Success Doctor



Magical Marketing Strategies for Creating an Endless Stream of New,
Repeat, and Referral Business

Copyright © 1998 Michel Fortin, Ph.D.



So, now you've got a unique name, possibly a tagline, and you're the first or leader in your unique category. What about the service or product you offer? Do you offer an extraordinary product or service, or do you offer an ordinary one? You see, even if the service you provide is customary, most likely traditional, and probably offered by your competition, you should make it look unique just as well.

Remember that perception is more powerful than truth. You don't need to emphasize that your product or service is unique or the best. Trying to do so or declaring that it is can sometimes be worse than not saying anything at all, and the reason for that is that it makes you appear as if you are bluffing or exaggerating at best. For instance, if you told people that your product or service is #1 in the marketplace, your clients will probably either laugh at you or in the very least question your statement. But if you put a name on your product or service, even a trademark if possible, you will indirectly cast an aura of exclusivity and superiority and do so without utterly flaunting it.

By the way, please note that trademarks don't need to be registered, unless you are looking for financial compensation if someone ever copies you. In that case, you must go through a trademark lawyer to register your name or names. I am not a lawyer and please do not consider this as legal advice. I strongly recommend that you see a trademark or corporate lawyer for assistance in this area, especially if you're seeking to completely prevent any form of piracy. However, after registering your trademark, you will be able to use the ® (registered trademark) symbol rather than the TM in all your communications, and keep copycats at bay or even sue them should they ever use your names or taglines.

Nevertheless, remember that perception is powerful. When it comes to the perception of a product or service – and especially service – it will generally fall into either one of 3 categories. The first one is a customary service, the second is an assumed service, and the third is a unique service. Let's take a look at each element in more detail.

A Customary Service

You might be a bookkeeper offering an income tax service as part of your portfolio, a service that is also widely offered by most bookkeepers these days. However, don't just leave it like that. Say, Ask us about our special Total Tax TranquillityTM service. If you're a dry-cleaner offering a tie cleaning service (as most dry-cleaners do), don't just call it a tie cleaning service, call it a special name, as in Bring your ties out of retirement with our Re-TIE-rement ReversalTM process.

I know what you may be thinking right now. You're probably thinking that you are a professional representing a high class, high quality product or service, and that this type of strategy doesn't apply to you. As a business development consultant specializing in medical practices, I deal with a very professional clientele and hear this all the time. However, I still say that it is possible for you to use this technique, even in these circumstances.

For example, I often go through the yellow pages (in the doctor and dentist sections) to find potential clients. I was immediately struck by an ad from a dentist who specializes in pain and anxiety management. She has an anesthetist on staff and uses intravenous and general sedation for her patients, in order to make the process of dental work a more comfortable experience. What did her ad say? The headline is made up of two simple words: Dream DentistryTM Now that's good!

In essence, even if your service is customary or your competition offers the same thing you do, by putting a name on an often-nameless service, you cast an aura of uniqueness and superiority instantaneously, without having to state it outright. As one of my mentors used to say, Implication is more powerful than specification! The resulting effect is that not only does the name keep you in the back of the minds of your prospects, it also creates curiosity, arouses interest, and enhances desire. By and large, if people had to choose between a general product or service and one that, through its name, implies a better or more unique kind of product or service, more than likely they will go for the second option.

For instance, if you owned an imported car that needed a brake job, whom would you choose: A general mechanic? Or one who specializes in imported cars by marketing its service as Are your brakes screaming in a different language? Come and see us for your Quicker-than-CustomsTM foreign car brake inspection? You get the picture. (Whoops! I'm getting ahead of myself again, since this example also reflects Commandment #4, which is the power of specialization. But I guess you're getting used to me by now, right? 'Nuff said.)

An Assumed Service

Speaking of mechanics, are you a mechanic and, as normal practice, offer free estimates? If you are a mechanic, you most likely do. Everybody expects free estimates from mechanics or garages these days. However, as simple as it may sound, if you specify that which is usually taken for granted, you make your name stick! For example, you might call your free estimate The Hassle Freedom FormulaTM or the No Greater than Guesstimate EstimateTM Either that or the tagline could simply be Where Smiles and Estimates are Free!TM

You see, it might sound silly but the attractiveness of this process is so simple. People may or may not know that garages offer free estimates and, more often than not, they only assume that they do. But with a service name in which people are told that their estimates are free, they are now assured that that particular garage offers free estimates. In other words, you're turning an assumed service into an assured service in the minds of people. And in this day and age where people no longer have the time to shop around, when they'll need the services of a mechanic your name will pop into their minds instantaneously. This technique is indeed remarkably effective.

As shown in the previous example, making the ordinary extraordinary is like turning the assumed into the assured. In fact, there is an immense power behind guarantees, and I love marketing on this remarkable concept. Some people think that guarantees are outdated, overused, and ineffective. I know for a fact that that's not true.

People not only love guarantees, but as I said earlier, in today's hypercompetitive marketplace you need to stand out like a sore thumb. And a good way to do this is by offering a guarantee in one form or another so that, when placed side-by-side with a competitor, you will be the one who's chosen. Guarantees sometimes frighten businesspeople because it involves taking a great risk on the part of the entrepreneur. The possible loss of revenue is indeed a frightening idea for many people. But if you have a good product, have had good experience with it, and believe in it wholeheartedly, guarantees can become powerful weapons in building your business.

However, if you still feel that you can not offer guarantees or if your type of work stops you from doing so (as, for instance, in the case of cosmetic surgeons who are legally prohibited to guarantee their work), there are 3 key areas here you may want to consider. First, does your product or service provide a measurable result? Second, can your product or service be easily replaced? And third, do you offer additional services outside your core portfolio? If you're not prepared to give a full-money back guarantee, you might want to consider adding or subtracting something instead.

Let me give you some examples. You're a sales training consultant offering seminars on sales productivity. You might want to offer a guarantee that promises an increase in your client's sales results by, say, 25% following your seminar. If your client's salesforce doesn't meet this goal within a specific period of time, you could offer an additional seminar or one-on-one consulting (perhaps telephone consulting) free of charge.

You may be a marketing consultant compensated on a percentage of the client's sales. As a name for your guarantee, you may want to call it Doubling the Profits by Dividing the RiskTM guarantee. Additionally, you might give an additional product or service free of charge as a way to thank your client for his or her business. In this case, don't just offer it as a standard part of your package; market it in the form of a guarantee.

If, for instance, you are a project management consultant in the computer field, you could add a bonus-training seminar to be conducted after your consulting contract is completed in order to guarantee that people implement and maintain your work effectively. You can call it The After-Project AssuranceTM plan or the Perfect Project PlusTM guarantee.

In essence, the idea is to guarantee, in the minds of prospects, that which is a generally assumed part of your business. If the prospect perceives that doing business with you has some added value, even if that which you offer is identical to your competition or included in a total package, you will be able to destroy your competition easily! Often, the problem not only lies with what prospects perceive but also with what businesspeople perceive. They too wrongfully assume that parts of their product or service are not important or, as one doctor-client of mine once said, that it all comes with the territory. I'm sure you've heard the old joke about what happens when you assume... Well, you get the picture.

By the way, that client of mine removes stitches from and follows up with his patients after surgery and doesn't bill them for these seemingly ordinary services. In fact, these additional small steps are common practice throughout the entire medical community. I asked him to put a name on it. He now calls it his Patient ProgressTM program. Remember, if you turn the ordinary into the extraordinary, you will turn ordinary marketing into extraordinary results.

A Unique Service

Above all, you may still be offering some very special or unique service that your competition doesn't offer at all. That's great! However, the same rule applies here. Don't just leave it to a vague title or description. Put a name on it and christen your unique service. If, for instance, you're a management consultant offering seminars on how to get the most out of a particular software program you've customized and the software programmer or company endorses your efforts, call it the (Software Company) Certified Software Seminar, or the (Software) Approved Preferred Client Course.

While having a unique product or service beats the previous two categories in creating top-of-mind awareness, it doesn't have to be an entirely new thing. It can be copied and customized in such a way that it appears unique or new. Many people have made fortunes by simply improving a current product or service by merely 10% yet packaged it in an entirely different way. Remember the pet rock?

This goes back to the issue of perception. Once, on an Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah had conducted an apple juice taste test in malls across the United States. I believe the program was related to how people could be mislead through marketing. (However, she was focusing on companies using false or misleading advertising, but the test revealed some interesting facts nonetheless.) She had two bottles of apple juice. One was a plain, white plastic container with a label donning a picture of an apple. The second bottle, however, was an intricately shaped glass bottle carrying a red label with the picture of a woman preparing apple juice in her kitchen. When people were asked which apple juice tasted better, over 72% said that the juice from the glass bottle with the red label tasted better. The surprise came when she announced to her audience that the juices from both bottles were exactly the same!

Not bad, isn't it? But it didn't stop there. When she asked her participants why they chose the juice from the red labeled bottle, their answers were astonishing. They said, It tastes really good, much better than the other one. Or, it's sweeter tasting, it has more flavor. Or, It has to be better, the picture on the bottle with the lady preparing the juice indicates to me that more care and attention was given into making it.

It all boils down to the fact that perceived truth is indeed more powerful than truth itself. So, when it comes to your unique product or service, pay close attention to how you package it, or in other words to the name and description you put on it. This is how brand names have become generic in the minds of people. However, it is difficult for me to give you specific examples at this point since the uniqueness of your service will determine your entire approach.

The key is to market your original product or service in such a way so that, if it is ever copied, your product or service's name remains firmly fixed in the marketplace and that your competitor's attempt to copy you will only but remind your prospects of you. If you can, add a guarantee or a tagline to your product or service, such as Flat-Rate Fashion Facials.TM Flat Out Fantastic! Ultimately, make your product or service outstanding by making it stand out!

The Power of Words to Increase Sales

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