On a sheet of paper write down all your competitors that do what you do or sell what you sell. And now rank the list objectively according to market share or perceived customer value.
I am here to tell you that if you’re not in the Top Three, you don’t even exist in the minds of your potential customers. Here’s why. Who was the first president of the United States? Of course, George Washington. Who was Number Four? Who was the first person on the moon? Neil Armstrong. But who was Number Four?
Why do we have so much difficulty in remembering who is Number Four? It’s because most of us can only remember easily up to three things. In the very beginning, there were only three TV channels using only three letters: ABC, NBC, and CBS. We remember our favorite sports leagues as the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. How many wishes do you get from a genie? When you were in school, what did they teach you if you were ever to catch on fire? Stop, Drop, and Roll. If good things come in threes, what does that make Number Four?
Almost all of us will agree that the greatest form of advertising is word of mouth. So ask yourself, of all your competitors and you, where do you rank? Because if you’re not in the Top Three, when someone asks someone else about where to buy your product or service, you don’t even get mentioned. To the customer, you don’t even exist.
By the way, the answers to who is Number Four are James Madison and Alan Bean.