Many would agree that the business climate has become considerably more challenging over recent years. So, when doing your marketing, just saying you're competent is not enough to convince an increasingly cynical market that you're worth buying from.
So, how should you go about proving it to a potential client or customer that they should choose you rather than your competitors?
Well, a really simple way is to not only tell your potential customers that you can do the job but you can also try and show them by using customer testimonials and short case studies.
But the interesting thing about this is that only a minority of businesses will consider a combination of the two.
We are working with a client right now who provides high end coaching and training to senior business executives. This type of client needs to be convinced that if they are going to spend £1000 ($1300) per day on hiring someone to help then that someone had better be able to show that they are pretty special.
But, let me tell you a little about what I've observed in recent days:
In our website and design business we are compiling a database of potential local clients in the legal profession. We are putting together names and addresses and also examining what their website looks like and the information on it.
One of the things that I've noticed is how similar they all are in what they say. Almost every single one of the websites that we've looked at have, on the homepage (usually very near to the top or the beginning of the text), you'll find the word 'professional'.
What they are actually trying to say is that they can do the job.
But if I was looking for a lawyer I would expect your competence (or professionalism) to be a given. In other words, I expect you to be able to do what you say you're going to do without me even having to take it into account.
And this applies to every single client and customer relationship; you need to be able to deliver, and any new client needs to be sure that you can. Otherwise you won't be in business for long.
But, just saying you can do the job or that you're professional (which most people would expect anyway) isn't enough. Your competence is not enough, you have to be able to show that your competence and your skills and knowledge are worth buying.
However, back to the training and coaching company. What we are doing with them is on each of the product pages (in fact, all almost all pages), is highlighting customer feedback from the services that they provide. Not only that, but we're linking that feedback to mini case studies of the work involved, what the problems were, how those problems were fixed and what the end result was.
In other words we are taking the potential customer on a journey from problem to solution and then end result.
This kind of approach is much better because it provides improved credibility to your claim of competence.
In other words, we're not just saying that they are competent but we're also illustrating to potential customers what they are likely to experience and some of the results that they may get from working with this particular training and coaching company.
So, when you're trying to tell your audience about how good you are, you need to remember that your competence is not enough. You need to show that your potential clients and customers can expect results, and not just results but results that they can typically relate to.
If you've any other examples of this, both good and bad, it would be great to hear from you in the comments below.