Finding the best way to help sales generate value

September 20, 2010
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Salespeople are desperate to sell something — but customers want to buy. And in these times, there are fewer customers “wanting.”

Selling versus buying is still the biggest gap in the world of sales and marketing, and has been for 100 years. And the tactics and strategies that worked 10 years ago aren’t working any more.

People who are waiting for things to get “back to normal” have a long wait ahead of them.

Reality: One look at almost every daily newspaper’s financial condition tells you that the world is changing the way marketing, sales, advertising and awareness campaigns are being conducted.

Reality: Direct mail? Waning. It’s due to the high cost of design, print and mailing, coupled with a low response rate. Direct mail is rapidly being replaced with e-mail.

Reality: Cold calling? Not a total waste of time, but close: 98.5 percent (or greater) rejection rate. I love getting e-mails from salespeople telling me that cold calling still works and that they make a lot of money cold calling. First of all, we differ on the definition of “a lot,” and second, most of the people who e-mail me are social media — if not computer — illiterate.

(Worse) reality: Social media is in the hands of big corporate lawyers trying to figure out safety and compliance (good luck) in what could be the dumbest, costliest, CYA in the Internet era.

And all this at a time when business needs more business.

I received the following e-mail:

Jeffrey, I am planning a marketing campaign this quarter with one of my vendors. It typically goes like this: We buy a list of prospects, hire someone to canvass them via phone calls for interest, and then invite them to a webinar on the subject. We are selling integrated software for distribution, manufacturing, retail and maintenance service providers. So far, this has not yielded any great results. There must be a better way to get the message out about what we do and how we can make their staff more productive and save money doing it with a great payback, but how?

My answer: Huh? What do you expect when you hand a list to someone else (quasi-qualified telemarketers) requesting they call total strangers (quasi-qualified people)?

Reality: There’s a huge difference between your sales offer and a value message. Sales offers repel, or are only accepted at the moment of genuine need. Value messages attract and keep you at “top of mind” for when an actual need occurs.

When you send out a sales offer, or call a sales offer, people who don’t need it at that moment will tell you no or ignore you. People who already have what you offer will tell you no or ignore you. And people who don’t know you and are skeptical of your offer will tell you no or ignore you. That’s pretty much everyone.

Sales offers are forgotten the next day. Value messages are timeless and build credibility until genuine time of need.

And why are you bragging about yourself? Where are your customers? Where are the testimonials?

Answer: Re-think the way you provide information to customers (a marketing strategy), and you may open up a few more doors. If your website, your e-mail magazine, or your blog offers information about what your software does, how people produce from it and how people profit from it, you may have a chance of attracting customers without making that sales call.

If you’re tweeting a value message each day about production ideas, profit ideas, manufacturing safety ideas and other things that relate to your customer, you’ll begin to get followers. If your business Facebook page is available for your customers to comment on and posts stories and events, you can get thousands of people to “like” you.

The key in making today’s sales call is to change your mindset and make it a value call, so that others might be interested in learning more from you, rather than disinterested in a pitch from you.

And please do not misinterpret this message. Advertising works — always has, always will. But it works 100 times better with people who have a need, know you, believe in you, have confidence in you and trust you. Those elements are all found within the word “value.”

Everyone is looking to measure their ROI in everything they do. I agree, but just measuring dollars against marketing won’t help you make sales. If you’re looking to make more sales now, make certain your prospective customers value you and your company first.

Tweet that.

Free Git-Bit: And if you’re looking for some ideas about your social media strategy, go to www.youtube.com and search GITOMER SOCIAL MEDIA. Jeffrey Gitomer can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail salesman@gitomer.com.

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