Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Don’t Think About Numbers

No, I’m not knocking on mathematics. I’m talking about sales numbers. If you think too hard about your numbers, you’ll choke. This doesn’t only apply to professional salespeople. Even at places like Starbucks, branch numbers play an important role.

Any business has numbers. There’s a time to discuss how you’re doing, but don’t obsess over the numbers.

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What’s the Difference?

How is your product or service different from your competitors? This important question leads you to the USP, or unique selling proposition. At Hertz, our USP for selling insurance is that there’s no deductible if you’re involved in an accident and any damage to the car, regardless of fault, is covered by Hertz. We also take care of the entire claim process.

Can your insurance company offer you that level of service? I deal with insurance companies all day long and not one of them can compete with our service. Without a strong USP like this, our product would be dead in the water.

If you don’t know what your USP is for your own business, I highly recommend putting some thought into how you’re different. Why would people buy the same old stuff? As Seth Godin would put it, be remarkable and make yourself a purple cow.

Accentuate the Benefits

Ultimately, customers and clients are looking out for themselves. They won’t be persuaded to buy your product or service if they think your motivations are self-serving. That’s why focusing on the benefits of what your selling is so crucial. Be sincere with the fact that you’re helping your customers achieve something with your product or service. It’s all about them.

Do People Buy Coupons?

Lately, I’ve had a couple salespeople show up at my work and pitch books of coupons. Their presentations were descent, but in the end I can’t justify buying coupons. It doesn’t quite make sense to me.

I get free coupons in the mail that I almost never use. I’m curious to know if anyone out there buys books of coupons and for how much?

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Get Out There And Market

Building relationships is the most important part of marketing. If you can go into a place, establish rapport and become friends with everyone, you’ll have it made. They’ll love to send business your way since they know their customers will be taken care of.

The next most important part is integrity. Don’t promise people things you can’t deliver. All that does is cause headaches. Clients won’t use you if you continually drop the ball.

If you’re in the business world, even with minimal business sense, I’m sure you know integrity is important. Go out there and charm everyone with your personality, do what you say you’ll do, and success is yours.

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The Breakdown

If you sell a product or service that can be sold in levels, do it. What I mean by this is start explaining and demonstrating your most expensive, premium service first. Look at popular products today and you’ll find different levels for different desires and needs. The Xbox 360 and IPod have different size hard drives available. At Burger King, you’ll find different size value meals.

While the products above don’t typically have professional salespeople pushing them, they do illustrate my point. If I were going to sell these products I’d always start by recommending the biggest and most expensive option. Detail the benefits of going big. Show them why they should have the best. Some people will accept the best and buy right away. Others will not.

Why won’t they? Some people can’t afford the biggest, most expensive thing you’ve got. Others might simply want exactly what they need. If price is a concern though, starting with the most expensive item and working your way down helps the customer to almost certainly buy the less expensive item. That’s called top down selling at its finest.

Some Simple Advice

In sales, when you and your team have a stellar week, it’s easy to let up. Don’t allow yourself to slack off during the approaching weeks. Come out guns a blazin’ and keep the momentum going. Run with the “selling high” you achieved during the previous week. Besides, why wouldn’t you want to add more dollars to what you’ve already earned?

Talking About Marketing Strategy

Yesterday I spoke with a co-worker from another location about marketing and how to build business. He gave me some fresh ideas that I haven’t been applying at my location.

  • Analyze what your competition is doing. If you’re overloaded with competitors in your area, do something different. Move your operation somewhere else where you can develop more freely.
  • Research your target market. It doesn’t make sense to be in a location that’s far away from the people you’re trying to reach.
  • Make an irresistible offer. Offer free or discounted service for partnering up with other businesses. Then these businesses can offer their customers your service for a great price.

I can’t give too much away as far as details go, but this is the gist of what we talked about. You can apply these principles to any business. Moving locations is the only one that may not apply. In the age of the Internet, it’s quite possible you can reach your target audience without leaving your living room. With brick and mortar businesses however, strategic relocation might be a viable option.

The Fast Food Dilemma

I’m not talking about fast food making you fat and unhealthy here. I’m not going to say stop eating it or you’ll die a slow horrible death. I have a different take.

At the drive through of a certain fast food chain, the speaker that you place your order with was turned up full blast. The voice that piped through was like a piercing, blaring siren. My ears were ringing and I had a headache before paying for my food.

I’ll probably never go through that drive-thru again. Not because I don’t like the food, but because I don’t want my eardrums to pop before lunch. Of course I could walk into the establishment, but I want fast service and when I’m on the go, I prefer the drive-thru.

I’m wondering if this type of situation would affect other people the same way. Would you stop eating at a fast food joint if something as trivial as the speaker being turned up too high would make you pick another place?

The other question is if your business is doing something small like this that’s causing you to lose customers. It’s always good to take a hard look at possible factors that are putting people off. If you find something, fix it. Hopefully it’s something as easy as turning the volume down on a speaker.

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Polishing a Sales Letter

Over the past couple months, I’ve learned how to polish a sales letter. For best results, it’s good to follow some guidelines to write effective copy. I’ll list a few of these tips here:

  • Proper grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • Cohesiveness
  • Effective sales message
  • Language matched to what the target audience uses
  • Make the page easy to scan, let the most important messages stand out

These can be applied to any type of marketing piece, not just sales letters. If you’ve been looking for ways to improve your advertising, these tips should help you strengthen your writing.