There are two sides to your business – the “inside reality” and the “outside perception.” The inside reality has to do with all the things your business does that causes you to be valuable to your customers – such as products, services, operations, and management standpoint.
It’s what gives you a competitive advantage in the marketplace. The reason it called the inside reality is because there’s a good chance that the reality of what you do, and the customers’ perceptions of what you do, aren’t necessarily the same. You’ll find that these two words—reality and perception—are very important to this process of winning in business.
The “inside reality” encompasses everything you do and everything you are that makes you good. It’s all your skills, your people, your expertise, your service to the customer—before, during, and after the sale—your systems, your operational procedures, your commitment to excellence, your passion, and the way you conduct your business.
Now you might think you’re actually better than you are, or you might not be giving yourself enough credit for the things you do well. But regardless, there is a reality of how valuable you are to the marketplace based on those things I just listed. This is what we call the “inside reality”.
If you asked your customers why they bought from you, they could tell you something quantifiable, specific, and instantly obvious. They could point to specific advantages of doing business with you and say “That’s why I do business here, that’s why I refer my friends to come here, that’s why I’m a loyal customer of this place, that’s why I don’t mind paying more here, that’s why I keep coming back.”
This is what trainers like Stephen Covey, Tom Peters, and Michael Gerber are all about. Tom Peters calls it the “Pursuit of Wow!” And it’s imperative that you begin to innovate your company so that there’s a reason for people to buy from you. These guys do a great job of teaching you how to do those things… but here’s the problem: Just because you’ve achieved “WOW!” as Peters says, that doesn’t mean that customers are going to flock to your business. There’s still a job of marketing that has to be done. And that’s where the “outside perception” comes into play.
If the “inside reality” is about what you do and what you are that allows your business to perform better, then the outside perception has to do with how customers and prospects perceive your company. In most cases within a business, the “inside reality” and the “outside perception” are different.
Regardless of how good you are, or how good your “inside reality” is, your prospect is more than likely going to be, initially apathetic. And it’s not because they don’t like you or they think your business is bad, it’s because trying to figure out how good you are is the last thing on their priority list. They just want to work with a credible company that produces credible products and services.
So over the years, we have found that most businesses could stand some improvement in both areas…. but they struggle the most with the “outside perception.” They have problems differentiating themselves in the marketplace. Try to match your marketing message with your inside reality and you will become more efficient in separating yourself from your competitors in the minds of the prospects.
Written by Jon Bingham.
Jon is a Strategic Marketing Consultant, he creates proven marketing systems for Fortune 500 companies. Connect with him at Twitter @jon_bingham or email firstname.lastname@example.org or 435-574-2145.