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Categorize yourself or be mis-categorized

One of the key principles I cover with both my sales training clients and my marketing clients is that
First you must be the same before you can be different.

The human mind is advanced but the conscious mind is rather simple.

We are bombarded with information but can only process so much before we short circuit.

To increase both the amount and the speed at which we process information we put those nuggets into buckets or categories.

If you are "too far out" you may get my attention, which is a good thing, or you may be "un-bucketable" so I ignore you, which is a bad thing for us both if your offering is truly beneficial.

For example, after all my years of travel I've gotten into a routine of parking at Park 'N Fly, flying Southwest, renting cars at Hertz and staying at Marriott properties.

I have no interest in changing any of those categories. I'm comfortable with those decisions. They have served me well. It's not life-or-death for me to seek a change in those areas. So you could say I'm in homeostasis when it comes to my travel routine.

wil_e_coyote_wall.jpgThat being the case, I could be open to changing any or all of those travel decisions if I discovered new, compelling information.

The problem for any provider in the travel industry is that I'm not actively looking to solve a problem I don't know I have.

You have to get my attention, make me aware of my problem and/or your better offer, and get me moving into research mode if you're ever going to have a chance of getting me to switch.

We know that a body at rest remains at rest until acted upon by an outside force.

And that force needs to be greater than the object you want to move or you'll end up like Wil E. Coyote hitting the wall.

"Do you know how Company A offers Service Z?"

To get my attention when I don't think I'm in the market to change, you first need to explain how you are the same as what I currently know, like, and trust.

  • "You know how Hertz Gold lets you walk right to your car so you can get in and go? You can do that with us with the added benefit of giving you the choice of any car in your section."
  • "You know how Marriott has a wide range of properties to fit every budget and amenity? You get even more choices with us at an average of 5% lower per stay."

Once you have my attention by wisely understanding how to categorize yourself, you can then get my business by showing how you are different, in a "gooder" and better way.

Maybe your off-site airport parking offers bottled water, newspapers, and 15% less expensive parking than the longterm airport marketing.

Maybe your airline doesn't nickle and dime you for bags and flight changes while flying to 30% more locations than Southwest at the same price.

When I sold blade PCs for an Austin-based startup that were 3x more expensive than the Dells we were replacing, I first had to confirm with my prospects that we ran the same Intel chips, the same Seagate harddrives, the same RAM, the same Windows OS, the same USB ports, etc.

Then I could highlight how the 3x initial cost was recouped through greater security (both physical property and intellectual property), higher uptime, better redundancy, faster moves, adds, and changes, etc. 

But I had to start with what my prospects knew and were comfortable with: Intel, Western Digital, Seagate, Windows. Then I could dive into their pain...and alleviate it with my offering.

Accept the category your prospects think defines you to get your foot in the door. To get into one of their brain buckets.

Once your foot is in, you can get your leg in, your hip in, and before you know it you'll be welcomed in so you can make yourself a Category of 1.

Would you like some help defining your strategy and launching your own category of 1?

You can contact me and we'll set a time to speak.

Good Selling,