Perception vs. Reality

Posted on: November 1st, 2017

Each individual has his or her own perception of reality. The implication is that because each of us perceives the world through our own eyes, reality itself changes from person to person. While it’s true that everyone perceives reality differently, reality could care less about our perceptions.  Reality does not change to adapt to our viewpoints; reality is what it is:

Reality is fact.

Reality is truth.

Reality, however, is not always a known, which is where perception of reality comes in.  While reality is a fixed factor in the equation of life, perception of reality is a variable.

When it comes to your company’s costs, perception is reality. About 72% of people say that the reputation of a company or product can impact their decision to buy or not to buy. Before buying, about 61% of consumers conduct some research online and 43% of those read online reviews and opinions.  4 out 5 consumers will reverse their decision based on reviews they read online.

How clients view you is everything, and consistency is key! Brand management is something you need to take seriously from day one and throughout the life of your event, venue or service.

All initiatives, events and marketing campaigns should align with your overall mission and vision. Everything from your website, to social media, to event setup should reflect what you’re about.

You’ve probably heard it said that a happy customer only influences a handful of others, while an unhappy customer will influence dozens about a negative experience they had with your event, venue or service. One of the best things you can do for brand management is to offer excellent and fast customer service. If a customer has a problem, apologize and fix it as quickly as possible.

When working through an RFP or RFI process, you must provide exactly what the end client is asking for in their RFX.  Any missed or disorganized information will give your potential client (or in some cases, current client) the perception that you are not really interested in their business or that you do not provide the quality product or service they are looking for in a vendor/partner relationship.  It’s ok to provide additional details or options to their request but don’t ever leave the RFX to guess work.

When it comes to pricing think about the automotive industry.  We expect an S Class Mercedes to cost more than a Ford Pinto.  Why, because the perception and reputation of the two different cars is the buyer’s reality. Buyers will announce to the world, easier than ever before through social media, that they are thrilled or disappointed with their purchase regardless of the cost or the product or service.  Now, irrespective of whether you target an audience that historically spends more or less for a particular product or service, you must ensure that your product, services and customer service is top notch based on their expectation. When issues arise, your response must be laser-focused and responsive to confirm with the client that your costs are worth every penny.  If you have the luxury to offer multiple levels of products or services, you most uncover exactly what the client is trying to accomplish and ultimately who their audience will be.  This should confirm that your offerings are accurately matched to their needs.

Despite the big overlap between our perspective client’s perceptions and reality, there is indeed a gap between them.  We just have to look carefully to see it instead of jumping to conclusions based on some (but not all) available evidence.

So, how exactly do you untangle perception from reality?

  1. First, uncover any issues or problems that your client has had and would like to avoid in the future.  Really get to the heart of what’s bothering them and what they would like to shift or change.
  2. Next, consider how they might be perpetuating the problem or issue (i.e. buying habits).  Brainstorm as many of these types of contributing factors as you can, however small or insignificant they might seem.  Pay particular attention to key words or phrases.
  3. When you have exhausted all areas of their past experiences, ask if there are any other stakeholders that may be involved in making a decision and uncover their past issues or problems as well.
  4. Then, evaluate their responses with your team and underline any uncovered issues that appear more than once. 
  5. Find as many ways to support their key needs and avoid past issues and illustrate in a cohesive presentation that the client will understand.
  6. Once you and your team feel like you’ve got it and have the right solutions to perfectly match their needs, present your offerings with supporting testimonials, case studies, and references.

 

Article written by Mark Steinmetz, National Account Manager for IMS Technology Services