The other day, I was conducting a coaching session when a rather simple and often used phrase came up.  The phrase immediately made me wince.  I’ll bet you’ve heard it before.  It went like this:


“I told my client that, among these products on the market, this is the Cadillac.”


Sounds simple enough, but let me tell you why it made me wince.  No offense to Cadillac, but I’m not so sure people really want the Cadillac of anything anymore, particularly in this current economy.  What do you think of when you hear the name, “Cadillac?”  Fuel efficiency?  Low cost per mile?  Personally, I think of overindulgence, unnecessary extravagance, and impressing the neighbors.


In fairness to other car companies, we could also use the names, “Mercedes, Lincoln, and Lexus,” to name a few.  They are all impressive vehicles, and if you own one, great for you, but I wouldn’t be caught ever comparing these cars to my product.  When I sold for Xerox, my client would sometimes make the comparison for me, and I would immediately correct them.


“You sell for Xerox?  Isn’t that the Cadillac of copiers?”

“Oh no, sir, not at all.  If I were to compare a Xerox copier to a car, I’d compare it to a Volvo.  It’s not necessarily the most attractive copier on the market, nor is it cluttered with a bunch of bells and whistles you’ll rarely ever use.  My copier is built like a Volvo.  It’s dependable, safe, and won’t let you down when you need it.”


I never once had a client respond by saying, “Darn, I really wanted the Cadillac!”  This is not to say that there aren’t some who want the Cadillac because they want to impress their friends or clients.  What I am saying is that phrases like that, particularly in a down economy, are likely to do more harm than good.


I hope you liked today’s small reminder from the Volvo of communications… The BLArticle™!


Facebook Comments


Google+ Comments