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Working in the Experience Economy

Gears-Turning-300x253Competence is the price of admission. It is not a selling point. Even supreme skill at one’s craft is generally only noticed post engagement in a “I’m sure glad I hired her” sort of way. But that’s not what turns the wheels of commerce.

What turns the wheels of commerce are two things:  the lie and the feel.

When Seth Godin wrote that All Marketers are Liars, he was describing the stories we tell ourselves when we see something we want to buy. The person who signs up for karate lessons tells herself a story about becoming a black belt. When you buy a new cooking or grilling tool, you convince yourself that you’re going to make the things pictured on the box – no matter how complicated and perfect they are in real life.

Hell, I once convinced myself I could build a deck.

That’s the lie. What I mean by “feel” is also stated as experience. Each day, each episode in one’s life, is comprised of countless experiences. Think of the roller coaster you went on over the summer. The line was an experience. The approach of the cars, the sound of people screaming, the hands up visual of those already on the track. Each of those single moments is an experience.

When someone calls your office, they have an experience – for good or for ill. The same goes for waiting for their appointment, having their meetings, receiving follow-ups, and reviewing the final product.

What people remember at the end of the day is the experience associated with your company. What they tell themselves when making the decision to hire you is a story based on their very first experience meeting you or perhaps attending one of your seminars. What they tell others about you is derived directly from the experience they had while with you.

We live in an experience economy. And the fact is that too few companies understand what that means. For me, it means that I’m not selling legal services. I’m selling the experience of sleeping better because your interests are protected and there’s someone you can call no matter what.