Whether you want to believe it or not, you’re constantly being sold something, everywhere you look. TV, newspapers, radio, billboards, and now even the sidebar of your Facebook feed! Differentiating between what you really want and what companies want you to want is growing increasingly difficult.
So when you’re walking down the sidewalk and the storefront window tells you straight up, “WE HAVE THE BEST (insert product here) IN (whatever place you’re currently in)!!!” why do we immediately discredit it?
You should be thinking, “Oh thank goodness. I’ve been searching forever for the best coffee/pizza/ice cream/real estate agent/dentist/whatever in town but thanks to this window, I now know where to find it. The search is over!”
But it doesn’t work like that. It evokes the same reaction as your buddy telling you, “I ate 3 large pizzas by myself last night and didn’t throw up!” or a cute girl telling you, “I don’t take long to get ready, I’m not high maintenance.”
For some reason, we rely on our buddy’s roommate to vouch that he was there, cheering him on as he slammed the last slice. Or we don’t believe the makeup covered girl unless her friends claim that she gets ready in 10 minutes.
Why is that?
Self-proclamations aren’t always true and that makes us skeptical.
In Roswell, New Mexico, I spotted a hole-in -the-wall of a Mexican restaurant. Starving for anything but Ramen and chicken, I was drawn to this place because it was simple. It was a rather unexciting building that simply read, “Mexican Food.”
I loved that they weren’t trying to sell me anything. They just claimed to have food of a certain style. I trusted that. But as a naturally skeptical consumer, I turned to Yelp, a website of honest customer reviews, to check the place out. What I found is that this place had a tribe of loyal customers who went out of their way to leave positive reviews about the food, atmosphere, and service. It put my stomach at ease and reaffirmed my suspicion that this modest building was hiding something good.
Sure enough, it was fantastic: authentic food, reasonable prices, and tentative service. The waitress refilled our chips and salsa each time it got low without us asking, the food came out of the kitchen pretty quickly, and it was possibly the best chimichanga I’d ever had. And the best part was that the restaurant didn’t brag about it.
They may know their business is amazing, but they don’t flaunt it. They know that their consumers speak enough for them, and that their customers’ voices speak louder than their front window ever could.
So what can we take away from this humble little taco shack in Southwest New Mexico?
Have a badass product
Whether you have a business that’s selling goods and services or you’re trying to make a new friend, you’re selling something. Make sure it’s good. A bad product doesn’t create repeat customers and a crappy personality won’t get you a lot of friends. Is that too blunt? Too bad, it’s true.
Take care of your customers
Good products and service keep them coming back. And it makes them want to bring their friends. If you’re a good friend, it makes people want to hang out with you. This isn’t rocket science.
Let them speak for you
Nothing speaks louder than a testimonial. That’s why we turn to consumer reviews before we buy. We trust our friends over salespeople.
So don’t waste your time with hokey ads on your storefront, literal or metaphorical. Offer a badass product, retain your customers, and let them brag for you.