By: Michael Cooney
“...in under eight months, Schlitz went from number 10 to number ONE in the U.S.”
Wouldn’t you like to know of a simple technique that can quickly begin to boost your credibility -- and your sales? One that answers the question your prospects are asking: "Why should I favor you with my purchase over someone else’" Then consider turning your generalities into specifics.
Put on your “consumer” hat for a moment. Let’s shop for a new car! Here are actual headline statements I picked from auto dealer ads in a Sunday Los Angeles Times:
“Super Values” “More Affordable Than Ever” “Large Selections” “Incredible Savings” “Vast Inventory” “Best Deal” “Best Selection” “Huge Inventory” “Call Now And Save $$$” “Save Big Now” “Tremendous Savings” “Extra Incentives” “Unheard-Of Prices” “Super Discount Pricing”
And my favorite: “We Can’t Find The Words To Describe Our Deals!”
If you read the examples above, would any of them impress or convince you? Even a little? Would any of them cause you to proclaim “Boy! THAT’S the dealer for me!!!”?
Since nearly every dealer is bombarding you with the same over-used generalities week in and week out, which do you believe? Which dealer really is the “best”? Can you tell?
Make your company stand out
What can you do, then, to set your company apart from your competitors, gain credibility, and build confidence in your claims? It’s simple: Be specific.
When people read or hear a specific, quantified statement, they assume that you have done actual research or testing or measurement to come up with that figure.
So when specific numbers or facts or details are presented, they are usually accepted as truthful. Then your claims suddenly become facts. Facts are believable. And believability leads to buyer confidence.
The amazing story of Schlitz
My marketing mentor, Jay Abraham, likes to tell about the fortuitous hiring of a pioneer in print advertising, Claude Hopkins, by a little-known brewery called Schlitz. The year was 1919.
Schlitz beer was number 10 or lower among breweries at the time, struggling along with little market share. The first thing Hopkins did was learn how Schlitz made beer. The specifics.He learned that Schlitz had five 4,000-foot deep artesian wells to get the purest water. The mother yeast cell from which their yeast was derived (to get the best flavor) was the result of nearly 2,500 experiments. There were five different rooms surrounded by thick plate glass where the beer was condensed, distilled and recondensed for the utmost purity. Tasters taste-tested the beer five different times. The bottles were cleaned 12 times for proper sanitation. And there was more....
Hopkins was astounded. He wondered why nobody on the outside knew all this! The Schlitz people told him that this was nothing special -- all beer was made this way.
But Hopkins was the first to put those specifics into a brewery’s advertising! And in seven months, Schlitz went from number 10 to number ONE in the U.S.
Wow! How, then, can you be more specific and thus more believable? Here are some possibilities:
Some “specific” examples
Let’s say you’re an ophthalmologist specializing in LASIK laser eye surgery. Is it better to state that you’re “highly experienced” or to state that you have “successfully performed 2,796 laser procedures”?
Does your product pass through 12 quality control checks before it’s shipped out? Knowing that will help your prospects feel more comfortable buying from you.
Do you use .09 inch chromed steel tubing when everyone else uses .07 inch painted tubing?
Did you search out 92 sources in 18 countries to find just the right materials to use in manufacturing your product?
Does it take 233 steps using 39 skilled technicians to produce your deluxe product?
Can you see how hard facts create more impact than soft generalities? Specifics help show everyone the true value of your product, your service, your preparation, your labor, the care you use. They give prospects more logical reasons to justify their emotional buying decision. In short, they help prove to your prospects why their money is best spent with you.
Generalities have little value for two reasons: because they’re overused; and because our brains remember specifics better than generalities. And if you can remember that, you’ll have another method for helping move your company to the head of the class.
Truthfully describe, and quantify when possible, your quality, processes, care or skill in the services you provide or the products you manufacture or sell in specific terms. Then watch your credibility -- and profits -- grow.
Michael Cooney, co-founder, Global Development, a marketing and advertising consulting group 818-522-1970 www.GlobalBrand.com