True story: Mr. Perfect and I are moving in together in 3 weeks.

Sure. It’s just across town. But the headaches are still the same: find just the right place; do gobs of paperwork; make tons of phone calls to various utilities; simultaneously pack-sell-or-trash existing belongings; and last but not least, hire the right movers.

You’ve been there. You know this is all a lot less fun than a front pocket full of peanut butter at the dog park. So you know my pain.

Kevin-BaconThis week, I focused on hiring the movers.

Boy, if any industry is ripe for a branding makeover, it’s this one.

The last movers we used locally were horrible, and the ones Mr. Perfect used before that had gone out of business. So it was time to start the search over.

Thanks to a helpful little site that I can’t remember the name of, I was able to share the details of my move once — and get back half dozen estimates from local movers.

It goes like this: you fill out a form, click submit and then you get barraged by phone calls for the next 4.5 hours.

Followed up by emails. Who then follow up again by phone until you tell them you’ve found The One.

The thing that totally blew me away? Every single phone call? Every pitch?

Totally. The. Same.

I literally could not tell the difference between any of them. Same minimums. Same rates. Same guarantees. Same cash discounts. Samey-same-same.

And when I opened up those emails? The sameyness continued unabated. Logos in various shades of blue, gray and black. Logos that looked like they’d been put together by the receptionist with some free clipart.

How the heck is a girl supposed to make the right choice when presented with nothing but clones and carbon copies?

I couldn’t figure it out, so I put off the decision for a few days and went on my merry way. In the meantime, I hear about an impending bacon shortage. Thankfully, even though I LOVES me some bacon, I didn’t panic on this one. I did some research first. (One thing I’ve learned is that just because you hear something from a “trusted news source,” doesn’t always make it true.) The good news: No bacon shortage. At least not here in the U.S.But my research got me thinking about this thing we love that is also a commodity. Something traded on a futures exchange. (Pork belly futures are up! Better get ’em while you can!)

When you buy your bacon at the supermarket, do you look for a particular brand? Or do you just look for the best deal?

Is your bacon Canadian? Applewood smoked? Streaky? Pancetta? Irish? Or maybe you go for the turkey bacon instead? Me? I’m not loyal to any particular brand or form of bacon. I love it all.


Which piece tastes better?

When I buy bacon, what I end up bringing home depends a lot more on my mood and what I’ve got planned later in the week. It also depends on what the best value is at the time. I look for thicker slices, with at least a 50/50 ratio of meat to fat. The color needs to look good. But the price also has to be right. And since prices and availability are never consistent, I have to just go with the best option available at that moment. This is pretty typical of most of us. Now a question: Do you want clients who buy your thing only because it’s the best option available at the moment? Do you want to be a commodity? Where value and brand loyalty have no meaning? Do you want to be a “rent-seeker“? Of course, not!

Be the one people look for because there is no other option

When I finally got back to making a decision about the movers, it was due diligence time. Yep – check the reviews online. This one had 4 stars. That one 2.5 stars. Another one, 3 stars. And so on. I made little notes about how many reviews each one had (because clearly, if you have an average of 2.5 stars with hundreds of reviews that’s more meaningful than if you only had 10). I looked at all of the ones posted in 2012 (because management changes, sometimes for the better). Not too much to differentiate them, but I was getting closer. Then I checked the Better Business Bureau site. Aha! One unlucky candidate had an F-rating. (Why? Because they never responded to any of the complaints.) I now had two distinct candidates left to choose from. Both had A+ ratings at BBB and at least a 4-star average on Yelp. So I went back to the email estimates and poured over them with a fine tooth comb. They were nearly identical. The one I ended up going with? They had a link to a video that said “click to see us in action.” And while the video certainly wasn’t Oscar material, it did give me the feeling that they’d put an ounce more effort into the marketing. Plus, they threw in five free rolls of tape, an extra five free wardrobe boxes and an additional 5% discount (total of 10%) if I decided to pay cash. (I’ll let you know in a few weeks if I made the right decision.)

Sometimes, folks — this is how a buying decision is made. On the minutiae.

flying pig

Be that one-of-a-kind “bacon” with something special!

If you want to be The One that people choose to do business with, you’re going to have to work hard to show ’em why…UNLESS you have something they can’t find anywhere else. What makes you different from all the other coaches or virtual assistants? Could I take your website and put a new logo on it and be able to tell what had changed? Are you providing a value I can’t get anywhere else? When you nail these things, you will most certainly bring home more bacon. The challenge then, is to discover/create a Secret Sauce you can call your own. And if you’re not sure how to do that, find someone who can help you (shameless plug). The health of your business depends on it! Now it’s your turn: what kind of things do you consider when making a buying decision? Have you figured out what makes you different from your competitors yet? I’m all ears. Leave me a comment and let’s chat.