My son was a very good baseball player… good enough to play college baseball. From the time he started high school until he entered college there were lots of scouts that showed up to his games to check him out. What were they looking for? They already had all of his stats on their clipboards (or on their iPads) and knew more about what he had done than we probably even knew. So if they already had all the information, why were they there?
They were there to look beyond all the stats and the information available on an athlete… every scout had the same information. There had to be something else they were looking for that went well beyond the stats. What were they looking for and why did they invest the time to come all the out to watch my son and other boys in person?
Before I give you the answer, think about this in terms of your own business. You have the same information and reports everyone else does, just like all the scouts had the same information on my son. If you only go off your reports and information, then you are essentially competing on the same information all your competitors have… there has to be something more… something different if you are going to survive “commoditization.” If everyone has the same information and can make the same decisions, then the only thing you are left with is price and availability to differentiate… not a good business strategy. This is also called “the race to the bottom.”
From the customer’s point of view, they are looking at your product or service… specs. If someone is looking for just the specs on the product or service you are offering and everyone’s specs “all look the same,” you better be the cheapest or you won’t win. This is simply playing in the “Commodity Game” of business. Most can’t win here… they die.
Back to the baseball scout… what is the one thing scouts look for outside the stats that tell them this person is a “gem” among the rough stones. HEART. If the player they are watching has heart and amazing drive and resiliency and an attitude that smells like a winner, they jump to the top of their list… even if they don’t have the top stats. This is the variable that either enhances or negates the stats on a player. Often times, this is the deciding factor in selecting a player that can go to the next level.
This is what scouts are good at and paid to do… identify the players with heart. They look for those that work harder, give the extra effort, act as a leader on the team, support their teammates when the going gets tough, and are resilient to defeat and failure. You can’t see any of this in the stats. If the scouts didn’t focus on these efforts and only went with the stats, teams wouldn’t need them. Today, we can get more data on an individual athlete today than ever before… and it’s readily available to everyone.
Scouts spend countless hours on the road looking at athletes to validate the stats they see on paper and to assess their heart to see if they can handle the pressures of major league sports. That’s their job. That’s how they decide the winners that will go to the next level and have a high degree of potential success.
What does all this have to do with your customers? Your customers are the scouts!
Customers can get all the “stats” they ever needed to determine which products/services are good and not so good. They can check out the features and benefits of any given product or service well before they ever have to talk to you… just like the scouts. And if that’s all they use to make their decision, then they are essentially saying they view you as a “commodity” without differentiation. When this happens, they go to the next criteria to make their decision… price and availability.
But knowing that “Heart” is what makes the deciding factor for a scout, they can’t search for this online… or can they? I believe customers can “find the heart” of your organization and decide if they want to pursue a relationship with you well before you know they exist.
How? First, they can talk to people either in person or virtually (through their social media networks) about you. They can find out from them if you have “heart” when it comes to dealing with them. What kind of experience do you offer? How does it “feel” to work with your organization? Why should I choose this one over another one in “your opinion?” These are all “heart questions” that potential customers ask BEFORE they ever engage with your organization.
What answers will your potential customers get from your current and past customers? This is one of the most valuable questions any business owner or leadership team can answer today.
What is the “heart of your organization?” Everything else is just data everyone can get and it’s the same data all your competitors have available on the search engines as well… NO DIFFERENTIATION… the commodity part of any business. However, what they can only get from you and your organization is to determine what your “heart” is. It is based on the type of experience they desire to have.
The key question every leader needs to answer is, “Will you make them feel the way they want to feel when they interact with you?” If you don’t know the answer to this question with 100% accuracy, you can’t be differentiated or unique in the eyes of your customer without competing purely on price. But if you do know the answer to this question and you can deliver it to your customers, you will be viewed as UNIQUE AND DIFFERENT FROM ALL YOUR COMPETITION.
Change your mindset and realize your customers (and potential customers) think like a pro scout. They are only looking for one thing… YOUR HEART. Everything else is just a commodity that can be determined based on price and availability. Show them an experience that will “blow them away” and is “memorable” and “unforgettable.” Do this, and the scout (your customers) remember you and you move to the top of their list. No you have true differentiation in the eyes of your customer… and this takes you out of the commodity game.
Companies like Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, Zappos, Starbucks, Ace Hardware, and a host of others figured this out a while ago… which is now part of their DNA and why they are viewed as differentiated from their competition. They are no longer viewed as a commodity. You can too… when you start creating an organization that has “heart” that your customers can see, feel, and appreciate.
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We used to get excited about moving our companies from being GOOD to being GREAT… but today, being GREAT isn’t good enough… it’s a commodity. Today, if you aren’t on a path to move your company from being GREAT to being REMARKABLE and MEMORABLE, you don’t get talked about.
My PASSION and MISSION is to help INSPIRE, GUIDE, and HELP you become CUSTOMER OBSESSED! When you are “all in” with regard to your customer and their experience, you move your company from being GREAT to being REMARKABLE… and get talked about a lot, creating Word-of-Mouth on STEROIDS.
I have a model that helps you become Customer Obsessed so you can become “memorable and get everyone talking about you. In the core of the model is creating unbelievably incredible amazing and awesome Customer Experiences… you can learn about it in my book, “Creating and Delivering Totally Awesome Customer Experiences.” With this as a foundation, you are well on your way to being REMARKABLE.
I get to SPEAK about it, WRITE/BLOG about it, and HELP leaders understand it, aspire to it, and achieve it. There are four key components to help get you to being REMARKABLE… getting talked about in the market… and ultimately letting your CUSTOMERS DO YOUR MARKETING FOR YOU.