Let’s say you have figured out your marketing plan. You’ve decided what your unique selling proposition is (what makes you different from the competition), and you’ve decided what your distinctive competence is (what you do best). To tie both of these to who you are, you’ve come up with a catchy little slug that goes under your company name on your service trucks. Maybe on your truck it says, “Bob’s Electric: The Electrical Troubleshooters.”
You came up with this niche because nobody else had it, you’ve got a couple decent troubleshooters on your crew, and you can probably charge premium rates for the work. But how does the customer know this isn’t just so much fliff-flaff? What makes you the ace troubleshooter in town? Is it just your claim, or do you really back that up?
Why can’t competitors say the same thing? Or can they? If they can, either do something different or make sure you really can do this better than anyone else by stepping up your training and your investment in test equipment.
No matter what your specialty, a customer has no reason to see any unsubstantiated claim as anything but hyperbole. If that same claim is backed up, it becomes a powerful selling point and a foundation of trust.
Here are some ways to back up your claim:
- Off-site training. If you specialize in specific types of equipment (e.g., Brand X PLCs), do you send your people to the manufacturer’s training classes so they get the best possible training? In the troubleshooting example, do you send your people to thermography training so they really know what they’re doing with that camera? The more expertise your people gain from this training, the more they will prove the validity of your marketing message while on the customer’s site.
- Certifications. Target those certifications that support your marketing plan, and start building a bank of these. Make a point of letting customers know that your techs have these certifications. Mailers are a good way to communicate this. For example, there are services that make it simple for you to create cards that they then send to those you designate on your contact list. You could use such a service to feature your Tech of the Month, listing that person’s certifications and what they mean. There is a risk that your competitors may try to hire away these techs, but if you keep your people happy, they are unlikely to leave.
- Training that you conduct for your customers. Don’t teach them to have your expertise, but teach them something from your expertise. This way, they can better understand and appreciate what you do without actually being able to replace you. Always make it useful so it’s worth their while.
- Look the part. There’s something about a uniform that speaks of authority and commands respect. Company-issued polo shirts work well, and this is an affordable way to establish a sort of uniform. But providing real uniforms and engaging a professional laundering service can take your image to the next level and provide a great benefit for employees. Either way, decide on a professional look that communicates competence.