Why do people keep buying stupid old brands instead of mine?

Dear Aunty B,

I have a fantastic new online site that leaves old-world, namby-pamby, up-themselves competitors for dead. When I go and present it to media agencies, they sound excited, but then they go and book with the same old, same old, who actually are ridiculously high priced and barely offer exciting services. How do I get them to see the value of what I am offering and take a risk and shift?

Fed up,



Dear Fed Up,

Two points. Customers are risk adverse by nature. Just think about it. Why search out a new brand, make the change, spend the money and then find out that, in fact it’s not what you want?

So don’t fall into the trap that a lot of entrepreneurs do: the ‘build it and they will come’ trap. Instead, make the assumption that they will be very reluctant to change.

Part of your marketing and sales plan has to be to make them change.

There are a number of ways to do this.

Firstly, you make it as easy as possible for them to switch. Don’t charge them a lot of money to switch over. Don’t make it technologically hard for them to switch. And let them try out everything you can before they switch. A free trial is even better. Anticipate the questions they will ask and have answers ready. Use your website to make sure that every question asked is clearly answered and takes them through to the next step, including the ability to actually close the deal online.

Secondly, you have to build your credibility. This takes time. Find large customers who will act as referees. Build case studies and get referrals from high profile people or bodies you know they will respect. Is there a customer who is happy to discuss their experience with the potential customer? Write blogs or white papers and get them on sites you know your potential customers will read. If they are in a conservative industry and one of a dying breed that still reads newsprint, make sure you have some presence in newspapers.

If you have money to splash around you may consider using celebrity endorsement to give credibility.

Lastly, hop off your high horse. I know you are passionate about your product and that’s great. But few people are going to be knocked over by a lightening bolt and realise the “value” of what you are offering. You have to get it under their nose, and then show them why they should switch. It is one of the three most crucial parts of any business plan.

Good luck,
Your Aunty B



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