Too often, marketing means “hard sell” not only to customers, but to business owners, solopreneurs, and marketing pro’s as well. Is there an antidote?
Why do we even need an antidote if we are already in business, and know we need sales? Because we’ve all been on the receiving end of “hard sell” pitches, and the memory is an easily activated ouch. While writing my book series, I thought often about the distinctions between marketing and sales, and a memory of my early days in direct marketing surfaced often. Here is a short snippet of the antidote it brought back up to the surface…
Book Excerpt from The Marketing Deck from the Prolog: A Pathway to Marketing (section 2)
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Listen first. Talk less. Stop selling.
Speaking of making noise, I learned early that giving the client your full attention was essential. Not only was it necessary to get the many details right, but it was the perfect way to show real respect. The client was always right, since they could walk away at any time. Listening yielded a welcome gift: their loyalty.
This required talking less, cutting out the hard sell you might expect from such a company. We weren’t the cheapest, we weren’t a mid-west mega-mailing giant, and we didn’t make crazy promises we couldn’t keep. If we thought we weren’t a fit, or couldn’t meet their deadline, we’d offer to refer them to someone who might.
Of course you’d prepare wonderful ideas and commitments you were ready to offer.
But if you let yourself get too wound up, you’d stop listening and miss the client’s signals in words or body language that they had something to ask, or were ready to buy.
We didn’t strong-arm clients with adversarial contracts either.
Hub Mail’s own marketing ethic relied upon handshakes, verbal commitments, a one-page quote, or a simple purchase order if needed. I’m convinced that the unspoken power of “Your Word Is Your Bond” naturally attracted clients who appreciated this way of doing business. It was certainly my experience.
I think of that era as the Halcyon Days of Direct Marketing. Contracts were essentially a short list of what we would provide, not ornate legal treatises. Fast forward to the present, where by contrast we gleefully click online Terms of Service without reading their endless disclaimers that put so much onus on the user, seeking to protect businesses in our far more litigious era. Are we really better off now?
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Among the biggest resistances business owners have is to setting aside time for marketing. That creates unworkable sales and revenue patterns, as putting marketing on the back burner is a recipe for stagnation and shrinking revenues. The Marketing Deck solves this inertia with the simplicity of “pick-a-card-any-card,” to get your brain out of pause and into creative thought. This naturally spurs the desire for experimentation, something business owners tend to do and tend to like being in action for. Go for it!
To read more, visit Amazon for the e-book version, or get the entire biz book trilogy in print: Amazon Author Page