand.
- I want to feel like the company are approachable.
- I want to feel like I can trust this company.
- I want to feel (In as much as it is relevant) that their ethics and code of practice is similar to my own.
- I want to feel like the company has a vested interest in solving my problem that goes beyond a healthy profit margin.
The more astute of you may have noticed the word ‘feel’ above. I used this because the first barrier that any company has to cross to get my business is an emotional one. Once they cross that barrier then provided they offer what I need, then the sale is more or less guaranteed.
If I’m already aware of the company’s brand, then the chances are I’m aware of what they stand for. I may have been impressed by their logo and website. I may have read CURRENT testimonials as well as past ones. I may be aware of times they have helped others or myself expecting little or nothing in return.
Have a look at your website, your logo. Does it give a lasting first impression?
Have you helped others in the business community wanting nothing in return?
Do you encourage clients to leave testimonials?
Do people come to you for advice and help?
If the answer is yes to the above then you’re in a stronger position than we were when Parcel Ex first started out.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found it useful.
Comments welcome as always.
Our next blog will be based upon the power of helping people for free and how that inevitably will make a huge difference to your customer base and bottom line.
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Till Next Time…