Are you being misunderstood by your prospects

February 24, 2016

There are two sides of a business:

  • Inside Reality: This is what you are (or your business is)
  • Outside Perception: This is what your prospects and customers think of you

For your marketing to be effective, it is very important that the outside perception of your business aligns with the inside perception of your business.

At Chhlin, we help in innovating and marketing your company. We do this in two steps:

  • Differentiate you from your competition
  • Out-market the competition by improving your online visibility

You become the obvious choice to do business with.

At Chhlin, we focus on both sides of your business: the inside reality and the outside perception. When the outside perception of your organization is an accurate reflection of an amazing inside realty, you can monopolize your market.

Unfortunately, we find that these two sides of a business are rarely aligned.

In fact, we venture to say that the crux of all marketing problems- including yours- can be wrapped up into one simple statement:

Most companies’ outside perception is not an accurate reflection of their inside reality.

At Chhlin, what we do, first and foremost, is fix that problem.

The inside reality has to do with all the things your business does that makes you valuable to your customers from a product, operations, and management standpoint. The “inside reality” is about what you do and what you are that allows your business to perform better. It’s what gives you a competitive advantage in the marketplace. The reason we call it the inside reality is because the reality of what you do, and the customers’ perceptions of what you do, aren’t necessarily the same. These two words-reality and perception-are vital 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. 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. Regardless, there is a reality of how valuable you are to the marketplace based on these things. That’s what we call the inside reality.

What is the inside reality in your business? You probably already know. 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.” That’s your inside reality.

You need to innovate your company so that there’s a reason for people to buy from you. These popular gurus do a great job of teaching you how to do those things. But here’s the problem: Just because you’ve achieved “WOW!” doesn’t mean that customers are going to flock to your business. You still have to market your business. And that’s where the “outside perception” comes into play.

The outside perception is how customers and prospects perceive your company. The outside perception is developed by all interactions somebody has with your company. Customers will draw on their past buying experiences to form their outside perception.

But even if your customer service is great and your customers love you, none of that means squat to a prospective customer if 1) they don’t know you even exist as an option, or 2) they can’t distinguish your value because of your inability to market yourself properly. They perceive that you are no better or worse than anybody else. Marketing ineptitude creates a chasm between your inside reality and your outside perception. To your buyers, they are totally different. Take your pride and stick it on the shelf for a minute. Regardless of how good you are or how good your “inside reality” is, your prospect can’t figure it out based on your marketing. You appear on the surface to be just another company that sells whatever it is you sell. The prospect will more than likely be apathetic at best, resistant or hostile at worst.

Ask yourself: “How many competitors, either direct or indirect, do we have in our business?” Whatever that number is, that’s how many choices your prospects have, and how many businesses they have to sift through to try to make a buying decision. And that’s assuming they want to buy what you’re selling! Because of a large number of competitors, marketing has to 1) interrupt the prospect, 2) facilitate the decision-making process, and 3) lower the risk of taking the next step in the buying process.

Most business owners know what their customers want but can’t communicate their “inside reality” to the outside world. They can’t take their WOW and lead prospects to the conclusion: “I would have to be an absolute fool to do business with anyone else but you, regardless of price.

Think about your business. Your ability to know what your customer wants is what has made you as successful as you are now. You have good products or services, and you fill a market need. You’ve studied your market, your prospects and your business for years, and you have solutions that add value to your customer’s life. Why, then, aren’t you making all the money you deserve? Because you’re an expert at what you do, not a marketing communications expert.

Now, there are sales and marketing gurus galore who try to help you make your business look good to the outside world. The problem is this: None of them pays any attention to how good your business actually is.

Advertising guru Rosser Reeves once said, “To be effective, you’ve got to make the product interesting, not just make the ad different.” That’s something too many of the books, gurus, and agencies don’t understand. Visit an ad agency or a media sales rep and they’ll say, “Just bring me any product or service and a big bag of cash, and we’ll guarantee you that we’ll spend all of it.” They put all their creative effort into making the ad different, with no thought for the inside reality of the product or service.

You’ve got to work on both sides of your business-the inside reality and the outside perception. If you concentrate all your efforts on the “inside reality” but you don’t know how to market properly, you set yourself up for frustration and failure. You’ll be pulling your hair out trying to figure out where your money vanished to, or you’ll feel like the “best-kept secret in town.” Or, if you’re focusing all your efforts on the “outside perception,” you may have bought some advertising or direct mail books, or you hired a PR or ad agency or enlisted a media sales rep. Now you’ll have customers, but they’ll hate you because you’re selling them a lie! You must balance both sides of your business.

Most businesses could stand some improvement in both areas, but they struggle most with the outside perception. In reality, they have good companies and offer good value, but they don’t differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

We help you to improve both the inside reality and the outside perception of your company. Part of the process deals with innovation and how to make your business competitive from a product, operations, and management standpoint. Then we deal with how to communicate through your marketing-whether that be advertising, direct mail, web-based, or whatever-so that it effectively separates you from your competitors in the minds of the prospects.

We help you innovate your products and then improve the “outside perception” of your business. We teach you how to say it well and say it often so people instantly recognize you as their best choice. You become their “no-brainer” best decision.

Just helping you innovate leaves you with a wonderful, innovative company that nobody knows about. Just teaching you sales, marketing, advertising or PR techniques will drive in business that won’t stick around because they receive no value. You have to consider both the inside reality and the outside perception.

We integrate these two vital aspects of growing your business. Stop and think for a minute: What is the inside reality of your business? What is the outside perception?

Although what your current customers think about you is important, what your prospects think about you is even more so. Can they perceive that you’re any different or any better than their alternatives by looking at your ads? What about your brochures? What about your website? Chances are, they can’t. so, even though your inside reality is good, the outside perception is average, or worse, non-existent.

Look at your ads and your website. Is it instantly obvious what makes you better? Can you show what makes you unique and different and how prospects should judge your offer, what factors they need to consider when deciding, and how you provide value?

If not, you have some work to do: to ensure that your outside perception is an accurate reflection of your inside reality and to convince prospects that you are the obvious choice to business with.

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