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The Five Rules of Gentle Yet Firm Sales And Marketing (E-Zine)
September 04, 2009

Gentle Yet Firm Sales And Marketing


Sales and marketing is not about being nice all the time.

Gone are the days when righteous companies pronounced their message from on high and eager consumers flocked to purchase the latest breakthrough life-changing product. Those days – if they ever existed – where times of integrity in business where buyers got exactly what was advertised and sellers knew a person’s word was their bond.

Nowadays the business world is full of ambiguity and outright confusion, mistrust and outright fraud, suspicion and outright deceit. It is not all bad but the bottom line is that that both buyers and sellers are wary and get burnt every day by spending time and money on people who are simply not serious about doing good business.

Here are five rules to keep in mind when engaging customers.

1. Be Principled: Sales and marketing is not about the customer being first. Rather, like everything else in life, principle comes first which means integrity and good business. You should certainly put the customer before yourself but not before principle. Do not demean yourself do do business with anyone. Rather make sure you always maintain your dignity and that you do not feel belittled or that you need to compromise your values. Offer respect and insist on respect in return

2. Give And Take: Many - if not most - customers today do not always do what they say they will. Remember that sales and marketing is a two-way street. If you continue to offer your time and work and get nothing in return then you are wasting your time. Hold customers accountable to getting back to you when they say and doing what they say. When you begin the sales process expect a reciprocal step for every step you take. A "one strike" rule is sometimes appropriate with new customers. If they let you down twice then politely withdraw until they are serious

3. Time Is Money: Imagine if each hour of your time was a hundred dollar bill. Would you better qualify folks to spend your time on or hand out money to all and sundry? Your time as a sales and marketing professional is worth more than that so make sure your minutes count. If a customer does not demonstrate they are engaged through their actions then do not spend sales and marketing time on them. Plenty of people sound interested on the phone but don’t fall into the trap of "first conversation high" where you never hear back from them again. Serious customers act (which includes returning calls and e-mails!)

4. Call Them Out: "I am confused, didn’t you say…?" This may sound like a cheesy line from a 1960s sales book but is actually a powerful question that will help you close more deals, weed out customers who are not serious and make you a better overall sales and marketing professional. If they told you they have a problem and that they are ready to purchase if you can show them a solution then call them out on it. If they ask for a call back on Tuesday and then blow you off ask why. Get out of your comfort zone and get customers out of their comfort zone. Then gently guide the process forward

5. Be Nice: The greatest customers to do business with are the greatest people and you should definitely spare no opportunity to be as nice as you can to everyone you meet and speak with. However, do not be naive and go all out for customers who are not serious. Remember to temper your niceness with realness. Otherwise people, despite their good intentions, will end up taking advantage of you and minimize you in their minds. Think about that really nice and well-meaning salesperson you talked to on the phone the other day who you don’t really connect with or take seriously for some reason. Don’t be them!


PS. Pay it forward by sending this issue to friends who may be interested in this subject...

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