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Simplified Sales and Marketing
August 29, 2011
Simplified Sales and Marketing
All of sales and marketing can be reduced to one simple phrase: make an offer!
If you think about it, sales and marketing, in it's essence, is not very hard. From amongst the millions - billions? - of shopkeepers, businessmen and traders in the world, how many do you think study the subject as diligently as you do? Not very many, perhaps, and ceraintly not in developing countries where you can find anyone from an illiterate villager to a child marketing and selling merchandise and doing so very successfully, I might add! It is the same as with the art and science of human relationships: on the one hand there have been - and continue to be - thousands upon thousands of books written about the subject and yet at it's root it boils down to the simple precept of being nice to people! This is something that even a child can understand and what I enjoy most in my research and writing is trying to deconstruct complicated or often misunderstood topics and present them in a simplified manner in terms of basic building blocks.
When you think about all of sales and marketing as making an offer, you can see how this simple concept really does cover the entirety of what it takes to be in business. To make an offer, there is you and there is your customer to whom you are making an offer. You have a message, a means of communication and, as well, something of value for your customer. Ideally, you will have set the stage by approaching a targetted customer who is likely to respond to your message. As well, you may have been through a process of qualification to better understand their needs in order to be able to serve them the best. Utlimately, however, what it boils down to is a proposition that you put in front of your customer after having done as much due diligence and work as you can in order to ensure that it is a successful one.
Thinking about sales and marketing as making an offer allows you to cut out the "guff" that sometimes clouds our thinking as business people and professionals. It is very easy to get caught up in detailed planning, information, research, product development, networking and so forth and forget what our #1 job in business is (make an offer!). The more offers you can make, the better you can tweak and refine everything from your message to your product and service based on your results and based on your feedback from interacting with customers. Here are a few more points building on this simple concept that I hope will help you:
Get out there are talk to customers! Find out new ways to market to them and continue to keep your sales efforts ramped up. Don't fall into the trap of getting caught up in administrative or other "important" business functions and spend only a fraction of your time on sales and marketing efforts. Remember, talking to customers comes first and everything else follows. If you are not talking to and acquiring new customers, you will be out of business and everything else won't matter then, will it? I always recommend making new contacts and reaching out to new customers at whatever stage you are in your business lifecycle. It is easy to sit back and rest on your laurels if you have a few big "cash cow" customers that provide a steady revenue stream for you, for example. Don't do it! Keep yourself on your toes and stay sharp. Stay "in the hunt" and make sure your sales and marketing efforts stay focused on connecting with new prospects all the time. As well as gaining customers, you will stay abreast of changes in the industry and important feedback that will help you develop your business strategy and keep growing. As well, you will not become dependent on any one set of customers who may not always be there for you as times change
If you have done your job as a sales and marketing professional, ask for the sale or action step that you are looking for from your customer. It may be that you feel that your message has not resounded or that you will not get the response that you are looking for but ask anyway. It's like the hockey legend Wayne Gretzky said, "if you don't shoot, you can't score" (well, maybe he didn't say that but that was his philosophy! He was the leading goal scorer but also missed more shots than anyone else in the league, just like the legendary Michael Jordan in basketball). If all else fails or if you are unsure of your position, if you are overloaded with conflicting signals and the boat is rocking, ask! You have nothing to lose and at the very least you will recieve valuable information from your customer or prospect or will be able to set the right level of expectations in your sales and marketing efforts
The whole point of this article is to simplify and I have already talked about how you can use the simple premise of making an offer to cut to the chase by removing a lot of the complexity, unnecessary work and obscurity that comes up in sales and marketing. Don't get carried away with graphs, charts, research and presentation without giving your customer a chance to talk and without asking for their feedback and a response. As well, you should try and avoid delivering a complicated message or making the process of doing business with you complicated for your customer. Try and keep it as simple as possible, especially with new customers! Remember, they are interested in only one thing and that is how you are going to make their life better based on the value your are providing. Stay focused on the problem of theirs that they are solving or the benefit you are providing. If your sales process is long and complicated then deconstruct this and focus exclusively on the first step (sales guru Jeffery Fox calls this showing the chain but selling the first link"!)
Simplify your message and sales and marketing process and get out there and make offers!
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