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Everyone focuses on features. Think about trust

Ramit Sethi · December 21st, 2015

It’s always interesting to watch two fierce competitors in business. In the raw arena of 1-1 competition, there’s no room for fluff. It’s often a life-or-death competition to exist.

When it’s one company against the other, watch the differences in what companies highlight (AKA positioning). It tells you a lot.

For example, iPhone (highlights style) vs. Android (customization).

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Coke vs. Pepsi. (What do you think each company highlights?)

Or one of my favorites, two blenders.

On one side you got Blendtec. They’re famous for their hilarious “Will it blend?” videos. They shove everything from iPads to glowsticks into their blenders to demonstrate their raw power.

Their opponent is Vitamix. How do you know if someone has a Vitamix? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.

These are blenders. To the average person, there’s no meaningful difference between the two. If you look at cost, power, and performance, it’s pretty much a toss up.

But look at some these Amazon reviews, and it’s clear there’s a deep line drawn in the sand:

“I have owned a Vitamix for over 2 years. My daughter has owned a Blendtec for the same period of time. We call this “Blender wars”, as we both love our blenders. Because there are major differences we see between the two.

“I purchased (and then promptly returned) the Blendtec. I returned it within a week. I put it through the same paces as above with the Vita-mix. It failed the same tests…Blendtec was not an acceptable alternative to the Vita-mix.”

“Way more horsepower than the Vitamix. The Blendtec motor is so strong it does not need sharp blades like what the Vitamix has.”

How would you decide which one to buy?

If you ask anybody that owns one, they’ll say they bought their blender based on wattage, size, power, etc.

But at the rarefied levels of $300 blenders or $2,000 sheets, people are rarely making decisions on specs, speed, or thread count.

If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find the real reason for their purchase. A friend, a colleague, or someone they trust recommended it to them. Or, more commonly, they saw someone they admire using it or wearing it — George Clooney wearing sunglasses, for example — and suddenly, it was something they wanted to be a part of.

Fascinating.

All it takes is a little nudge from a trusted source and people are willing to cough up $300+ FOR A BLENDER. (And then defend their purchase on random internet websites.)

To non-blending fanatics, this seems nuts. I use a $25 version I got from a friend. But I bet you’ve experienced something very similar.

This doesn’t happen at commodity levels. If you’re buying a $1 bag of nails, you’ll choose the cheaper one — it’s a commodity, so who cares what George Clooney uses. But think about the way you buy more expensive goods.

More expensive goods — a bed, a car, college — is less about features/specs, and more about trust. The higher you move up the value chain, the more trust matters.

Try to think about the methods that companies use to earn your trust. For example, we do this at IWT: One of the hallmarks of my business is building students for life. That means things like giving away 98% of our material free. (You can find 300+ videos on entrepreneurship, careers, personal finance and more on my YouTube page.) We also turn down millions of dollars every year by not accepting anyone with credit card debt into our programs.

Now think about how you can use the idea of trust in your life. Here’s a hint: Most people approach these decisions and focus on features and specs, instead of trust.

AVERAGE PERSON WHO WANTS A RAISE: “I know! I’ll send my boss a list of facts and figures accomplished this year. That’ll show him I deserve a raise.”

SMART PERSON WHO WANTS A RAISE: “I know I need to send over a list of facts/figures on why I deserve it. But my raise is also based on the tiny decisions I make over the course of a year that lets my boss trust me — responding quickly, taking things off his plate, and thinking 2 steps ahead.”

The bottom line: The more you move up the value chain, the more trust matters. While others are focused on tactical minutiae like features, you can use trust to build relationships, help your friends, and live a Rich Life.

Thank you, and happy holidays.

If you want to learn even more about trust, I invited Charles Green — trust expert and author of Trust-based Selling and The Trusted Advisor — into our studio to talk about exactly how trust works.

 

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