The Language of Marketing Your Services

The Perception of Power Versus Energy:

I was having a conversation on the way to Augusta Georgia with one of my associates (competition) about "work in general". The both of us share the same perspective on weatherization of buildings and the "green energy concept" and it started us thinking about marketing and conducting our weatherization services. What makes potential clients call and what do they base their final decision on?

My associates at NACBI (National Association of Commercial Building Inspectors) frequently discuss marketing strategies when handling client inquiries about infrared thermal imaging. Not just what makes people pick up the phone and call, but why they follow up (or don't follow up) on their inquiry once a proposal has been delivered.

In the past I've used the example of the "wasted kilowatt commercial" where a bunch of guys in black leotards run around stealing things from the homeowner (which they freely give up without consideration). This is probably the most effectively designed commercial ever made! (Unfortunately I can't find a link to the commercial). For one , the commercial allows the consumer to perceive something they can't see (or understand). Wasted kilowatts!

What is a kilowatt?
Most people in the United States cannot tangibly perceive a kilowatt. 
For one it's a metric measurement!
A watt is a measurement of " power". A kilo is x 1,000.

But what are those guys in black leotards representing?
Electrical "Energy"!

So what is energy? We realize that there are many forms of energy; kinetic energy, potential energy, thermal energy, chemical energy, electrical energy, electromechanical energy, electromagnetic energy, sound energy, and the "bad boy" nuclear energy!

We must have control over the client's perception - Horsepower versus Watts:
When you are shopping for a new vehicle and you compare engine size, what measurement do you use to perceive in this comparison? 
Horsepower, or Watts?
We understand the power of a lightbulb using Watts but we compare engines by horsepower. Interestingly enough, horsepower can be easily converted to Watts (746 W per horsepower). It's a matter of perception!
If we want to effectively communicate with our client we must use the proper metric based upon their ability to perceive

A nuclear power plant and a wind turbine both represent electrical energy, but their ability to produce power are significantly different.
Many of us perceive the wind turbine as good ("green") and nuclear power plants as bad ("black"). 
We must use our clients perception of good and bad, green and black even though we are fully aware that a nuclear power plant has a greater density of power than a wind turbine field!

In the leotard commercial these guys have built a perception of what energy loss is about. They show examples of where energy loss occurs. They also show people being "robbed blind" (a woman takes off her glasses and throws it nonchalantly into the thiefs bag) depicting the nonchalant attitude we have towards wasting energy (which we should be feeling guilty of). The motivating perspective is for consumers to become aware!

We must grasp the "green movement" agenda which propels the emotional perspective of our population without becoming involved in the scams produced through the political machine. We must however, educate our clients in the real world necessities to achieve their expectation to mitigate the condition in which they find themselves. The general population does not understand or perceive energy, the same as they cannot perceive our government's "fiscal cliff". So just as they do in the commercial where they dress guys up in black leotards (black, because it represents the bad guy in western movies), we must speak in parables and utilize images in which our client base can understand and reason with.

We must be aware of what motivates clients based upon what they are exposed to (which is generally incorrect data promoted by those with an alternative agenda). James Watt used "horsepower" so the public could perceive the amount of power based upon their experience and knowledge of horses. The measurement of  "watts" was not used until long after James Watt was deceased. Today I don't think any of us can equate the power of a horse even though we still rate our transportation engines upon horsepower! 

If we do not understand our clients perception and communicate in the same language how can we expect a positive outcome? How many times has your client looked at your thermal camera image and asks what the colors represent? Even though everybody perceives and is taught that blue as a cool color and red as a warm color…?

So what do we have to do?
If we cannot address how our clients perceive our services we will never close on the projects we are proposing! 
Why do clients call us? Most of the time even they don't know! They call us because they perceive they have a problem.
Your client calls you and relates their problem and asks you a cost to figure out what that problem is. Many of us use our perception of cost per square foot. How accurate is this measurement? 
Answer: not very good.

Two things can happen. You can underprice the job and not be able to pay for Pres. Obama's golf vacation next month, or over price the job and blow the client out of the water!

Why do we blow the client out of the water?
Because they don't perceive that their problem equates to your cost for a solution.
If the client does not understand what is involved with the situation they have found themselves, they cannot properly determine if you are providing them with a good proposal. 
If you do not understand the clients expectations, you cannot put the project in perspective and charge the appropriate fees!

It is critical that we understand the project at hand. 
If you have a client with a mold problem in their building, is it enough for you to come in with your mold testing machine and measure mold?
Hell no! He already knows that he has a mold problem, who cares how much mold?

As we are well aware, mold colonization occurs from elevated moisture conditions. So where is this moisture coming from? Well a good place to start would be at the mold! But that is not the end of the analysis that the client requires. We must bring in several other disciplines to identify, locate, document and record why there is mold in the building. These disciplines may include weatherization, fluid dynamics, psychrometrics, physics, thermography, thermodynamics etc.

It is unrealistic that one building inspector is proficient in all of these disciplines and has the equipment and certifications necessary to fulfill this building analysis. It is realistic that more than one professional must be involved in the diagnostic procedure. This must be considered when you present a proposal to your client. You must also consider that it will take more than one trip and more than one test to solve the problem. Pricing the job by square foot is only a fraction of what will be required of you.


Submitted by DavidAndersen on Sun, 03/03/2013 - 13:11.
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