Be The Obvious Choice


Imagine competing in a marketplace against 10 other dropzones. How would you market your business? Furthermore, let us suppose you’re not a wealthy business owner and don’t have the revenue to execute on major advertising initiatives. Is there any hope for your business in an overcrowded marketplace where you’re being outspent?

There is Hope. 


If you’ve been a DZO for any length of time, you already know what the most effective marketing is – it’s word of mouth. Nothing beats an unpaid testimonial, but it would seem that most DZ’s are not building a strategy around word of mouth… it’s as if we hope it happens and we’re content when it does. But what if we could get word of mouth to scale? Wouldn’t that bring more business?MANIFEST-WILL-LOVE-YOU-JPG


Let’s examine our buying behavior on Amazon. When purchasing a product, we generally purchase an item that’s the obvious choice by way of reviews in three areas: 1).  the product with the highest average star-rating, 2). the product with the most reviews and 3). the most positive feedback.

This is what generates sales.

It’s even more likely that we’ll pay just a bit more in order to avoid buyers remorse. It would be nearly impossible to succeed on Amazon without this digital word of mouth.

It’s no different in the skydiving industry, only our primary platform for reviews (for non-tourism based markets) is Google. If you’re a business owner in a crowded space, it’s your mission to become the obvious choice for anyone shopping around online.

80% of customers say they trust online reviews as much as friends.
Source: BrightLocal

What does being the obvious choice look like? Double the reviews of your competitors with a higher star average plus a consistent outpouring of love within those reviews. Not an easy task, but completely doable.

The reviews for this product influenced me  to go with the more expensive option. The PRO series was the obvious choice.

The reviews for the Ring Pro Doorbell swayed me to spend about $30 more – after reading three or four reviews of each product, the more expensive model was the obvious choice.


Shortcuts don’t work. If you buy reviews, your customers can tell. Don’t do this. Furthermore, the “weight” of your reviews is something to consider. If much of your feedback is short in its expression, then your level of service isn’t as good as it can be. To have word of mouth scale, you need to touch people’s hearts – the magic of businesses who scale word of mouth.


Implementing a word of mouth strategy is an actual process, but it’s nearly impossible to execute without the complete commitment from everyone within the organization.

To begin with, it can only be executed if the owner has complete buy-in. It can’t originate from the Manager – it has to be directed from the very top and then each DZ team member has to understand the strategy which is to exceed expectations.

Marketing Tip:

Respond to every review your business receives – both positive and negative. How you reply to reviews is marketing yourself to countless readers who can evaluate your professionalism especially when you respond to negative reviews. Negative reviews and how you respond to them is a great marketing opportunity. 

Performance Designs


If leadership has buy-in the strategy of exceeding expectations has to be executed – this is a big challenge when what you sell has a high price point which is expected to deliver high experiential value – skydiving. When people purchase a skydive, the expectations are ENORMOUS as they’re expecting one of life’s great adventures.

The question we must ask is, “How do we exceed these expectations when expectations are already so high?”

If people have a great time on their skydive (which the great majority do) then we’re simply meeting the expectations. The magic for word of mouth is to exceed those expectations on all interactions both before and after the skydive. That’s the key. It’s hard to improve on the free fall, but there’s lot’s of room for improvement at one of the other 40+ touch points. This is one of the major points of differentiation you can have over your competitors – leverage it!

80% of Companies Say They Give Superior Customer Service. Only 8% of their customers would agree. – Jay Baer, Convince and Convert

How Do You Exceed Expectations

Make People Feel Special by:

– understanding customer pain points
– solving those pain points
– know what your customers want before they ask for it

There are MANY pain points that can cause friction between a customer and a DZ (from filthy bathrooms, to run down facilities, to rude staff, to poor photo/video quality etc). Solve pain points by going above and beyond with attention to every detail and add great communication from staff when things are going well and especially when things (like bad weather) are not going well.

Our best-performing clients mesh a word of mouth strategy with a digital strategy. Too many businesses rely on just one and not both.


– Word of Mouth (WOM) Is the Most Effective Form of Marketing
– WOM is a legitimate Marketing Strategy
– Online reviews influence buying decisions
– WOM is generated by having the mentality that your DZ is a customer service company that happens to offer skydiving as a service

About James La Barrie

James La Barrie is passionate about marketing and changing a company's service culture. Originally from the Caribbean island of Antigua, James melds his approach of marketing and delivering elite service together as one. James has injected his 'service marketing' approach throughout his career to transform companies from good to great.

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