Do your customers prefer you?
If you were a video machine, would you be VHS or Beta? Imagine you’re a computer, are you a PC or a Mac? Are you a Tim Horton’s or a Starbucks coffee? Being preferred doesn’t always have to do with the quality of your product — Beta videos, Mac computers and Starbucks coffee are superior to their more successful rivals — it’s all about your distinctive value. And author/entrepreneur Michael Vickers can do the math to show you how to become preferred.
Vickers entertained and educated a rapt crowd of pharmaceutical types at the last meeting of the PMCQ season, sending us out into the world with ideas, tips and mathematical formulas for Becoming Preferred, coincidentally the name of his latest book. First, he told us the truth: we are all the same, offering the same stuff, same science, same price, same people — just take a look around. See? Next, Vickers quizzed the audience: what makes your company/product so different? Is it the service? Yes, of course it is, came the response. Okay, let’s all agree on which global corporations are universally known for the highest service standards: FedEx, Disney, Four Seasons Hotels, Southwest Airlines, Porsche, Apple, Hertz… It’s a long and distinguished list that doesn’t include a single pharmaceutical company. Uh-oh.
The secret to becoming preferred (and outselling your competition) is explained in Michael Vickers’ six guidelines, which include challenging your assumptions about your competitors, your customers and yourself. You may not be seeing your world as it really is and incorrect assumptions could be devastating. Becoming preferred is achievable if you can identify your customer’s stress and dissatisfaction better than your competitors and then remove that stress and dissatisfaction better than your competitors, while connecting with your customer in a meaningful way. It could be as simple as handwritten thank-you-for-your-business notes, which I believe is currently PAAB approved.
Even more intriguing is Vickers’ mathematical formula for becoming preferred: EV + DV x T = PS. That’s Expected Value plus Distinctive Value times Trust equals Preferred Status. In other words, preferred status can be attained by taking what your customers expect from your product, adding what truly differentiates you and your product from your competition and multiplying all of that by how much they trust you and your company. More trust equals more business. Simple math for a complex business.
But just like his new book, Michael Vickers’ Becoming Preferred presentation is so jam-packed with valuable information for businesspeople that I wish I had recorded it all… on VHS video, of course.