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Savvy Selling – Categorically Speaking By Kim Jones


Who was the third person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean?

Most of us can name the first person, Charles Lindbergh. Very few of us can name the second, Bert Hinkler. Most of us have no idea who was third. Or do we?

The third person to fly solo over the Atlantic Ocean was Amelia Earhart. But is she known as the third person to fly over the Atlantic Ocean solo? Or is she better known as the first woman to do so?

When we make buying decisions we go through pretty much the same process we just used to identify Lindbergh and Earhart. We create categories in our minds to help us manage and process information in an orderly fashion. We don’t have a choice.

We’re faced with such an overwhelming array of choices everyday that without these mental categories we’d be stumped trying to make even the simplest buying decision. We would stand in the cereal aisle of the grocery store for hours trying to decide which of the 72 cereals we should buy. We would be completely overwhelmed.

For example, someplace in our minds we have created a category called “breakfast cereal”. Within that category we have several subcategories called “healthy cereals”, sugary kid’s cereals, “bran cereals”, etc. When we are standing there, looking up and down the length of the aisle, we are able to mentally reference our mental cereal category and make a logical buying decision.

If I have children, the “sugary kid’s cereal” subcategory will come up on my radar as I make my decision. If I’m trying to drop that last 15 pounds, bran cereals might be a better category to reference.

The good news is that as a business owner it can be relatively easy to create a new category. You don’t need to invent an entirely new product or service. A new category can be created by simply adding a new twist or developing a subcategory that makes sense to the customer.

Think back to our Lindbergh and Earhart example. If Amelia had been just another male pilot she would not have had anywhere near the fame and recognition. But by establishing a new category, “first woman to fly solo” she cemented her place in the history books.

Take a look at your business. Can you easily define your business category? Where do you think you rank in the customers mind? What about your competitors? You should be confident in your answers to these questions.

Being the first person to fly solo across the ocean took a lot of guts and determination. Establishing a clear category for your business only demands a clear vision and the willingness to do your homework.
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For over 15 years Kim Jones has been helping businesses grow through incomparable marketing and savvy selling. Questions or comments can be e-mailed to Kim Jones.

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