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Important Factors That Come Into Play When Hiring Sales And Marketing Services

Are you planning to start up a new business? Are you looking for an option to improve the productivity and profit ratio of your company? If so, looking for sales and marketing services is very important. When you are starting a business, you should know the fact that marketing plays an important role in the success and growth of it. Therefore, if you are not focusing on these aspects during the initial stages of your company, you may not able to sustain in the market for a long time. As marketing plays an important role in improving the brand name and reputation of the company, it is very important to use the right strategies. When you are using marketing strategies for your business, it is very important to select the right ones considering the type of business you run. Moreover, it is should be suitable for the changing trends.

When you are looking for sales and marketing services, it is very important to make sure that you are selecting a service provider, which can understand your needs and provide you different solutions according to it. These experts should also perform various researches and advertise your business for boosting the sales. The company you are dealing with should also understand the needs of the customers as well as their behavior and find ways for satisfying them. The sales and marketing strategies used by these companies should also create a value for the customers as well as help your company to build a good rapport with them.

If you are selecting an expertise company, make sure they are specialized in some of the important arenas such as pre sales support, distribution, product development, pricing, product promotion, customer relationship management etc. Although, you will be able to find many companies that claim to offer the best marketing service, selecting the right one should be done with proper care. Before making a final decision, make sure the company has a good reputation and ranking in the market. Moreover, you should also know about the quality of the services provided by the company by performing a through background research on them.

A good sale and marketing service will study the type of business you run and provide different effective marketing strategies that can improve the production as well as sales. Looking for a company that is also specialized in audit support is also very important. This can help you to get rid of the hassles and stress that you have to face during the taxing period.

It does not matter what type of business you run or what products and service you provide through it, hiring a good marketing company is very important for your future growth and development. Incase, if you are not able to find a good marketing company in your area, researching on the internet could be the best option for you. When you are looking online, you will be able to find more information on the company you select.

The Only 5 Sales and Marketing Ideas You Need To Know

There is a ton of sales and marketing information out there – what is actually worth your time and what isn’t? I’ve read numerous books, listened to plenty of presentations and conducted several training sessions on sales and marketing. Some of it has been junk, some of it has been recycled common sense, but some has been pure gold. What I will do today is try to boil down the key themes (that work) of sales and marketing in five easy to remember chunks.

Why Should You Care?
Why should you care about this, even if you’re title or job description doesn’t have marketing or sales in it? Because EVERYONE sells. If you are not directly selling products or services, you might be selling your boss on giving you a promotion or letting you lead a project, persuading your spouse as to where your next vacation should be, trying to motivate your employees to get things done, selling yourself at an interview to get that job (you packaged your resume in a way that the recruiter bought in – marketing), or developing a product that you think people will want. I could go on about how many things that we do everyday involves sales and marketing. Daniel Pink’s To Sell Is Human book is a great read that I just finished which discusses this very topic and tells of how to increase your salability.

Peter Drucker said this about all business, “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two-and only two-basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.” If you can wrap your mind around this and be successful at those two functions, your business will greatly succeed. Okay, let’s get into the meaty goodness…

1. Scarcity Drives Demand
No this is not a lesson in economics 101, however it is a rule of economics that holds true. When things are limited or exclusive to a group of people, customers want it. It’s part of the “you want what you can’t have” cliche. Think back to high school. You may have gotten dumped by your sweetie (maybe you weren’t even that crazy about the person). Now that single person is all that you want, all that you can think about. That person just became an extremely scarce resource to you. Okay – common sense, right? However, there are some specifics that make it even more effective. The scarcity rule is most effective when:

  • The thing desired is newly scarce
  • The news of its scarcity is exclusive

(Example: An Australian beef importer had called its customers to test this idea. There was going to be a shortage of beef. On the phone with customers they would say, “We have just heard from our exclusive source in Australia [an expert - we'll get to that later] that there is going to be a significant shortage, how much beef would you like to order.” Don’t worry this was a true shortage, they did not simply make it up. This single act caused sales to spike dramatically.

2. Social Proof
As human beings, we are innately social creatures. This has helped our survival for thousands of years. We look to others for cues on how to live, eat, act, work – on just about everything. It’s only natural that we seek out social proof in order to confirm our purchase decisions. We feel more comfortable in making a decision if we are backed by other people. There are four main types of social proof:

  • Approval from others that we know and trust – When a friend or family member suggests that we go see a movie or try out a new website for tracking our budget, we tend to buy in at some level. We become comfortable with the idea because they did it.
  • Approval from the masses – We see product websites and TV commercials with tons of testimonials. When we hear other people had a pleasant experience, we are much more likely to buy. This may not be as powerful as approval from those we know and trust, but it is a powerful tool nonetheless. Think reviews on Amazon.com. Perhaps the best example is Michael Jordan and Nike creating the Michael Jordan shoe – a franchise that still lives on today.
  • Celebrity endorsement – like it or not, Western culture is obsessed with celebrity. We read magazines about what they eat, what they wear and who their current love is (even if it’s not true). When a celebrity endorses a product and that celebrity has people that follow and want to be like them, that is a quick way to get a large group of people to buy.
  • Expert opinion – When a doctor recommends we try something – a medication or other therapy, aren’t we very likely to try that? Or when expert research is shared with us about the product we are more likely to buy.

3. Less is More
Another term we have heard so many times, but is so true. When people are given more of anything it becomes harder to process and make decisions. Here are a few types of the less is more principle in action:

  • When a customer has less choices, they are more likely to purchase. There is a famous study that was done where a seller of jams at one time had a table of 24 varieties and at another time only 6. After completing the experiment researchers found that on average the table with 24 varieties only sold jam to 3% of customers, while the one with 6% sold jam to 30% of customers.
  • In branding and advertising, less words = more. In a world full of distractions and seemingly non-existent attention spans, companies need to battle for mindshare. This is why you should try to associate your brand with 1 to 3 words. What comes to mind when you think of the word “search.” Did you think Google? Another part of using less words is in advertising, the less you put on an ad the more people will read. An ad with two words will catch the attention of many more people than an ad with a paragraph. Simple.
  • Adding can subtract to value. In a study discussed in Pink’s book there was an experiment where a company was selling a two versions of the same program. One had the full package and they also threw in a free book; the other was just the full package. People were willing to pay more for the package without the book. By adding something less valuable on top of another product, the value had gone down in customers minds.

4. The Law of Reciprocity
Human beings all over the world in different cultures and languages act upon the law of reciprocity. If I do something for you, you feel at least somewhat obligated to do something for me. A popular leadership professor, Dr. Robert Cialdini from Stanford University, gave a speech that included this very subject. He wanted to test out this theory, so he began to send Christmas cards to random strangers. Some of these people started sending Christmas cards to him every year, and he continued to send to them, and eventually became friends with these people.

When people are given something, they feel obligated to give to you in some way. Many companies give customers a small item or do them a favor, and the customer ends up purchasing from them later. Obviously it’s not a guarantee to success, but it does increase chances of success.

5. Stories and Experiences, Not Things and Benefits
When it comes to selling and the future of selling, the ones who understand how to tell a story and create experiences for their customers will win. Traditionally the selling method had been to have a great product and tell the customer about its benefits. When you get to the core reason for many purchases, people don’t buy because of the benefits. Benefits can be helpful to the customer in the process, but what they want is beyond that.

Ted Levitt, a popular economist and former Harvard Business School professor was famous for saying, “People don’t want to buy a quarter inch drill, they want to buy a quarter inch hole.” This is the next evolution of selling, selling solutions. Solutions based selling goes beyond benefits and specs, and solves the problem that you are currently facing. Great, we’ve made some progress, but we’re not quite there. Keep asking why.

Why does the person want a quarter inch hole? Is it for a room they are renovating? Are they working on a craft project? What is the imagination they hold in their head? Get to that and you may have a customer for life. This is the next step in the evolution of selling, getting to the root motive. Continuing with the drill example. Perhaps you could help the customer imagine all of the great projects they will do with this handy drill there with them. Tell a story of a customer that built an award winning piece of furniture with this drill.

Stories and experiences touch the hearts of people. When emotions get involved, people no longer care about making computer-like rational decisions. In fact, that is how we operate 99% of the time. Our decisions are made by some type of emotional pull, even though we may mask it as rational. I may do a future post on this topic.

Now You Are Equipped
You now have the tools that you need to put into practice to become the best salesperson, marketer, entrepreneur, etc. Although this is not an exhaustive list of all sales & marketing techniques, if you get these right the others are insignificant. Actually, many successful marketers and salespeople use just one or two of these ideas really well.

My challenge to you is to start with one. Think of examples of how you can implement one. Try one per week or one per month and get really good at it, then move on to the next.

Gentle But Firm Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing is not about being nice all the time!

Gone are the days when righteous companies pronounced their message from on high and eager consumers flocked to purchase the latest breakthrough life-changing product. Those days – if they ever existed – where times of integrity in business where buyers got exactly what was advertised and sellers knew a person’s word was their bond.

Nowadays the business world is full of ambiguity and outright confusion, mistrust and outright fraud, suspicion and outright deceit. It is not all bad but the bottom line is that that both buyers and sellers are wary and get burnt every day by spending time and money on people who are simply not serious about doing good business.

Here are five rules to keep in mind when engaging customers.

1. Be Principled

Sales and marketing is not about the customer being first. Rather, like everything else in life, principle comes first which means integrity and good business. You should certainly put the customer before yourself but not before principle. Do not demean yourself do do business with anyone. Rather make sure you always maintain your dignity and that you do not feel belittled or that you need to compromise your values. Offer respect and insist on respect in return

2. Give And Take

Many – if not most – customers today do not always do what they say they will. Remember that sales and marketing is a two-way street. If you continue to offer your time and work and get nothing in return then you are wasting your time. Hold customers accountable to getting back to you when they say and doing what they say. When you begin the sales process expect a reciprocal step for every step you take. A “one strike”rule is sometimes appropriate with new customers. If they let you down twice then politely withdraw until they are serious

3. Time Is Money

Imagine if each hour of your time was a hundred dollar bill. Would you better qualify folks to spend your time on or hand out money to all and sundry? Your time as a sales and marketing professional is worth more than that so make sure your minutes count. If a customer does not demonstrate they are engaged through their actions then do not spend sales and marketing time on them. Plenty of people sound interested on the phone but don’t fall into the trap of “first conversation high” where you never hear back from them again. Serious customers act (which includes returning calls and e-mails!)

4. Call Them Out

“I am confused, didn’t you say…?” This may sound like a cheesy line from a 1960s sales book but is actually a powerful question that will help you close more deals, weed out customers who are not serious and make you a better overall sales and marketing professional. If they told you they have a problem and that they are ready to purchase if you can show them a solution then call them out on it. If they ask for a call back on Tuesday and then blow you off ask why. Get out of your comfort zone and get customers out of their comfort zone. Then gently guide the process forward

5. Be Nice but not Naive

The greatest customers to do business with are the greatest people and you should definitely spare no opportunity to be as nice as you can to everyone you meet and speak with. However, do not be naive and go all out for customers who are not serious. Remember to temper your niceness with realness. Otherwise people, despite their good intentions, will end up taking advantage of you and minimize you in their minds. Think about that really nice and well-meaning salesperson you talked to on the phone the other day who you don’t really connect with or take seriously for some reason. Don’t be them!