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October 18, 2017

Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida Business

Golden nuggets that will improve sales efforts

Ron Stein | 8/14/2017

You’re so busy managing sales efforts, you appreciate anything that will streamline actions and improve outcomes. From automating the sales funnel follow-up to using marketing templates and cheat sheets, it’s just human nature to do what you can to improve the way you work.

Shortcuts like these are designed to accelerate your approach to improving customer interactions. It’s just smart marketing and selling. That is, as long as you trust the tool or system you’ve chosen.

What business rules and formulas would help sales and marketing? These aren’t shortcuts per se, but the idea is the same. When good formulas are followed faithfully and consistently, the result is success.

Classic examples of rules to improve sales include the four Ps of marketing and the BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Time) selling method. There are marketers and sales people that live and die by formulas like these.

But, are they effective? The simple answer is, it depends.

Every company, industry, and objective is different. That makes the people you sell to unique, not like the target audience of the company next door.

The point is, many times rules and formulas can’t be neatly packaged up and applied by everyone across the great business spectrum. At the same time there are some universal truths.

There are some golden nuggets among popular rules for marketing and sales that you should be aware of, so you can utilize them to achieve greater results.

The 4 Ps of marketing – or is the 5, 6, 7, or 8 Ps? Also known as the marketing mix, the 4 Ps of product, price, promotion, and place became popular around sixty years ago. The 4 Ps quickly emerged as the new “normal” for companies, no matter what type business they were in. Then it happened. The 4 Ps grew and some were modified -- Positioning, Process, People, Performance, and Physical evidence. A few smart folks even attempted to turn these in the 4 Cs and 7 Cs, but I won’t bore you with the details. These are all great points to think about, yet it should be clear that there isn’t a single perfect marketing strategy formula. Only a framework to help you ask questions and make decisions; the neat thing is you get to choose which elements make the most sense. The golden nugget here that’s common to all businesses are people; your team and partners that help execute all the Ps and of course, your prospects and customers who value your business.

The BANT and AIDA methods of selling. I’ve been selling for a long time and to me BANT isn’t so much a process or sequence, but a checklist for ranking leads. BANT, as mentioned earlier, is shorthand for Budget, Authority, Need, Time. It’s not a step-by-step formula though. You wouldn’t rapid-fire questions at customers such as, “What’s your budget? How soon do you need this?” etc. That would sound like an inquisition instead of a conversation! Maybe as a ranking guideline BANT has some utility, but that’s it. Then there’s AIDA -- Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. This is closer to a step-by-step rule. Originally created for advertising agencies, AIDA is handy to think about as a roadmap for effective communications with buyers, online and offline. BANT masquerades as a pushy sales technique and the sooner we retire BANT, the better. AIDA on the other hand aligns with the way most people buy. Not too shabby!

The customer value rule. We’ll, this isn’t a classic, but it should be. For some reason companies have a hard time expressing their value - wait for it -- in the eyes of the buyer. You know exactly what specific feature / benefit buyers want. Yet, it’s not enough. That’s because there’s still is a risk in doing business with you. The customer value rule takes the risk off the table and when you do that, you’re home free. It’s a simple formula: Value = Benefits - Risk. The risk your buyers fear can be almost anything and in many cases resides at a subconscious level. This is the case of, “It doesn’t feel right and I can’t put my finger on it, yet I’ll know it when I see it.” Thus the safe decision for the buyer is to do nothing and stay with the status quo or go with the big name player. Dig deep and find out what typically holds people back in your target market -- lack of training, batteries not included, no trial period, limited free adjustments. Whatever it is, find it and make it go poof! The result; you’ll stand out clearly against your competitors. The customer value rule works hand-in-hand with the AIDA sequence.

There’s a formula or rule for just about anything, including sales. Formulas that sharpen focus and improve efforts are awesome, right?

When you find a method or system that you like, cheer! Then mold it into something that makes sense for your company. And use it consistently.

What rules do you use for your business?

Ron Stein is founder of More Customers Academy, helping business leaders build strategic messaging and positioning that cuts through the competitive noise to grow revenue. Ron has developed his own highly successful 5-step Stand Out & Sell More approach to winning new customers as a result of his twenty-five years of business development, marketing, and selling experiences. He works with a range of businesses, from startups to large corporations across industries including technology and healthcare, manufacturing, and financial services and banking. Ron conducts workshops, leads company meetings, offers keynote talks, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or by email.

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