To stay alive in these uncertain times, you can’t just offer a quality product at a fair price…you have to know how to market effectively. You should demand that you get the best results from every dime you drop into marketing! Unfortunately, most businesses have no idea of how to get the most out of every marketing “dollar” that they spend.
SURE-FIRE METHOD #1: Focus on your prospect’s needs and not on yourself.
Does this seem too obvious? Look through your yellow pages. Answer this question: Are they focused on the seller or buyer? Ninety-five percent of the ads are likely totally focused on the business and not on what the business can do for YOU, the prospect! Take a look at the ads in the newspapers, on the TV, listen to the radio or pull up virtually any website. It’s the same type of drivel.
Your selfishness is what kills most of your marketing. From brochures to flyers, and sales letters to advertisements, your marketing message should let your prospects know that you are concerned ONLY WITH WHAT THEY WANT! Anything about you should always come last. Until your marketing efforts focus on the prospects’ wants, your marketing is handicapped.
SURE-FIRE METHOD #2: TEST Everything
Very few companies ever test any portion of their marketing, and then compare the test results. It’s not our right to make arbitrary decisions concerning what our customers and prospects want. It’s our obligation to test and then let the market tell us what they really desire as they “vote with their pocketbooks” (which is the only kind of vote that counts in marketing… because it’s totally “honest”).
It’s important to test prices (one price against another), headlines (one headline against another), guarantees, ad concepts and offers, plus where (and when) you place your ads and offers. The list goes on and on, but these are the most important aspects to test (and they’ll have the most impact on your responses… and on the increases you’ll see in your “bottom line”).
When you test the above aspects (always one at a time and with a small but representative segment of your market) and then carefully record and analyze your results, you’ll almost always discover that one of your test prices, headlines, guarantees, etc. always seems to “outpull” all the others in your test by a substantial margin.
What if your salespeople out in the field average 8 or 12 or 16 calls a day…? It makes excellent sense (doesn’t it?) to experiment and discover the outstanding sales pitch or special offer that gets you twice or three times as many sales per call and/or increases your average order by a significant amount (yet requires little or no extra time or expense to make the sale).
SURE-FIRE METHOD #3: FIGURE OUT THE NEEDS AND WANTS OF YOUR PROSPECTS.
Ninety percent of the businesses out there rarely make the attempt to determine who their market is, and what their market’s desires, needs, wants, and passions are. The successful marketers can tell you precisely who they’re marketing to, and what their prospects and customers want in a product or service. They can tell you the age of their best prospect, who this person is, where this person is, educational and income levels and other critical information. You must know who, then you can find out the “why”.
Why does your customer buy from you? What do your customers want or need most in the products or services you offer? You need to probe and discover what the “why” is so that you can focus your marketing efforts to show your prospects you can meet the “why” in the most satisfactory fashion.
SURE-FIRE METHOD #4: Capture EVERYONE’S name.
This is a big problem. If you don’t learn anything else all year, from reading my articles then remember this: THE MONEY IS IN THE DATABASE. Of all the marketing mistakes to make, I feel that this has caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars every month more than any other. Yet it is by far the simplest mistake to correct!
Why a company would spend hundreds and thousands of dollars to get a customer in the door and them let them walk out without getting their name and address and any other information from them is beyond me! I don’t know why, but 90% of businesses don’t ever bother to keep track of their loyal customers, let alone any prospects!
SURE-FIRE METHOD#5: Sell More To Each Customer.
Your hottest prospect is someone that has just bought from you. This is your best opportunity for another immediate sell. The key to successfully doing this is having products that offer solutions to problems that your prospects have. Related problems and related solutions equals increased opportunity for sales.
How simple it would be for the cashiers at the local discount store to suggest another product that may help solve the customers’ problem. All they have to do is notice how related the products are that the customer is currently buying, and be knowledgeable enough about what the store has to offer to be able to suggest another product that could help the customers’ problem become solved.
The buyers that just bought from you offer you a prime opportunity to sell again. Your job isn’t over once you’ve sold your customers their first product. You and your people should constantly be striving to ascertain what problems your prospects have, and then be creative in developing and proposing the appropriate solution to it.
Your customers are never “hotter” than when they first order.
SURE-FIRE METHOD #6: Make it easy for them to buy.
Many businesses make it difficult for a prospect or customer to buy from them. Most businesses do business from 9 to 5. That’s fine. BUT, you must be prepared to do business when your prospects are ready to do business. With technologies that are now available, there’s no excuse for a business not to have a 24 hour phone service center. Even a simple answering machine can work wonders in this area if utilized as a marketing and sales tool.
You must be fanatical about servicing your customers and causing positive impact on your prospects. You must focus on their needs consistently.Think of how you want to be treated when you do business with someone.
If someone walks into your store, how well prepared are the sales clerks to help them? Have you spent the time and prepared special dialogs, questions, and little booklets full of advice for your people to ask or offer to customers?
When a customer or prospect calls your company and first talks to your switchboard operator, is your operator able to give them what they ask for (and more) in a cheerful and compelling manner?
Are you and your people willing to answer questions and provide truly helpful and informative advice in a friendly way (even when it may not result in an immediate sale)? Is it easy for your customers and prospects to find your business… and can they easily find things once they’re in your store? Do you consistently keep customers updated on the status of their orders, or back orders?
SURE-FIRE METHOD #7: KEEP SELLING
Too many businesses rely entirely too much on the hoped success of one advertisement or one direct mailing. Marketing success is not an event …it is a process. Processes take time. Therefore you should never put your faith in one ad, one mailing campaign, or one TV spot.
You must commit to connecting with your prospects a minimum of 7 times in 18 months. If you are not willing to pay that price, then you shouldn’t even start to promote to those prospects. Remember that any single marketing event will not ordinarily produce outstanding results, not now-a-days anyway. It used to be true that a person could make a fortune off of one ad, one promotion. But today, it’s just not going to happen very often, and you should NEVER plan on it.
Marketing requires persistency to say the least.
Gerry Robert is a bestselling author and speaker.
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