The “IT” Factor

People often say “if” is a little word with a big meaning. The same can and should be said about the word “it.”

People decide who to do business with based on two factors: competence and trust. The funny thing is though, both these factors can be considered subjective. When we think of someone as trustworthy, there is not much concrete evidence to prove they can be trusted. Sure, maybe they have not lied to you or cheated you out of anything – yet. But how can you be sure it will not happen at some point, or it has not happened to someone else?

Then you have competence. Sometimes the bar for competence is set low based on how our own experience stacks up against the professional service provider. To anyone who struggles with writing, I may look like a literary genius. But am I really as competent as appearances might suggest (I like to think so)? And that’s only a good example if you are strictly evaluating one service provider. When there are multiple candidates, the differentiation in competence can be difficult to display. 

How can you confidently differentiate yourself from the competition in your industry? By building intellectual trust. Whereas trust means you believe the person you are working with will do their best to achieve your desired outcome, intellectual trust adds the layer of knowing that person has the ability to deliver on those good intentions. But it is not always easy to convey a lifetime’s worth of knowledge and experience to a prospect in the short window of a sales cycle without coming across as arrogant or overwhelming to the other party.

That’s where having a book comes into play. If you know it, write it. Once you’ve written it – share it. Everyone has a business card, a website, a social media presence, and virtually every other form of marketing and sales collateral. But what hardly any of your competition has is a book explaining what makes them the best provider for the job. A book speaking from the heart with the intention of educating a wider audience and helping to solve a problem, not a carefully crafted branding message or web copy composed by a third party with a fancy advertising degree. The words contained in those pages are the magnet your business needs. 

A recent client of ours was competing for a consulting contract in the plastics industry, one where he has decades of experience and client testimonials. However, he was still competing against other well-known names in the space because the potential client did their homework. They were narrowing down who would even be considered without the providers knowing. As fate would have it, our client’s book wound up in the hands of the prospective CEO’s wife. She shared with him that, after the first few chapters, she had already decided he would get the contract. The reason given was simple. “You are no bullshit, just right to the point.”

The irony here is that our client’s platform is based on a “No Smoke and Mirrors” approach, and the client synthesized that message in her own words. His book cut through all the fluff and marketing gimmicks the competition led with and focused strictly on his process and the real-world applications. The book removed all doubt in the client’s mind that he was competent and trustworthy, establishing the sought-after intellectual trust needed to compete at that level.

What will be your “IT” factor?

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