In order to write anything that reaches my clients’ target audiences effectively, I need to know what that target audience wants. It’s astonishing how few organisations actually know this. The answer to the questions “Why do people buy your services or products and not those of your competitors?” tend to be one of these:
“I don’t know.” Honest, but not useful.
“Because we’re better.” Better than what? How better?
“We’re very good at what we do and people like our approach.” If you’re not very good at what you do, you probably shouldn’t be in business. What do they like about your approach?
“We’ve got a lot of testimonials, so we know people appreciate what we do.” Aha, testimonials – let’s see what people say, that could be useful. After reading a few I still haven’t identified anything other than validation that the organisation is professional, reliable, has excellent attention to detail, employs friendly people and is proactive in their approach. What’s wrong with that, I hear you demand – isn’t that good news? Well, it’s what I would expect from any organisation – in fact, I’d be worried if an organisation didn’t tick all those boxes. It doesn’t make a company stand out from the crowd.
What might seem like a simple question is suddenly much more challenging – and still needs an answer if you want your organisation to be head and shoulders above the competition.
The other question I ask is “What benefits do your clients experience as a result of what you deliver to them?”
By now you should be getting the idea. What we’re looking for is measurable outcomes, not lots of nice compliments (they are great to have, but while they will give you and your team a morale boost, they won’t persuade potential customers of the value of engaging your services or buying your products). What is a measurable outcome?
- 20% increase in sales over the same period last year/month.
- 2% reduction in staff levels without losing productivity.
- Increased productivity that has increased overall output by 20,000 widgets per month.
- Improved close rate on sales from 48% to 79%.
- Better staff retention cutting recruitment costs by 50% over 2 years.
As you see – numbers matter. People like to see results and results generally have a number attached. So what kind of results do your customers get? Do they know and have they measured them?
The only way to get the answers to these questions is to ask your customers – and it’s worth making the effort. Not only do you get valuable feedback, you are likely to get testimonials that will make a real difference to how potential customers make the decision to engage your services. Remember it’s not about a checklist, it’s about really understanding the detail that makes the difference.