In marketing, proof of performance matters. Your prospects need to know you can actually do what you say you’ll do.
There are three numbers that companies think are helpful in this effort. They’re wrong.
Years in Business
Once you pass the minimum threshold for people to think you’re stable, the number of years you’ve been in business starts to lose meaning. And the bigger the number, the truer it is.
Think of it this way: do you think the public is more likely to buy from you after 75 years than they were after 50 years? Or that 30 years is better than 25?
Those milestones are certainly worth celebrating internally. But they’re mostly meaningless to the public. Worse, once the number gets too high, it’s easy for people to assume you’re old and out of touch. As fast as things change today, that’s a new business buzzkill.
You see it all the time. “Our senior team has 100 years of combined experience.” That means zero.
Is that 10 people with 10 years each? Four people with 25 years each? Or 25 people with 4 years each? It’s a distraction, a rabbit hole that makes your prospect lose focus.
Most of all, it’s a statistic pretending to be a benefit. How does that accumulated knowledge, assuming there is some, help the prospect? There’s a better way to talk about this.
Again, it’s probably a big deal to your company and your team. And maybe it should be. But no one else cares about total loan volume or total miles of cable installed or total cubic feet of cement poured or any of those other statistics.
The worst is when they try to make it dramatic. “Laid end to end, that’s enough bricks to circle the earth 12 times!” “Stacked on top of each other, they would be taller than the Empire State Building.” Please stop.
Without the industry expertise to know if those numbers are sad or spectacular, they lose meaning, like your weight during a space walk. You know it, but it doesn’t actually matter.
Instead, focus on numbers that show how well your customers are doing. How quickly you answer calls. How fast you approved those loans. Numbers that help prospects understand why you’re better.
In fact, customers should be the focus of any number you use. Make it about them, not you. Make sure they can understand it. And make sure it shows how you make their lives better.