Recently I was reminded about the importance of validation points. In particular, I was reminded how important it is to actually have the validation points that matter to your customers.
Every product and business has a validation point for the customer. And that validation point rarely has anything to do with the quality of the product being offered. Consider this tale of two designer watches. One is sold in a fine jewelry store. And the other is sold by a street vendor. Even though the watches are of the same quality, many people will buy the watch from the jewelry store rather than one from the street vendor. Why? Because being in the jewelry store for many people gives them a sense of security that what they are buying is the real deal, rather than something that isn’t worth the value or isn’t from a trusted source.
Even though a business theoretically exists once the proper paperwork has been filed and recognized by the government authorities, for many customers a business isn’t validated as one trustworthy enough to spend their hard earned money on unless the business has a website.
For books, it would seem that having an actual printed book would be a validation point that it is indeed legit. Not so. I quickly was reminded that the appropriate customer validation point is being available on Amazon.com.
When I published my first book Delight Inside, a few weeks ago I was excited about talking with people about the book. During these conversations, I was always taken aback by the number of people who asked immediately if the book was available on Amazon.com. For strangers, I totally get it. Many of the books I buy, I get from Amazon.com, as I rarely venture into the bookstore anymore. But the biggest surprise came from people I knew. I would be there talking with them, as they had an actual copy of the book in their hands, and the burning question out of their mouths was still “is it available on Amazon?”
The lightbulb came on for me as I thought more about why I was repeatedly getting this question. Even though people were excited about me publishing a book, the reality is that its easier than ever to get a book published these days. Just about anyone can publish a book should they choose. But the moment I said “yes, it’s on Amazon,” I could visibly see a change in how people viewed my new book. It was instantly legitimate in their eyes, rather than something I just threw together and was planning to sell from the trunk of my car.
As you think about your business, and the products that you are trying to sell your customers, what are the validation points in their minds that show them that you are legit? You work really hard to put together a quality product that could make a difference in the lives of the people you serve. It would be a shame for your product to not get in the hands of the people who can benefit most from it, because the right validation points aren’t in place.