September 10, 2007

How Does Anyone Know You're Any Good?

Question: Is this watch made in Switzerland?
Sales Clerk: It's made for Switzerland.
You're selling the invisible: financial services. How does a potential client know you're any good? Let's assume there's been no referral.

In Edmonton, my watch battery was running low. I got my watch in Switzerland years ago and the batteries only last 3-4 years. Last time, I went to a small "mom & pop" watch shop. The technician scratched the back titanium casing. So I didn't want to go just anywhere.

I went to West Edmonton Mall, which was nearby and looked for a countrywide chain in case the battery proved defective. Sears doesn't replace watch batteries. The Bay did, but my watch would need to be shipped to Vancouver so that special nonscratching tools could be used. Birks was next. They did not want to risk damage either and recommended a small watch shop nearby. There the technician changed the battery in 3 minutes without comment or damage. They were the best:
  • experienced
  • least damage (i.e., none)
  • fastest service
  • lowest price ($8.44 vs $11 in Toronto at the scratches-are-free jewelers)
If I didn't know that replacing the watch battery required skill and special tools, the Edmonton watch shop would have rated poorly because of three shortcomings:
  • date/time not reset
  • back casing not aligned "just right" before being locked into place
  • no warranty on the battery life (maybe the lower price arose from a poorer battery?)
The Connection With Financial Services
Since financial services are intangible, how can your clients gauge
  • your expertise
  • the quality of your service
  • the suitability of your recommendations
You could deliver the ideal solution without your clients discovering how good you are.

1 comment:

  1. I did not know that you have a titanium back casing watch from Switzerland. That sounds very classy.

    Then again I also note that Switzerland is also very well known for making mechanical watches that do not require batteries. You may want to get one to get rid of your bad battery experience.

    Then again, you would probably not tolerate their "relative" inaccuracy. Mechanical watches including very expensive brands (eg. Rolex, Patek Philips etc.) consider their stuff within factory accuracy even if they miss +/- 5 seconds in a day.