Notice the wording of this question and how it might be different from “What Is Going on with Your Brand?” The two are related but more on that later.
Have you read the latest Consumer Reports? What about your customers, have they? The May 24, 2013 issue had an article entitled “Comfort Creating Air Conditioners” where they gave consumers buying tips along with the results of the latest reliability survey. Brands rated included American Standard, Bryant, Rheem, Trane, Carrier, Lennox, Goodman, Ruud, York and Amana. There reliability study was based on data from responses from over 40,000 readers who brought central air conditioners or heat pumps from 2005 through mid-2011. The tagline underneath the headline “Central Air-Conditioning Reliability” was the tagline, “Our latest survey found three brands that you should think twice about.” How will you react if you go into a consumer’s home and they start asking you questions based on the fact that you represent one of these three brands?
Broadly speaking, it might be one of two reactions. The first would be to downplay or even denigrate the article, which would be a big mistake for two reasons. The first is that there probably is something to the results of a 40,000 person strong survey conducted by someone as reputable as Consumer Reports. The second and more important one is that by running down the article you are running down your consumer. There is a better way.
Even if you haven’t read the report, acknowledge your customers legitimacy by thanking them for the information and letting them know that you have not yet seen the article. If you have read it let them know and ask them what they thought of it. This way you get an opportunity to see their perspective before delivering on yours.
After your discussion about the product, you have a great opportunity to remind them that the most important brand of all is the contractor they choose for installation and service. “After all,” you can remind them, “even the best product poorly installed will not perform up to its capabilities or expectations.” At that point you are perfectly positioned to lead the discussion about solutions to their specific needs.