The Surefire Way to Outsell Your Competition

Published on June 25, 2019

When I wrote the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Great Customer Service, we interviewed people at companies with exemplary customer service. As a part of the process, I spoke with Hertz’s vice president of reservations in Oklahoma City, and he shared a story with me that I have not forgotten.

Hertz did a survey of top renters and discovered that their numberone complaint was how long it took to return the car at the depot and then get to the gate. To address the issue, Hertz increased the number of bus runs from the depot to the gate. Six months later they redid the survey,but the number-one complaint remained the same. Eventually they realized what customers really wanted to speed up was not the bus service but how long it took to wait in line at the depot to get their receipt.

That’s when you saw Hertz provide agents at the depot with computer terminals right there as you drove up, which sped the delivery of receipts. Instead of waiting on line when you returned the car, you would get the receipt when you handed them the keys. Today they go one step further and email you the receipt. 

When I wrote that Idiot’s Guide in 1997, Hertz was a big brand, and they were able to get it right in six months. But today, nobody—Including toprated brands like Hertzhas six months to get it right. Everything moves faster, and we have to adapt quickly to survive and thrive.

The surefire way to outsell your competition is simple: qualify beyond what your competition is doing to uncoverthe real issues and problems your customers are trying to solve. If you don’t dig deep, you will come up with inadequate solutions like Hertz originally did, and fall short of your customers expectations. In doing so, you will provide an opening for the competition to take your business.

My message this week is simple: Are you qualifying your customers sufficiently to come up with a solution that will differentiate you from the competition? To learn more about how to qualify your customers effectively, click here.