“XYZ IS THE LEADER IN THE INDUSTRY!”
Every time I see this in a company’s brochure, website, or on a business card I cringe. This expression has to be the most commonly used cliché in marketing, having as much value as a used-car salesman adding ‘trust me’ at the end of his sentences. But there it is, time and time again. This is what I call marketing fluff, and the customer can see right through it. Customers don’t believe your opinion (that’s right, ‘…the leader in the industry’ is only an opinion), we want to know the facts! Hard substantiated facts.
Another word for a ‘hard substantiated fact’ is a ‘feature’. It could be as simple as ‘colour blue’ to more comprehensive as ‘ISO 9001 certified’. A feature could even be the fact that your general manager is ‘French’ or ‘German’ …or from ‘Shandong Province’. All of these are features, because they are true. There is no argument.
Of course, not all features are valid. Take, for example, a discussion between a customer and sales person. The sales person has discovered, through the act of funnelling (to be explained later), that the customer is risk averse, that is, that their ‘need’ is to reduce risk in their decision making. The fact that the widget is ‘coloured blue’ and that the general manager is ‘French’ would not necessarily make the customer feel less anxious (unless, the French have a reputation of being extremely trustworthy *cough* Which they don’t! *smirk*). No, rather it would be the feature of the ISO 9001 qualification that would match this customer’s need. So ‘Needs + Features’ would then equal a ‘Benefit’; A benefit that could ultimately lead to a sale.
A simple concept (in theory), but one harder to master in person. And sadly most sales people don’t; rather returning to the cliché of being a ‘leader in the industry’ or worse still, a leading anything! If you want to give yourself praise, make it a substantiated fact – such as ‘Training Firm of the Year‘ (or similar) – or shut up. Otherwise you are just talking fluff.