Do your clients see your business the same way you do? In many cases, we proceed under the assumption that our perceptions of ourselves and our firms or businesses match those of our clients and prospects. But that is not always the case.

What happens when there is a “disconnect” between our perceptions and those of the client/prospect? From a business perspective, the client/prospect view of our company IS “reality”. When business drops off, there is a shift in client demographics, or marketing/advertising efforts no longer work, it may be time to see if there is a gap between who we perceive ourselves to be and “reality”.

Identifying gaps begins with research. Here are just a few of the things you can review to see if there might be an issue:

  • Ask. It sounds simple, but it is not always easy to do this. Many people are reluctant to ask others for what may be an uncomfortable truth. And the clients or former clients may not want to be honest for fear of hurting feelings or burning bridges. A third party source doing the asking helps.
  • Get input from your employees – including lower level folks. This must be done by a third-party to ensure confidentiality and promote honest answers. You might also ask your vendors what they hear from others about your firm.
  • Analyze. Pull out all the statistical information you have on your business over the past two to five years and look at what the data is telling you. Make sure you factor in trends and external changes.
  • Look at your primary competition. Note that this may not be the same group of businesses who were your competitors two years ago.

We can help you find out where you have gaps between your customer’s experience and what you believe you are delivering. vitalink offers competitive and market research, conducts confidential surveys, analyzes your current business focus and presents a strategic marketing plan to move your business forward – making sure that you are on-target and your message is on-point. Contact us to learn more.

The Expert Speakers has added this topic to the roster as well. Perception vs. Reality: Close the Gaps to do More Business addresses the challenges businesses have when their own perceptions do not match those of the client or prospect.

Author: Jeanne Frazer heads up The Expert Speakers, a group that provides marketing, management and motivational speakers, writers, coaches and mentors with expertise in all facets of marketing and management across numerous industries for events, seminars and workshops. Frazer is also president of vitalink® a creative + strategic marketing think tank, and strategic partner for Lawyers Marketing Agency and Catalyst Group, Inc.  Jeanne may be reached at [email protected] or 919.850.0605.