What Are You Signaling?

Our brains are hardwired to constantly evaluate signals from our environment. These external signals impact our moods, inclinations and decisions. In an instant, the sound of a horn, the smell of smoke or the sight of sparks alerts us to danger. For me, hearing a few notes of a favorite old song or catching the scent of a perfume that was long ago worn by my mother sets my mind to pleasant nostalgia.

It’s not surprising that your potential customers’ brains are constantly absorbing signals from both your company and your competitors and then using these signals as a basis to choose. Most company owners don’t really think about the signals their companies are sending. They don’t measure the signals or work to increase their number and meaning. You can. Here are some directions to help you get started.

Your first step is to categorize your company’s signals as either helping or hurting your company’s Trustworthiness, Quality, Expertise or Customer Satisfaction. As you do this, further divide your list of signals by where each comes from: My Business (policy, appearance, etc.), My Staff or My Web (web, email, advertising, etc.). To help, I’ve created the table below as an example of a partially filled out signal categorizing worksheet. Your list should be much longer than my sample and include both positive and negative signals.


Once you’ve listed your signals, the next step is to identify which negative signals you can get rid of and any positive signals you can add. Take a look at a handful of your competitors. How do your signals match up for the web? How about company policies or staff? Win the battle of signals and you usually win the new customer. You want prospects to believe in your company. You are professional. You care. You have deep expertise. You have proven quality performance. You know how to satisfy customers. You are good people. You can be trusted.

When you enhance your signals, everything becomes clearer for prospects. You reduce your prospects’ risk and increase the competitive differentiation that matters most for each shopper.