Most marketing sucks. I came to that exact realization one October morning in 1987. What followed was a decision that changed my life forever. After acknowledging that I didn’t REALLY know the first thing about marketing, I rushed to the local bookstore and bought all eight of their marketing books. The first was David Ogilvy’s classic, Ogilvy on Advertising. I was amazed to learn how changing a simple headline could produce a 500% increase in response. How adding a picture of scissors next to a coupon could increase redemption by up to 35%, how reverse type (white letters on black) sharply decreases readership, and so on.
Before I finished the second book, I ordered 20 other books! I was like a man possessed… highlighting, underlining, and taking notes for 30 straight days. All through the Christmas holiday I soaked up marketing information like a sponge. After taking it all in and completely changing my approach, I designed some new ads to run the second week of January. Bingo! The phone rang off the hook.
Customers can be jerks who don’t deserve your service at all. I recently found myself in the Denver airport waiting for a flight back to Orlando. At the last minute, they announced a gate change followed by the dreaded announcement that the flight had been canceled. We were instructed to go across the terminal to American Airlines Gate 26 where we were told some of us would get a seat.
Being pretty quick on my feet, I was the first one from our flight to make it over there, only to find that 50 American passengers were already in front of me. I took my place in line and prepared to wait. A few minutes later the rest of the passengers from my original flight showed up and groaned at the sizable line. One man had no intention of being put out. He was a large man wearing a white suit with matching hat and carrying a large leather bag. He marched right to the front of the line waving his ticket in his hand.
When people think of growth, they usually think in terms of new locations or more products and services to reach more customers. There is nothing wrong with this approach, but this should be the last way you consider growing. The first is to look at your existing market and figure out what else you can sell them. What other product or services are your existing customers willing to buy from you?
If you have ever been to a Disney park in the height of summer, you are in for a long wait at just about every ride, sometimes an hour or more in the dripping heat. But you don’t have to wait in lines anymore. As long as you are willing to pay a substantial extra VIP fee, you can go straight to the front of the line. Not only do you see more, do more, and sweat less, you also can’t help getting that smug sense of satisfaction from looking at the poor people in line who you’ve just usurped with your VIP pass.
As you design your presentation, start by assuming that everyone who has qualified as a prospect wants to buy and buy now. This may eventually prove to be incorrect, but assume it anyway. Many people who are on the “edge” will make the decision to buy without your having to make a great deal of extra effort simply because you are so confident they want what you have to offer and today is the day they should buy.
Getting the Audience Involved in the Action
The more senses you can bring into play during the presentation, the better your chances of making a sale. Use sight, sound, feel, smell—anything you can to get prospects involved in your presentation.
Someone once said, “It takes less effort to keep an old customer satisfied than to get a new customer interested.” The final element of a great sales system is the follow-up. No matter what you are selling, your job doesn’t end the instant the client completes the purchase. You want your relationship with the customer to continue and grow stronger, so he will buy from you again and recommend you to friends.
Reinforce the Buying Decision
After you have made a sale, reinforce the buying decision immediately. Compliment the buyer’s choice by saying, very sincerely, something like, “Based on what you have told me, I’m sure your new exercise machine is exactly what you need to get in great shape. I know you are going to be very happy with it.” In other words, reassure your customer that the decision to buy your product, rather than one offered by anyone else, is an excellent one. Be sure to thank them for their business; they had a choice and they chose you.
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton
Because of the nature of business, it’s easy to forget that if we do not meet the needs of customers, they will simply leave. If they leave with an unsolved problem, they are liable to tell a whole bunch of people about their problem.