The sales process has changed, and the time to adapt is now. Gone are the days of very limited options for buyers, where the seller had all the power. Because of the internet, search engines and smart devices, there has been a paradigm shift, with more resources, information and options available for the buyer. This requires any successful seller to understand and listen to the buyer.
As with any change, a huge opportunity has come for sellers to transform their thought process, their selling process and influence their target customers, by offering the “benefits” of their products or services, in ways that resonate with the target customer. The following are four strategic marketing fundamentals every business owner should be aware of and implement, in order to sell successfully:
1. Your Target Customers – Who They Are and What They Want:
Overwhelmingly, people don’t buy what they need, they buy what they want and from whom they want. So, to be successful, a seller’s marketing message needs to be on the mark. Do the research to accurately identify and understand your target customers. In fact, be so bold as to ask your target customers what benefits they demand from a product or service like yours. Also ask what they do not want. All of those are “hot buttons” and your keys to resonating with your target customers. If you don’t get this correct in the beginning, everything else you do afterwards will miss the mark!
2. It’s Really About the Benefits:
Use that knowledge to communicate the benefits of your product or service, and how they will positively impact your target customer. People are not buying the product or service you provide. They are buying the benefits of the product or service…how it makes their lives better or easier. Build upon that message, and help your target customer overcome any concerns and make an informed buying decision. You could send an objective, 3rd party report about your industry, mapping-out where your company fits within the business landscape. Differentiate your product or service vis-à-vis your competitors. Next, follow-up on that message, referencing the report and sending additional relevant content to the buyer, to help them make the right decision and position yourself as the “provider/seller of choice”.
3. High-Pressure Selling Is Out:
Regardless of what business or industry you’re in, the last thing your buyers want is to be bombarded with aggressive sales tactics. Instead, they want to be validated, advised, coached and informed through their buyer’s journey. Business owners have the ability to establish rapport with their customers and create an atmosphere of trust that will succeed. This allows buyers to make up their own minds, at their own pace. Make it obvious to the buyer that he/she would be foolish to buy from anyone else. The buyer-seller relationship has changed and you need to adapt.
4. Don’t Quit Too Soon:
Studies show that 80-percent of all sales occur between the 5th and 12th marketing/ad contact, yet 88-percent of business owners rarely, if ever, follow-up beyond the 3rd contact. This is where you might be missing out. Business owners need to focus on generating, nurturing and converting leads. It would be naive to believe people will buy from you just because they need what you have. Today’s buyers are increasingly immune to traditional advertising and sales methods, meaning they research more and take more convincing, before they decide to make a purchase. That’s why at least five contacts and a series of ad messages (i.e. a drip campaign) are needed. Keep this in mind the next time you are tempted to disengage from a prospective customer, after three outreaches. Don’t quit too soon!
If you’d like to learn more about this topic, please by my guest at a free local seminar in your area (dinner included). The next event, “Everything You’ve Ever Learned About Generating Leads and Growing Your Business is Wrong!” will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at The Georgian Club in Atlanta. To register, go to: www.AboveC-Level.com/live/register
Four Keys to Defining Your Company in The Minds of Your Target Customers
According to Forbes, 90-percent of startups fail. So, what is the secret to being part of the other 10-percent? It all starts with identifying what your business is known for. What is typically being sold today is a list of things, jargon and platitudes, such as “we’re the biggest,” “we’re the fastest,” “we have 450 years of combined experience,” etc. However, this list doesn’t solve a problem or give any hint of a solution to a problem. What needs to be sold is the benefit to your customer.
If you want to join the 10-percent of successful entrepreneurs and develop a prosperous business, then you need to understand the four keys of company identity:
Accurately Identify Your Target Market: I know we’ve all heard this before, but too many companies are still getting it wrong and are not accurately identifying their target markets. They are trying to be all things to all people, which just creates white noise that doesn’t resonate with anyone. Your target market needs to know that you are speaking directly to them, when you market to them. If not, you’re wasting your money. And, they won’t know you’re speaking to them, unless you’re pushing their hot buttons.
We all know the traditional way to identify audiences is to break them down by age, gender, marital status, income, family size, zip code, and the list goes on. However, this is where so many companies are missing the mark. In addition to demographics, you should use the psychographic approach, which provides personal insight into the target audience. Think more personal and lifestyle, or the “warm and fuzzy” side of things. What are their likes, dislikes, political affiliations, and favorite music? Do they spend a lot of time watching TV, listening to the radio, on social media, reading newspapers and magazines, etc.? This unlocks what makes your target audience tick and will get you closer to what they like and what they don’t like, particularly in terms of the kind of product or service you’re selling and the benefits it would deliver.
Benefits: Speaking of benefits, this is where the magic happens. The reality for businesses today is that the playing field is not always level, products/services are commoditized and some of your competitors are bigger and better-known than your brand. So, how do you resonate with your target market? Rather than communicating or promoting specifications or a list of what you do, start with communication that addresses:
- The target audience’s pain, passion and problem to be solved
- The value or benefits of what you produce/sell
- How those benefits directly address the target audience’s problem to be solved
This is where the problem lies. Too many businesses are trying to sell a list of specifications rather than selling what really matters. Companies need to be selling benefits.
Let me share an example. I recently asked a client who was struggling with product sales, “What do you manufacturer?” Her response was, “Tennis apparel for plus size ladies who have a passion for tennis.” I then asked her why she started her business. She is a plus size lady herself, and has a strong passion for tennis, with hundreds of friends across the country who are also plus size ladies and love tennis. In recent years, the majority of them have withdrawn from the game. Our society being what it is has set them up to be subjected to some unfortunate comments and overtures on the court, such as, “what are you doing here?” Or, “You don’t have any business here” kind of nonsense. They also found it difficult to find tennis apparel that fit them well and provided all the flexibility and support they needed. This has nothing to do with the fact that they are plus size. It’s the fact that those attributes of tennis apparel would be the same for anyone in an active sport. We all want apparel that’s sturdy, breathes when we do a lot of muscle movement, looks good and is comfortable. The point is, they found it much more difficult being plus size to find something good looking and comfortable, as well as functional.
Unfortunately, for many of her friends, based on the way they had been made to feel when they were on the court, left the game, were staying at home, and had become extremely self-conscious about it. Even though they longed to play the sport, they stayed away from the tennis court. She started her business because she wanted to change that and give them something to go back to the court for, and feel good about being there.
When she started my program, I asked her, “What do you sell?” The operative word here is sell, not manufacture, as I had originally asked her. However, she gave me the same answer. I explained to her that she doesn’t sell tennis apparel for plus size ladies. What she is selling is liberation, giving people some of their self-esteem back, giving them part of their life back, and making them feel good on the court again. They can look good, feel good, and have their enjoyment back, along with the socializing that comes with the sport. For whatever reason it never occurred to her to articulate it in that way in terms of what she sells and how she marketed her offering to potential customers. What can we learn from this? You don’t sell the widget…you sell the benefits of the widget. You don’t sell the service…you sell the benefits of the service.
Differentiation: Quit focusing so much on the competition. There is no need to mimic them, use similar positioning, etc., as it just dilutes the differentiation and makes your business look exactly like your competition. You should be doing the opposite. How am I different than my competition? How is my product or service better? You need to talk to your target audience, who has a real problem and needs a real solution. If you can target them with a precise message outlining how you are different and how they can benefit from your product or solution, you are right on target. This is why so many marketing dollars are being wasted, because companies craft the wrong ads, with the wrong content, that doesn’t resonate with anyone that would be their target market. Again, assuming they even identify them right in the first place.
Don’t Give Up Too Soon: Another common mistake I see companies constantly making is that they give up way too soon. Research shows that it takes between five and 12 times for your message to resonate with a potential customer. It’s not how many ads you send out because they probably haven’t seen every ad. They need to have contact and interaction with at least five messages. So, this may mean you have to target them 10 to 15 times before they see five of them. Too many companies stop sending material after three tries, thinking the email list is wrong, and move on to new targets. Consumers today are busy, living their lives, but even if you have identified the correct target market, even if you are touching on the right hot buttons, the fact is they must see your ad and marketing materials a minimum of five times. This is the magic threshold of getting into the zone where you’re beginning to resonate with your target market and they’re beginning to notice you’re there and that you can solve a problem they have. Bottom line, you can’t give up too soon.
If you’d like to learn more about generating more revenue by effectively connecting with your target customers, I urge you to attend a free local seminar (dinner included) in your area. The next event, “How to Generate All the Leads & Revenue Your Business Can Handle,” will be held at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at The Georgian Club in Atlanta. Go here to register now: www.AboveC-Level.com/live/register.
Today we’ll talk about shameless self-promotion. That’s right, I said it! Shameless! After all, we are learning from Paris Hilton here.
It’s all about self-promotion! Self-promotion comes in many forms and you can use different tactics to get your name out there. Look at politicians! Talk about self-promotion and in some not so discreet ways, at that. But, seriously, consider some of the major superstars we all know. Madonna, Donald Trump, Howard Stern and Bill Clinton, just to name a few.
We all self promote. Did you raise your hand in class to show the teacher you knew the answer? Of course! That’s self-promotion. This is the kind of self-promotion we are talking about. With dignity, class and the knowledge to back it up. If you self-promote only to prove you don’t really know what you’re talking about, you’re going to lose business.
Natural self-promoters are the former and I want to tell you about the three major traits they have and use to build themselves and their businesses.
- The first is position. You need to position yourself around people who can make a difference in your life. You need to do this frequently. You need to wake up every morning and ask yourself “Who can I meet today who will make a difference in my success?” In fact, go a step further, write it in big, bold letters and tape it on your bathroom mirror.
Who can help me meet my goals?
Is it a prospective customer/client? A colleague with contacts? An association with key members who may become prospects?
Don’t settle into interacting with the people who are the easiest to access. You need to reach outside your comfort zone and there you will find a wealth of new connections that will bring you great success.
- Now, let’s talk about Style. No, this doesn’t mean you need an Armani suit to bring in more business (though, let’s be honest-it wouldn’t hurt) J What this really means is how are you different from your competitors and others in your industry. What makes you memorable with customers?
If you are meeting a lot of people and they don’t remember you once you leave the room, you have a serious problem! This means you have an opportunity to present yourself in a more memorable way.
There are lots of little subtle changes you can make. Reassess your:
- Business cards
- Company message
- Your picture
- Your wording
Maybe even, your hairstyle (of course, now we’re back to the expensive suit, but it really works!)
You get the idea. There are lots of little ways you can work on making your image and business more successful. Also, consider how you sound on the phone and how you greet people at meetings or other events. Think about your 30-sec elevator speech.
- The third trait of natural promoters is repetition. You can’t say it once and leave it at that. Successful self-promoters say it as many times as they need until they get a response. Would you remember a commercial for Coca-Cola if you only saw it once, no! You see it over and over and eventually you head out to the store.
You, also, have to make multiple impressions on those you are networking with in order to build brand awareness. Repetition is in direct connection with positioning. Once you find people to network with, reach out and find hundreds more who can help in your success as well.