Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida business
How to sell more stuff to more people more often
(This marks Ron Stein's 100th column on FloridaTrend.com)
Every company has a reason for being in business. When that purpose is properly communicated, people warm up. When people feel the need for your offering in their own lives, they listen. When they see a company that’s different, provides value, and can be trusted, they buy.
Is it that simple? Not quite. How people feel about you, your business, and what your brand stands for is critical. Yet, it’s not enough.
Here’s the thing: that warm fuzzy “I want to buy” feeling just doesn’t happen by itself. It needs to be helped along with marketing actions that reinforce all of this.
I’m not talking about psychological hocus-pocus here. No wonder people treat marketing as a bad word!
As your company’s chief revenue generation guru, it’s up to you to take the right actions to sell your offering. And, that means much more than a ton of online banner advertising, fancy brochures, or knocking on a bunch of doors.
Effective and efficient marketing is what “creates” perfect products and services. Seems backwards doesn’t it. You’re probably thinking first you have something to sell and then marketing kicks in.
A study by Sirius Decisions revealed that up to 70% of the buying process is already complete before prospects are willing to engage. By the time you’re ready to hit the pavement and start selling it’s too late.
No matter how great your offering is it will not simply sell itself. On the other hand, your products and services will practically sell themselves when you build marketing into them.
Products and services fail when customer needs aren’t met. You already know that any offering needs to be based on the market’s input before it’s launched. But, it’s not fully “created” at that point. To make sure your product will sell itself after you introduce it, marketing needs to complete the cooking of your offering. Don’t make prospects guess about how it will satisfy problems they want fixed. Show buyers that what you provide is unique and the value is obvious. Your message needs to be clear -- it’s important to your prospect, unique to you, and defensible by you. Where these three elements overlap is the messaging sweet spot.
Satisfy the “old” brain. If you think your message and actions are already clear-cut try this. Deep down inside buyer’s minds are self-centered and focused on survival. They don’t trust anyone, including your company, to look out for their best interest. So, realize it’s not about you and your business and adjust both your attitude and language to reflect that -- drop “I”, “me”, and “we”. Help your customers by appealing to your audience’s selfish side. Guide them by showing how their status quo is hurting them and provide a safe haven. By putting their situation in context and offering sharp contrast you’ll delver a clear and convincing message.
Touch points. Do you know where your prospects are -- offline and online? If you don’t know where your audience hangs out, your chances of connecting with them will drop like a rock. There are literally hundreds of ways to touch prospects directly and indirectly. Think like your prospects to find their preferred ways of connecting with potential sellers. What websites, blogs, social media sites, and forums do they visit often? What magazines and newsletters do they subscribe to? What associations or organizations do they belong to? What experts and sources do they trust? This will help you shape your product and service creation strategy. And, by doing this you’ll hit upon the channels that get the biggest bang for your buck.
Great products and services never thrive simply because they are great. People must feel the need for it, get to know you, and trust you.
Your “offering” is much more than a product or service.
You bring something to the table that no other business has -- your purpose, vision, and mission. This is a very good thing, as long as you can deliver a clear message to the right audience in the right place at the right time.
Create a perfect offering by baking in strategic marketing from the beginning. Decide how you want your uniqueness to be perceived and how you’ll get that across to the audience you serve.
That will make it a lot easier for your products and services to sell themselves.
Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com) and the author of the Rapid Impact Marketing & Selling Playbook. As a speaker, coach, and consultant he works with small business owners helping them to accelerate the path between their vision and the actions needed to reach, win, and keep customers. Ron is the creator of the FastPath to More Customers Now! 7-step marketing system based on more than twenty years as a successful business owner, corporate CEO, business development executive, and salesman. He is also a mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.