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Factual Sales and Marketing
January 27, 2012

Factual Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing is not about mesmerizing unwitting customers into buying things but about identifying a need and then finding people with just that need.


Have you heard the saying, "No one likes to be sold to but everyone likes to buy"? This is the catchphrase of sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer (author of the "Little Red Book of Selling") and contains the secret ingredient for turning the work of sales and marketing into the magic of sales and marketing. If you spend the majority of your time trying to convince people to do things - that they may or may not want to, and which may or may not even be in their best interest! - then you are going to be fighting a long and hard battle. Uphill. Forever. The flipside of this is understanding something I often say which is that the one thing that you cannot control in a business conversations is the other person's level of interest.

Your job as a sales and marketing professional is not to come up with slick "elevator pitches" - sales! - and glossy brochures - marketing! - that you think will magically create orders. Rather, your job is to understand your product and your customer and then find a match. Objection handling should only come into play for legitimate concerns from an otherwise ideally-suited customer and is not meant to be an arsenal of psychological tools in order for you to be able to better manipulate others. If you make people do things that they do not want to, you are going to end up with problems. If you make people do things that are not in their best interest, you are going to end up with problems!

Customers get excited when they find what they are already looking for. Your job, then, is to connect what they are looking for - their need! - with your solution. It should go without saying that you are only going to provide your solution as an alternative to your customer if you are convinced that it will serve them and really is in their best interests. If not, you really should send that customer along on their way, both from an ethical perspective and from the perspective that selling the wrong thing to the wrong person is bad business and, once again, will create problems for you in the long run (irate customers, legal problems, service complaints are just some of what you might face).

Isn't winning a customer great? Let's face it, it is probably one of the best feelings in the world! However, nowadays, keeping customers and not just getting them is what counts. Another one of Gitomer's books is aptly titled, "Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless". Unless you are involved in rocket science - and even then! -, there are 1000s of business out there that do what you do and, in many respects, as well as you do. It is so easy for a customer to get quality, price and service elsewhere that it is a mere triviality for most of them (unlike the heartbreak that you, the business owner, may go through if you lose them!). Doing whatever it takes to get a sale loses sales in the long term.

You need to be precise in your sales and marketing and stick to the facts. If you feel that you are beginning to exaggerate or embellish things then stop! This means that you are straying from the true heart of doing good business which is simply to enlighten your customer with facts and then let them choose for themselves. Make clear what your price is and stick to it firmly and with no reservations. Explain any limitation in the way your customer intends to use your product that may be a problem for them later on. Be clear, be tough and be true to the inner voice that guides you through the process. Not getting a sale is far better for you than a bad sale that wastes precious time, resources and goodwill!

I am not saying that you should not take "easy" sales when they come and that you should add any unnecessary complexity to your sales process. However, make sure your customers get what they "see"! What this means is that you should always and to the best of your ability qualify and continue to qualify your customers to understand their need and make sure that your solution is optimally suited to help them. Your job and the "work" of sales and marketing is not to convince and persuade others but rather to create the right environment and relationship for a needs-based conversation to take place. If you find that you are trying too hard at any point then stop!

Your product or service should sell itself once your customer and yourself factually match what you have with what they need and want.



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