Perception is reality. It’s as true in love as it is in media, politics, and business.
And the ONLY perception that counts in sales is the one in your buyer’s head. So what is the best way to determine how he or she perceives you?
Before I answer that let me provide some background.
My wife and I just celebrated 20 years together. While most people who know us say “she is a saint” or “you got lucky” (I agree with both statements BTW), the truth is that I received a few pointers which helped make things work.
In my quest for marital bliss, I searched far and wide for a mentor. I have always valued them in business and in athletics, so I figured I would find someone I admired who had successfully navigated through the pitfalls of relationships – so I could learn from their approach.
It was surprisingly difficult to find men who had it ALL together – husband, father, professionally, spiritually, and athletically/health-minded. Even though I really dislike the word “balance” as it tends to be overused and impossible to actually achieve (I prefer the term “integrated”), it was hard to find a mentor who was balanced and firing on all cylinders.
But I found one. Bruce Nichols is an Annapolis grad. Married. Healthy. Athlete. Successful. Professional. Stud. He is also a father of two boys – one of whom worked for me – so I was able to see firsthand the effects of good parenting.
Bruce gave me some great advice over the years regarding relationships. I am going to share a couple of them with you.
First was to ALWAYS take a phone call from your family. Even if in a board meeting.
Second, and most germane to this post, he told me to establish a date night every week where my wife and I could get away from the kids and from the “business” part of marriage to share some good wine, be romantic — and rate each other on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 being close to divorce, 10 being Buddha. That is the quantitative. And the qualitative was a narrative behind the rating – the “why.”
Funny enough, this became a crucial mechanism for keeping things straight in our marriage.
Just as airplanes are always slightly off course due to the changing environment and conditions, relationship is always drifting slightly off course. You cannot just “set it and forget it” and leave things on autopilot. Keeping things aligned requires a constant communication feedback loop so you can correct your course when things get wonky.
So, while I sometimes hated the feedback I got a couple of times, because I thought my wife was totally not “getting” me, I came to realize that actual truth or my opinion about it is really not what mattered – it was her PERCEPTION of what was true which counted and established her level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
So the secret to my successful marriage, which has carried over into my sales and business sphere, is to constantly gauge the perception other people have of you – to “get in their heads” – and adjust yourself to form a better reality in their mind.
This is why I am a HUGE proponent of the Net Promoter Survey. It is a core component of our approach at Volohaus. It is such a simple tool but so important.
NPS is a third party, confidential, and statistically significant process that helps you understand what your buyer wants. It informs messaging (why your buyers came to you, why they stayed or why they left). It produces referrals (your Promoters will introduce you to new buyers). And if legitimately earned, there is also a quality award that differentiates your business.
Here is a video I recorded to explain a little more:
By using NPS, it doesn’t matter what your team thinks, or even what the “truth” is. It uncovers how your buyers understand and perceive you. If you know that, you can adjust where needed.
Perception is reality. Make sure you control it by getting into your buyer’s head using the NPS.
If you would like to chat about NPS, see an example of the output report, or just discuss how NPS could benefit you and your biz – call me at (760) 815-4464.
[photo courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net user zirconicusso]