Consider all the aspects of your product or service that are important.

Make sure your product or service fits the task that the customer wants it for.

For example, if a disabled or elderly person wanted new taps for their bathroom they would want ones with levers regardless of how much better/cheaper/more available round headed taps may be.

Ensure your product or service meets the expectation of your customers.

Over promising and under delivering is the surest way of ruining your business reputation.

Offer something that the competition doesn’t.

Being unique sets you apart from the competition and gives you something to shout about. If there isn’t something unique about your product or service… invent something.

Know and promote the list of practical reasons why a customer would buy your product or service.

Focus on the benefits rather than the features. For example, a feature on a car could be that it has ABS braking. The benefit is that it reduces the chances of skidding in the wet, giving the driver more control and is therefore less likely to be hurt in an accident.

Know and promote the emotional reasons why a customer would buy your product or service.

We are all emotional human beings and are more likely to make a purchasing decision based on what we feel rather than practicalities. For example: a sports car is the most impractical vehicle on the road. They are expensive to buy and run, only have two seats and have little to no luggage space. They also have top speeds and acceleration that cannot be used on public roads. And yet, people buy them. Why? Because of the way it makes them feel. The emotional value in a product is worth more than the practical values.

First impressions of a product or service are important.

Because most purchases are made on a emotional level, customers will make a purchasing decision almost immediately. If the initial purchasing decision is to buy then any further thoughts or deliberation will revolve around reinforcing that initial decision. If the initial decision is to reject then it is far more difficult to persuade the customer to make a purchase. How attractive a product looks and the way it is presented or packaged is vital to making a good first impression. For example, a market fruit stall will always put the best looking produce at the front.

Treat your customers well and exceed their expectations.

This will increase the likelihood of them giving you repeat business and referring you to others. It costs a lot of time, money and effort to get someone to interact with your business and you need to maximise it. There are four levels of influence that come into play when a potential customer chooses a company to deal with:

  1. Experience – I have used the company’s products or services before and enjoyed the experience
  2. Referral – Someone I know has used the company’s products or services before and has recommended them to me.
  3. Advertising – I have heard of the company and its products and services and therefore I will give them a try.
  4. Ignorance – I have never heard of the company, it’s products or services and therefore I will avoid them.
Always look for new, interesting and exciting ways to positively influence a customer’s perception of your company.

The more interesting and unusual the experience, the greater the chance of referral. For example, a furniture retailer once turned the inside of its store into a circus marquee complete with jugglers, fire-eaters and stilt-walkers and enjoyed the immediate referrals of customers calling friends on mobile phones encouraging them to come and take a look.

Every purchase has a triggering event.

Get to know the triggering events that require your products or services to be needed and use them in your marketing campaigns. This will help to create emotional leverage with the customer. For example, one of the triggering events for buying a new car is when a family expands and outgrows the old one. By weaving the frustrations of owning a car that’s too small into your advertising campaigns creates an emotional link with the customer based on their real-life experiences. This emotional bond increases the likelihood of the customer to use your products and services.

Be first in the market.

It is always better to lead the market with a new innovation than follow on behind.

Know the difference between your brand and branding.
  • The brand is a company’s values. It’s how it conducts its business.
  • Branding is how the company communicates its brand.
    • The branding should always portray the brand values and be consistent. For example, Virgin’s brand values are: ‘providing heartfelt service, being delightfully surprising, red hot, and straight up while maintaining an insatiable curiosity and creating smart disruption.’ Every piece of Virgin’s branding in some way reinforces those brand values.
    • As part of the branding a company needs a strong, but simple logo that reflects the brand values and is easily replicated across all media.