If you’ve ever been on a date, interviewed for a job, or purchased anything, then you were involved in the process of perception. Every day millions of choices are made as a result of perception on the part of the person making the decision; men and women deciding who to go on a date with, employers hiring a new employee, or customers choosing which company to make their next purchase from.
This is a valid question as there are very few perception specialists out there. In order to better grasp the role of a perception specialist we need to understand how perception influences our judgment.
The combination of our senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch in conjunction with experiences we’ve had in the past create our perception of the world around us. Comments and opinions from other people can also influence our perception. For example, when several of our friends rave about the last meal they had at a particular restaurant, we tend to like the food there as well. A lifetime of eating oranges has taught us that they should taste sweet, however, if you place an onion directly beneath your nose while biting into an orange you may develop an alternative interpretation of the flavor. The overpowering smell of the onion will influence your perceived taste of the orange.
Sometimes our perceptions are influenced by outside factors that are out of our control. For example, did you know there are some shades of purple that are unable to be reproduced accurately from television transmissions and will appear to be blue on your TV? Limitations in the technology of television broadcasting will inadvertently influence your perception as to the actual color of the objects that were supposed to be purple.
Then there are times when our mind plays tricks on us while attempting to process information, as demonstrated in the following pictures.
is one of them larger than the other?
As you can see, things are not always as they appear.
The way you dress or style your hair creates a perception of you in the minds of everyone who sees you. The next time you find yourself walking down the street or through a shopping mall, take a moment to notice the people around you. How are they dressed? What opinions form in your mind based on the appearance of everyone you happen to look at?
When it comes to making purchasing decisions, we are influenced by our perceptions nearly all of the time. For example, most shoppers have the perception that Wal-Mart has the lowest price on every product they sell. That perception is a result of the message used in their advertising and the opinions expressed by their customers.
Marketing is a tool for creating perception. Businesses use marketing to convey their image to their customers. Whether for a first date or a job interview, the way you dress is a form of marketing that will convey a perception to the other person about what kind of person you are.
By now it should be clear how perception affects individuals as well as businesses. Understanding how it works and how to put it to use can help you be more successful in your personal life and in your career.
One of the most common dilemmas pondered by small business owners and entrepreneurs is “what is the secret to having a successful business?” The answer is not really a secret, just a frequently overlooked truth. Regardless of the type of business, internet-based, direct marketing, or traditional brick and mortar businesses, all can benefit from effective marketing and advertising strategies. Many firms have struggled as a result of poorly structured or misplaced ads.
Many entrepreneurs start their businesses with only the knowledge of how to produce the product they sell or how to perform the service they offer. Less than 20% of first-time business owners really understand the sales process or know how to effectively market their product and few take the time to thoroughly research the market prior to launching their business. It’s no wonder so many small businesses fail within the first few years of their inception.
Most small business owners could increase the income in their business by 25-50% just by learning some basic sales techniques. They could conceivably double their business by implementing better marketing strategies. Unfortunately, few of them realize how much the lack of advertising actually hurts their business. There’s a common misconception that advertising is expensive, but it’s not always true. In fact there are over 100 ways to market a business that don’t even cost a dime.
There’s also a misconception that advertising doesn’t work. If this were true, we’d never see another ad for the rest of our lives, but it doesn’t appear that advertising will be going away any time soon. Every year, hundreds, if not thousands of ads fail to attract new customers or generate new business due to the fact that they contain messages that don’t appear to have a purpose or fail to motivate the audience to make a purchase. Some of the ads fail as a result of targeting the wrong audience.
The success of any type of marketing is determined by the message perceived by the intended audience. The sales process is also based on perception. When a customer perceives the product or service to be a good value, a sale is usually made. A buying decision may also involve how the customer feels about the company providing the product or service; is the business reputable, competitive, etc.
One example of how perception can affect a business is the message that WalMart has been sending to their customer through advertising. They have successfully conveyed the perception that they have the lowest prices. Now, virtually everyone believes that WalMart will have the lowest price on every product they sell. Even if it wasn’t true for every product, consumers still perceive it to be true. If you want to effectively market and sell to customers, you need to understand how they think and what motivates them to make a purchase. Understanding perception will be a major key to your success.
When a customer goes out looking to buy a product and encounters two (or more) businesses selling the same product, they will tend to compare both businesses to see how they match up on price, availability, service, etc. in order to choose which company they will purchase from; this is often referred to as “comparing apples to apples”. Gone are the days of unconditional customer loyalty when customers would repeatedly patronize a business regardless of the price of the item they want to buy. It’s not uncommon that while comparing apples to apples, customers are likely to buy their “apples” from the company offering the lowest price. There’s an old saying that “when all things are equal, the customer will choose the lowest price”. I’ve modified this statement to say that “when all things are perceived to be equal, the customer will choose the lowest price”. After all, perception is reality.
When your company doesn’t happen to offer the lowest price on “apples” then you may want to start selling “oranges”; if you want to avoid having to compete on price. Sometimes that’s just not a realistic option. In this case, you’ll need to alter the perception in your customer’s mind by showing them the value of the service your company offers that supports the higher price or fee; thus creating an “orange”.
Business owners have the ability to change the customer’s perception of their company through their marketing efforts, but unfortunately, most do not know how. This is where a “perception specialist” can be of the most value. A perception specialist understands how people think, feel and react to the messages they receive.
As Perception Specialists, our job is to help you provide your prospective customers with the best perception of your company and enable them to recognize the value of doing business with your firm. Our goal is NOT to mislead the customer, but make sure they fully understand what makes your company better than your competitors. A customer’s perception may be influenced at any point in the transaction process with your company. We can help you examine each phase, marketing, sales, delivery, or follow-up, to ensure your business is exhibiting a consistent message to your customers.
To learn more about what we can do for your business, give us a call to schedule your FREE, no-obligation consultation. During the consultation, we’ll discuss how your company is currently communicating with your customers and prospects and we’ll go over your plans for your firm’s future to determine if we are able to help you fulfill the goals of your business. At this time, we’ll also answer any questions you may have. There’s absolutely nothing to lose.