Marketing communication promises the world. Client-centered, value driven, deep experience and state-of-the-industry expertise. Even a cursory glance at web sites will turn up scores of variations on a client-centered theme. But let’s be honest; at times the experience doesn’t square with the marketing message.

Here’s a story of one time when the experience and the message aligned.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine was shopping for a car. His needs were specific — a low mileage late model Lexus RX with all-wheel-drive. It didn’t take long to discover that, in north Texas, the all-wheel-drive requirement was problematic. He combed the internet and browsed all the listings only to have the scarcity underscored.

Upon visiting one of the Pre-Owned facilities in the area he came across one vehicle that met his specific requirements. Not exactly a buyer’s market.

My friend played the very few cards he had in his hand in an effort to negotiate; but this vehicle was going to sell quickly, and the sales consultant (a very nice and professional gent in his own right, by the way) knew it. In polite fashion, he indicated that he could reduce the asking price by $500, but that was it.

My friend could not quite bring himself to pull the trigger. He decided to shop around a bit more. And this is where the story gets good.

Rethinking his options — even considering that perhaps he should go the new car route, my friend sat down at the desk of Jason Huber at Park Place Lexus in Plano, Texas.

Upon learning what the customer really wanted, and then hearing that a near perfect match had been found through another dealer, Jason acted in the best interest of the customer. “While I’d love to sell you a new vehicle, given your objectives, you should go get the one you found this morning…quickly.”

What? A car dealer recommending the deal being offered by the competition? Jason had shared information, spent at least thirty or forty minutes with my friend (primarily listening to needs and objectives), and then sent my friend out to buy from someone else.

In the process he earned the future business of two buyers — my friend and me.

This is not an apologetic for sending business to competitors.

It is a reminder that the experience you deliver has enormous marketing potential. In fact, it will often speak louder than any message you attempt to deliver.

Please add your stories of alignment — or mis-alignment. We can use practical examples.