How to Compare Without Being Biased
Marketing specialist Marcus Sheridan teaches businesses to compare themselves to the competition. It sounds crazy, but making comparisons helps your business if you do it right.
But how do you avoid being biased? In this lesson, Marcus reveals how you can make honest comparisons that win people’s trust and their business.
Know what people expect
When you make comparisons, people expect you to be biased. They expect you to say your company is great and everyone else is terrible. This is one time when meeting customer expectations is bad.
People won’t believe you if you only say good things about yourself and bad things about the competition. They’ll think you’re just trying to make money. But customers don’t care about your bottom line. They want to feel like you care about them.
So if you want your comparison to work, you need to know what people expect you to do, and then flip those expectations.
Flip their expectations
When people expect you to be self-serving, they put their guard up. You need to disarm them so you can earn their trust and have a chance at doing business with them.
You disarm people by saying things they don’t expect and showing them that you have their best interests at heart. You want them to think, Wow, I can’t believe they said that. I trust these people.
Example of disarming people
At Marcus’ company River Pools and Spas, customers always ask, “Why should I choose a fiberglass pool over a concrete one?”
Imagine Marcus decides to make a video to answer that question. Since customers know he sells fiberglass pools, they expect him to give a bunch of reasons why concrete pools suck. Here’s how he would flip those expectations:
“The truth is, you shouldn’t always choose a fiberglass pool. Sometimes, concrete is the better option. We’ll teach you the pros and cons of both types of swimming pools. By the end of this video, hopefully, you’ll have a great idea of what’s the best choice for you.”
How you can apply this to your business
Marcus said four things to disarm his customers, and you can use them, too. Here they are:
- You shouldn’t always choose our product or service.
- Sometimes the competitor’s product or service is better.
- We’ll explain the pros and cons of both products or services.
- You get to decide what’s right for you.
That last one’s huge. When you remind customers that they have a choice about who they work with, they believe you have their best interests at heart. That builds trust. And as Marcus says, trust makes people want to work with you.
Now, when you’re talking to recruits, be clear about your mission and culture. Let them know your company isn’t a good fit for everyone. They might be happier somewhere else if they don’t believe in your mission or don’t want to fit into your culture. Again, it’s their choice.
Won’t this drive people away?
Make no bones about it. Honest comparisons will push some people toward the competition. Marcus’ video will send some people to concrete pools because fiberglass pools aren’t for everybody. Just like your company isn’t for everybody.
And that’s good.
When you pretend you’re the right solution for everyone, you mislead your customers and recruits. Then you end up working with people who are mad because they have a problem that your business can’t solve effectively.
You want to work with customers and recruits who are truly a good fit for what your company does. You’ll both have a better experience and get better results. And the moment you’re willing to talk about what you’re not, you start attracting these people.
Make comparisons on your website
Your website should have a page that says who you’re not a good fit for. It should be straightforward, not sarcastic or snarky. You’re not trying to be a jerk. You’re trying to attract qualified customers you can actually help and qualified recruits who fit in with your team.
As you start making content about comparisons, ask these four questions:
- Does this sound biased?
- Is this self-serving?
- Are we looking at both sides of the coin?
- Do we ever recommend other possible solutions?
If you don’t offer other solutions, you won’t develop trust with customers or recruits. If you do offer them, you’ll become the thought leader of your space. People will watch your videos or read your articles, and they’ll think, Wow, that was really educational. I’m so grateful this company was willing, to be honest with me.
That’s the reputation you want to build.
Handling reviews and “best of” comparisons
Now that you’ve gotten a good foundation for handling comparisons in general, you’re ready to take on reviews and “best of” lists. Marcus will teach you how to handle these unique types of comparisons and use them to level up your business.