Sharing Success

Being “Real” Pays Off!

Thoughts from Dino Cortopassi (April ‘95)


A well tended field, a well made shirt, a well written article, a well built car, a well prepared meal, whatever the work, I enjoy seeing it done well! A commitment to excellence, attention to detail, and caring about the outcome, these are the personal attributes I enjoy seeing in others. Similarly, I look upon my own work as an extension of my character,

a tangible REAL outcome, a personal signature that validates

my competence.

What about you? Are you committed to excellence? … to caring about the outcome? … to providing your patrons with the very best you can do? As Independent businesspeople, our products/services provide us the canvas to display our individual competence. As entrepreneurs, we have the latitude of making a personal commitment to excellence and that is what differentiates us from the corporate types. Real product/service is how we attract the attention and respect of the kind of customers we want! (Remember the old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together!”)

Said another way, if the product/service offered is truly Real, the business attracts loyal customers who value Realness and are willing to pay for it. If, on the other hand, the offered product/service is mediocre, it must be heavily promoted and attracts fickle customers unable to see the difference between true Realness and a thin veneer thereof. In both instances, the business ends up attracting the customers it deserves!

To test that premise, sequentially answer the following questions:

From memory, try to recall two or three personal experiences with competent (Real) products/services you’ve purchased in the past.

Now try to recall what it was about each of these products/services that made them memorable to you. Now try to recall the price you paid

for them!

If you do remember Real products/services and what made them exceptional but don’t remember the price, by definition you value quality and service so Real that its memory lingers long after the price is forgotten! So if that’s how you feel, isn’t it likely that customers might feel the same way?!

Because genuine Realness in our product/service does in fact attract knowledgeable customers, it also attracts veneer-type competitors unwilling to pay the price of Realness and who therefore try to make themselves look like us with “veneer” (e.g., new ad campaigns built on copycat themes, copycat names, copycat colors, layered over their same old product mediocrity and promoted by their same old discounting).

Are those kinds of copycat strategies a con job? Of course! If our success is built on Realness, could that kind of copycat veneer confuse some of our customers? Yes, but don’t worry about it because customers who value Realness may be fooled by veneer once or twice, but they will catch on and come back! That’s why, despite their copycat imitations, competitors relying on veneer end up with the kind of fickle customers they deserve!

In my personal experience, achieving success does take a deep and abiding commitment, but it isn’t that complicated:

1. If you have the confidence to do whatever it takes, regardless of

cost, to provide demonstrable, dependable, genuine Realness in

your offerings …

2. If you have the confidence that knowledgeable customers will indeed recognize the Realness of your offerings and will reward you with

their loyalty …

3. If you have the confidence that, despite its glossiness, copycat veneer will not attract the kind of customers you deserve and want …

… then not only will you succeed financially, you will enjoy an added bonus each time a satisfied customer says, “Well done! I appreciate (your product) (your service) (your work)!” In my experience, that’s the Real payoff to being Real!