What Great Businesses Have in Common

Which of these would make you more likely to purchase a product?

First, a TV or radio commercial that touts a company’s virtues, featuring impossibly attractive people and making impossibly realistic claims about a product that has just hit the market?

Or second, a plain-speak recommendation of an established product from somebody you trust – be it your spouse, sibling, parent, friend, etc?

Obviously, you’re likely to choose the second one (Well, hopefully).

There are many key elements the second choice has that the first doesn’t, but the two most important factors are the establishment of a product and the establishment of trust in the person.

And among those two factors is one important thing in common.

Neither happens overnight.

Building a successful business isn’t like winning the lottery. Success isn’t instant, nor is it the result of luck alone.

It takes time and work – time and work spent developing a product that has widespread appeal AND developing a message that attracts not just customers, but a fan base.

(Remember, after all, your answer to the question at the beginning of this article.)

Reworking Your Message

Here’s a key except from The New York Times bestselling book “Rework”:
http://www.amazon.com/Rework-Jason-Fried/dp/0307463745

“As you get going, keep in mind why you’re doing what you’re doing. Great businesses have a point of view, not just a product or service. You have to believe in something. You need to have a backbone. You need to know what you’re willing to fight for. And then you need to show the world.”

He continues: “Strong opinions aren’t free. You’ll turn some people off. They’ll accuse you of being arrogant and aloof. That’s life. For everyone who loves you, there will be others who hate you. If no one’s upset by what you’re saying, you’re probably not pushing hard enough. (And you’re probably boring, too.)”

Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? Well, it doesn’t always have to be. The sheer ferocity of this passage masks one of its biggest points – that a strong stand is how you attract “superfans.”

Superfans are the people that point to you. They spread your message further, wider and more passionately than any advertisement could.

When people go out of their way to disclaim you or insult you, these superfans are your first line of defense.

Now, let’s take a step back from the heaviness of that last scenario and realize that the chances of you royally pissing people off by your line of work are very unlikely. Election season is around the corner and that’ll spew enough heated rhetoric across the airways to last a good four years.

Here’s a more likely scenario where strong opinions serve to your advantage.

A skeptical client is in your office. You’ve said and done seemingly everything you can. But he/ she just isn’t convinced.

A strong opinion about why you believe in your product, or an observation that cuts to the core of their hesitation, can be that extra something that clinches the sale or pushes them out the door. From an optimist’s point of view, both scenarios save you time and allow you to move on to the next prospect.

Now, let’s be clear, don’t confuse strong opinions with flashy, unrealistic claims.

Remember the above example and the reason you chose to buy on the recommendation of a trusted friend instead of the insistence of a flamboyant commercial.

Strong opinions resonate in the superfans who believe them.

And they in turn echo those opinions to others.

Be valuable.

John McCarthy
Managing Editor, Leads4Insurance.com

 

Related Articles:

How Small Insurance Agents Can Compete with National Insurance Companies

How to Use Testimonials to Drive Sales

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