listen up

Before I buy from you

We all sit here, with a minimum of a dozen options on which brand to buy, which will last longer, which is the best value, which helps me achieve my goal. This applies to everything. Cars, shoes, computers, phones, coffee, I could go on for an hour and not run out of industries and products this applies to. But have you ever stopped to think about your time? Your ideas? Your values? Now you are talking millions of options that will often feel the same. So before I buy from you, invest time in you, think any more about what you have to offer, I need to know a few things.

Being an expert is the fastest way to convince me that you are the right fit. So before we go too much further, how are you the expert here? Are you leading the revolution in electric cars? Sure there are cheaper electric cars than a Tesla, but they are simply fighting for second place. Tesla was not the first electric car. Tesla produced cars may or may not be better, that doesn’t matter, they lead the revolution and push the industry forward. You know they are the expert here because it shows up in their products, their image, their consistency, and their plans for the future. They are proposing things few have even thought of. They are the expert.

Experts ask questions others don’t.

A few years ago I was in need of a new AC unit. Living outside of Phoenix, you can imagine what a critical need this is. We did the usual, call 4 or 5 top-rated companies, and right off the bat one or two didn’t even show up. Odd, but okay, off the list I guess. The remaining 3 all came, did their assessments, and had a price. All the prices were within 10% of each other. I was pretty clear in the level of a unit I wanted, where I stood on quality, etc. I wasn’t about to save a few hundred dollars for lower output. Here is where the expert stood out, one, only one saw the platform our blower unit in the house was built on and had a $500 suggestion to rebuild and reconfigure it. Clearly the expert rose to the top. I no longer cared how much more their estimate was in the first place, then adding in $500. I could see they knew more than the others. I’m sure if someone called it out, the others would have agreed, but the one to call it out was the expert.

When we at Factor1 take on any new website or strategy project, we dive deep beyond the initial requests. Like a doctor, (okay maybe we are not like a doctor, but stay with me) we need to understand the symptoms you see, but we also need to ask harder questions to get below the surface. Sometimes the things we think we need isn’t everything, or even right. An expert knows the right questions to ask, where to dig in, ask more questions, and not take the surface level answer at face value. Sure you can search the internet for the issue, but when you remove the expert, you only get the answers for the questions you know to ask. So basically, you end up with a self-diagnosis that a doctor will laugh at because a few internet searches don’t replace years of medical school.

How do you establish yourself as an expert? Do you go out telling people you are the expert or do you put your head down and do the hard work? Tesla does a great job at self-promotion these days, but I have still never seen a TV commercial from them. I’m pretty sure I have never seen a print ad either. They put in the work, produce game-changing cars. In 2019 the Tesla Model-3 sold just under 200,000 cars. Making it one of the top 25 vehicles sold that year (including trucks, SUVs, and crossovers). With no ads. Compare that to EVERY other car on that list and you will see hundreds of millions of dollars spent in collective ads.

I spent years in graphic design, web design, web development. In the first few years of Factor1, we asked customers what they wanted and produced just that request. You’d be surprised how often the final product just didn’t solve any problems. It looked great, we often won awards, but the work failed to make the desired impact on the customer’s business. Fast forward a few years and we only do work that lets us dig in. We get into financials, customer service, delivery, and reviews of our customer’s products. We want to know from the earliest touch point through every aspect of the product/service delivery how it works, where the pain points are, and where improvements are needed. Like doctors, a self-diagnoses only tells us what you know, we need to know the full picture because we have 15 years of experience here, and we will see/hear things you don’t think are relevant.

You can go the easy way or the right way.

The way I see it, you have two paths to being the top. You can spend money on ads, marketing, press releases, etc to tell the world you are the product/service they need. Or, you can work strategically on the position of your products, company, and leadership to be the leader of the pack. Sure the ads get you out there sooner, but the positioning is where the real money is.

Ask the hard questions of yourself, your customers, your industry and the future. Where can you push the limits and break free from the mold of what you’ve been told to do this entire time?