By communicating (and even branding) something you offer that's usually assumed in your industry or taken for granted by your target market, you will position yourself above the competition in their minds.
I call this “turning the assumed into the assured.”
In other words, you're turning a typically assumed product or service (or feature, process, add-on, whatever) into an assured one in the minds of people.
In this day and age where people have less time to shop around and compare things, they would rather skip the process or at least reduce the time and effort.
So if they had a referral, for example, they would choose it first or at least reduce their shopping time by looking at fewer alternatives because the referral implies that someone else has done the research for them.
But if they've come across your business in which you've branded something that's typical in your industry but important to them, it will make you stand out in their minds.
- If they know you already, you've created top-of-mind awareness when they're ready to buy.
- If they conduct their research and happen to stumble onto you, it will provide the same implied benefit as a referral by reducing their need to shop around.
- Or if others know about you because you stood out to them, when asked for a referral they will mention you more often.
This simple technique is indeed remarkably effective.
Here's an example from my own practice. Back in the 90s and before computers became popular, I had my clients (who were cosmetic surgeons) take photos of their patients during the initial consultation.
I also had them create assessment forms, with face and body outlines on which they can write to show the areas that will be worked on, the results they can expect, the prices, and a list of available openings for the procedure.
Most doctors have similar processes for patient assessments. But my client had them in triplicates so that the patient could take home a copy. The point was to give something patients can refer to when considering the procedure, when educating themselves about it, or even while considering alternatives.
Above all, it created a certain sense of urgency. The form had a disclaimer that said: “This estimate is valid for 30 days only.”
While you might think this was to apply pressure, the main reason was to avoid patients from returning months or even years after their initial consultation, expecting the same procedure at the same price and with the same result (when their body, complexion, or weight may have changed, for example).
Moreover, it was also a way to prevent undue procrastination. Procedures were booked months in advance. So the patient knew that the longer they waited, the less probable the suggested openings would be available. If they passed the 30-day mark, they would need a whole new assessment.
Now, most if not all doctors provide initial consultations. This is an assumed part of any cosmetic surgery practice. But we decided to call this something like:
“The Transparent Transformation Estimate.”
Fast-forward to today. A recent client of mine offers 3D imaging.
This is a process where a sophisticated camera takes photos of patients and offers realistic 3D simulations of their expected results by estimating how the patient would look like after the procedure is done.
This helps to manage expectations as patients sometimes have unrealistic ones. More important, it educates them so they can make an informed decision.
But instead of giving out a printed copy, patients can access their photos and estimates in a secure, private, HIPAA-compliant online portal. This doctor decided to call it something like:
“Complete Consultation Clarity.”
Here's the thing.
Other than initial consultations, you can do this with any part or aspect of your business, service, feature, add-on, process, etc.
It can be your guarantee, for example. You may offer one that's typical in your industry. But by pointing it out in your marketing and particularly by branding it, it makes it stand out, communicates instant credibility, and sticks in the mind.
For instance, if you're an IT project management consultant, you could add bonus training after the project is completed to guarantee users maintain your work. So you might call it the “Post-Project Optimization Plan.”
If you offer something unique that no competitor offers, don't just leave it like that. Put a name on it, make it stand out, and use it as a differentiator.
Don't take for granted that people will take it granted, too.
In the end, as simple as it may sound, if you specify something that's usually assumed or taken for granted in your business or industry, you stick out and stick on (the mind).