Perception - It Really Counts!

December 4, 1998 -- I was at a client's staff meeting several weeks ago when the CEO asked his key managers the following question.

"Is it better to offer good products and services or being perceived as offering good products and services?"

The answers were evenly split with some adamant that being good had to be better than being perceived as good since perceived did not mean it was good.

This last point is valid, but a company could go out of business with a good product that is not perceived so by an ignorant audience. The target audience needs to perceive a value that equates to being good for them.

A Simple Test . . . Think about what you have come across on the Internet or other media sources that you purchased with the perception of being good and found out differently. Now just think about what you have bought that met or exceeded your perception. In both cases, the reason to buy should have been quite similar from a perception standpoint. The difference is that you would not buy a second time once the perception was negatively impacted by what was actually received.

You see, having the perception of being good or offering a better whatever can make a significant difference when it comes to converting a prospect into an account. Just make sure what is purchased can reinforce the customer's perception.

Of course, it is considerably easier for those companies with financial ability that have smart marketing and advertising. Their ability to develop and nurture a "desired" perception is quicker and broader with constant reinforcement potential.

And for the rest of us, it is how you present it, including via literature, web site, trade shows, and one on one situations. Testimonials are also important tools in the perception game.

Remember, that the best of both worlds is having a perceived value/goodness that is supported by what is being offered. There may be nothing worse in the business world as being perceived as bad.

Now, politics is a whole different matter!


David G. Bancroft
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