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What Flavors Do You Offer?


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Suppose you were going to open an ice cream parlor. More than likely you will face a number of competing ice cream parlors. You will battle a host of competitors all screaming for the consumer's attention. The rallying cray of your new industry might well be, "I scream. You scream. We all scream "ice cream.'"

It's a tough business you've entered. You know you've got to promote yourself. So, you ask yourself, "What do most customers want?"

You read the ice cream trade journals and discover that the number one flavor is vanilla. Okay, that's it. You're going to promote vanilla. You're going to paint, "Vanilla ice cream here!" on the window of your storefront. You're going to devote your yellow pages ad to the theme, "We've got vanilla!" Everywhere you can, you're going to trumpet your vanilla ice cream.

You're going to go out of business.

People want vanilla, but they won't go out of their way to seek you out because yous ell it. If they happen to try your vanilla and like it, they may come back for it, but they won't say to themselves, "Hey, let's try Bubba's Ice Cream Parlor. He's got vanilla."

People expect an ice cream parlor to have vanilla. Everyone's got vanilla. It would be remarkable if you did not have vanilla.

So why do you promote your company with vanilla statements? Do you use one of the following.

"Quality Service"

"Fair Pricing"



"Fast Service"


"We're The Best"

"Reasonable Rates"

Most service companies; no, make that nearly all service companies use vanilla statements to persuade people to do business with them. Okay you claim you're "top quality." Yawn. So what? Are you going to say, "lousy quality?"

What can you say about your company that makes you stand out? Truly Nolan, a pest control company, uses the tag line, "Licensed To Kill." It may not be compelling, but it is sort of cute and clever. It is different. And it is what people want from a pest control company.

What can you claim that no one else has? Federal Express started with the unique selling proposition, "When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight." Fed Ex may not have been the only delivery service with overnight capabilities when they started, but they were the first to make it the focus of the marketing message. It sure beats, "mast delivery service." Fast by who's standards? Fed Ex made a statement. They said, "overnight."

What can you say that no one else can? Hallmark Air Conditioning in Houston continues to trumpet an award they won years ago, proclaiming themselves to be, "Residential Contractor of the Year." None of their local competitors can make that claim.

A Dallas foundation repair company promotes the fact the company's founder wrote a textbook on foundation repair. I don't know if he ever published it, but it sure sounds impressive.

Carrier Air Conditioning claims to be "the company that invented air conditioning." Maybe. Having grown up in the Florida panhandle, parochialism demands I mention Dr. John Gorrie who invented the first mechanical refrigeration system, which he used to make ice to cool his patients in Apalachicola, Florida. Gorrie aside, Willis Carrier was the first to use forced air and to commercialize the technology. Regardless, none of Carrier's competitors is in a position to make a similar claim.

Everyone's got vanilla. Vanilla won't make you stand out. What flavor do you offer that no one else does?

Since it helps to "see" examples, you might want to download a copy of the "Build a More Profitable Service Business" notes by clicking on the link below.

http://www.serviceroundtable.com/Freebi ... p?PCID=295

Source: Comanche Marketing. Reprinted by permission.

Free subscriptions are available at:

www.serviceroundtable.com -- click on the Comanche Marketing tab

Copyright © 2004 Matt Michel

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