Do you ever get confused by the plethora of ways you could communicate with your prospects and clients?
Websites, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, Craigslist, LinkedIn, email marketing, physical mail, FAX, just to name a few.
And for every one of these you’ll find someone selling you their “expertise”, telling you their particular speciality is critical to your success and is the best thing since sliced bread.
While some of these tools may well be great, that’s all they are… tools. And in the constantly shifting world of technology, someone is always going to come up with another tool, looking for another angle, promising the earth and hoping they’ll get some market share.
Marketing and sales is not about the tools. Marketing and sales is about communicating with your audience, getting their interest, demonstrating value, having them sign on the dotted line and keeping them as long term, profitable clients.
Sure, some of the tools will help you do this, but you need to understand the principles behind marketing and selling to make effective use of them.
Here’s an analogy from a completely different area – fashion.
Every year designers come up with new, often outrageous styles. And while these garner a market, nothing beats classical design for timeless elegance.
A national newspaper published this recently…
‘Some clothes never go out of style.
They can hang in the closet, waiting for the inevitable invitation to a special event, and make the question of what to wear a lot easier to answer.
In fashion jargon these garments are called basics. They can be worn year-round even if they don’t match whatever colour and tailoring happens to be in and they can be combined or accessorised to fit any occasion. When that unexpected invitation comes up, having these types of clothes on hand can be a godsend.
The little black dress is perhaps the most famous example. When Coco Chanel designed it in 1926 it was a scandal. Today it is a must-have for every woman, said fashion consultant Andreas Rose of Frankfurt.
“No matter if it is worn to the office, to shop or to a company party, a woman who wears a little black dress is always well turned out,” said Rose.’
Men, remember when double breasted, then 3 and 4 button, narrow suit coats came into fashion. Well, classic 2 button suits never went out of style – and looking at current designers, they tend to be the “new fashion”.
By understanding the principles of the classic look you will always appear chic. And the fundamentals of marketing are no different. Master them and you will always have a steady stream of business.
In our marketing workshops attendees positively comment that we cover the basic principles underlying good marketing and selling. And that they needed to be reminded of these rather than chase what we call “bright shiny new objects” or fads. Always the next best thing since sliced bread, they promise fast results with no work! Like chasing the rainbow to find the pot of gold at the end. It’s never going to happen!
And what’s sad is how many people get taken in by these. But that’s a story for another day. Suffice to say, over the years Barbara and I have succumbed ourselves, learned from the experience, and now pull the fat out of the fire for many of our clients who’ve been burned before.
But back to marketing.
Marketing involves getting the right message into the right hands at the right time, economically.
Let’s break these down…
Starting with the right message:
People buy because they either want something or want to avoid a nasty consequence. Your job is to show them what’s in it for them and demonstrate the value of them taking action.
And the best way to do this is through providing them with enough information to make an informed decision.
Our chosen method is the white paper. White papers answer the following questions in your prospects’ minds:
- Why should I be interested in what you have to offer?
- Why now?
- What is it you could do for me?
- What are the underlying principles of your solution?
- How will it work?
- Have you achieved results for other people like me? (Case studies/Testimonials)
- What will happen if I take action?
- What will happen if I don’t?
On this last point, your biggest competition is not a competitor, it’s actually the status quo – your prospect not doing anything at all.
While most of our white papers tend to be written, sometimes additional information could be shared via video – product demonstrations are a classic example. A live video interview can also work extremely well to get your message across.
Getting your message into the right hands is critical. Which is where some of the tools I mentioned at the start come into their own.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ allow you to communicate with your target audience – IF and it’s a big IF, they use these services and want to be communicated with through them.
Remember, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and to some extent LinkedIn are for interaction and “social engagement”. People don’t like to be directly sold to.
Back to classic methods.
Physical mail and FAX (yes, FAX) still works extremely well with the right audiences. Think about it. If physical mail, catalogues etc., didn’t work, do you honestly think organisations would keep using them?
We’ve personally had major success with FAX blasts to business. A personally addressed FAX can cut through the clutter and get through to your recipient in ways email may never do.
Moving onto timing.
People buy when they are ready, not when you desperately need to make a sale. You will never know when the time is right and your job is to be there when they are.
So constant and persistent contact is the key. Both in my corporate sales and business career I have proved time and time again that it can take 5, 10, 15, or even 20+ contacts to land a large order. Most people give up at 1 or 2. Very few go to 3 to 5.
And finally, economics. Whatever market you choose, you have to be able to get your message in front of them economically. Knowing how much a client is worth to you long term determines how much you can spend to get them in the door.
I have a Lifetime Value Calculator I’m happy to send you – just reply to this email with LIFETIME VALUE CALCULATOR to get it. Plug your numbers in and you can determine how much you could spend to get your message in front of a client.
So remember, marketing fads come and go. There will always be bright shiny new tools that will suck up your time with arguably very little return. But chances are you’ll only figure this out in hindsight!
So like fashion, stay with the classics.
Finally, if you would like help navigating through the marketing maze, separating the wheat from the chaff of nice to have and essential to your success, give us a call on (02) 9499-7958. I promise to steer you in the right direction, saving you a lot of time, money and headache.
You’ll be able to focus on activities that actually work to bring in a steady stream of good quality clients.
Rashid & Barbara.