There are major shifts happening in the sales world.
Call it buyers' empowerment. Before they even call or make inquiries, they are already familiar with what you offer, scouted around for the best price, quality, and features, asked around for feedback and comments, and almost always ready to buy.
What sales and marketing folks forget is that, instead of ramming through all the features, benefits, and salient points of your services and products, they need to ask the buyer, these probing questions:
1. Why did they come to them?
2. Who they consulted/checked first?
3. What are they looking for outstanding value? as it relates to need
Once you know the answers to your questions, you can create an irresistible offer that is incomparable from all the places they had visited/consulted. Emphasize what owning the product or service will have on the quality of their lives or relationships or health or status.
Don't forget people buy, not based on logic, but on emotions.
Last week, I met two service providers and had a chat about business. Both of them have admittedly, that their businesses were not doing particularly well.
One cited the lack of clients, while the other one cited the lack of time for the delivery.
Obvious to their situation, it doesn't take time to figure out that both of these professionals lack the awareness of their own marketing effectiveness or just plain effectiveness.
Time is also a silly excuse considering that this is not an avocation but a fully operational business. Lack of time to market and get in front of your customers means that you have decided that doing other activities are important than that. Period.
Lack of client means one thing: you are lacking the activity that will attract, convert, and retain those clients that are precious for your business to grow.
You can control these variables: time, talent, and available resources.
If you are, not then either you have given up, have inadequate strategies, or you are not executing those things that you know you should be doing.
Check yourself in the mirror.
A few things about me:
I am not a best-selling author.
Having this label means one day you are the top of the heap. That being said, you can say that you a 'best-selling' author.
I didn't do TEDx.
TEDx self-selects those that will be in front of the audience.
I am not in a millionaire/billionaire league.
This is the worst league to be in when you don't have a message just the monies to throw around.
I am not a PhD.
Having a PhD doesn't make you successful, smart, and happy.
I am not covered by Fast Company, New Times Journal, Time Magazine, etc.
Being covered by those media companies is great but it is more an icing to the cake.
I am not voted 43 out of 45.
Who gets to do that? Those people that are looking for more subscriptions.
I am not in the whos' who list.
You pay your way in there.
I am not in the Speakers bureau.
You have to audition and they get a cut out of your hard-earned work.
I am not in the YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter ad.
Trolling in those media is not what by clients do.
I am not a podcaster, TV or media host sensation.
Buying your way into this business is a sure sign you are in deep trouble.
I didn't speak with Deepak Chopra, Tim Robbins, or Michelle Obama on stage.
Having shared a stage with these personalities does not make you effective, relevant, and truly amazing.
Who has this profile? Thousands of people claiming to be a celebrity expert, author, blogger, marketer, consultant, etc.
But who am I?
I help organizations and individuals achieve organizational excellence.
I mentor many people from different parts of the world.
I am a community collaborator and builder.
I navigate many spaces and interesting networks that I enjoy learning from and giving value.
I have a lot of friends in many industries and sectors.
I am a global person with deep roots in communities.
I love to travel and enjoy cultural and psychological aspect of it.
I believe that you can make it anywhere.
Genes and your upbringing contribute to your resilience and grit.
I love my family, neighbors, friends and church.
I love to share my insights, lessons, and knowledge to those that are ready to hear.
I believe in the honest-to-goodness decency and goodness of people.
I believe in values, virtues, and principles to live by.
Being real is not hiding behind these labels and approval sheets that can be manufactured overnight. Being real is knowing that you can make a difference in real-world and in real-time to real people.
So tell me, who has the real worth, the fabricated sense of self or the real self?
For marketing your products and services, there are a few words for you, brave souls.
To be relentless in your belief that your product/service has a great value to offer. You have to believe it wholeheartedly in order that the buyer will not only know that you are truthful but you take great pride in what you do and the products that you market.
To be relentless that in our everyday work, you believe that there are many people that can benefit from your products/services that will improve their lives, whether professional, personal, economic, healthy, spiritual, or a combination of these.
If you don't believe in your own products and services, no one else will be convinced of its benefits, potency, relevancy, utility, and ease of use (other features!).
To be relentless is to provide outstanding customer service, before the sale, into the sale, and after-sales, building relationship so that the customer's needs are addressed and that they know they can count on you for help any time, whether they decide to buy from you or not.
For the best doctor, dentist, foot massage therapist, baker, lawyer, accountants- we go by the word-of-mouth and referrals from people we trust-our families, friends, and co-workers.
Referrals come from delighted clients and customers who are eager to spread the word because they were helped, their problems solved/alleviated, and their needs met. In other words, delighting the customer in your everyday work (not just when you are out there and banging the pavement) is paramount.
Whether you are on the phone, meeting new people, writing an email, in the subway or bus, queuing for that coffee, these are opportunities to market your products/services in a positive way- by telling them exactly why you love your own products/services.
Have you heard lately? People in organizations say beware of the consultants. They borrow your watch and tell you the time!
There is a reason for that. From top 5 consulting giant firms, to any Tom-Dick-Harry, everyone is saying they are consultants. From coaches, mentors, palm readers, salespersons and marketers, suppliers, computer geeks, web designers, coders, and anybody that is a solo business owner, they call themselves consultants too!
Well, there are management consultants, technical consultants, executive coaches, psychological counsellors, legal advisors, and many more are plenty around in different professions.
The marketplace is field with consultants of various stripes and colors, peddling different sorts of solutions based on various formula and potions.
Nowadays, there is a bit of cynicism about consultants because not all are good, not all are ethical, and not all could make it in six-figure take home income.
There may be hundred of consultants in one room but there is a huge diversity in application, in background, in skills set, in expertise, in geographical, sectoral experience, and many other essential variables.
It is up to the discerning client or prospective client to figure out the fake from the true ones, filter out the noisy from the substantive elements, and engage those that have actually created real value to comparable organizations in this sector. This is not a daunting task and more and more organization need that extra third party, objective, external validator, verifier, sounding board, advisor to accelerate your growth goals to the next level.
-Check them out. Get recommendations and references from previous clients.
-Know what you really want to achieve in every transaction. Just like any partnership, it should be a win-win proposition.
-Does this person have the credibility, integrity, expertise, and connection that you need? Are there things in your list that are a must or good-to-have?
-Don't go around shopping for the cheapest one. Price is not a predictor of value. Look for quality, value, and undisputed credibility in the field.
Whether you are buying a training material, planning a company retreat, or designing a performance management program, know you needs versus what your want. This will save you lots of time, effort, and troubles.
Take it from me. I am a consultant.
I have been browsing some websites of organizations lately.
I noticed a few things that stand out from my observation.
1. Websites that are dated are not tended and updated on a regular basis.
2. Websites that are unattractive are dated and not updated too.
3. Websites of organizations that are unattractive have disadvantages because people do not want to spend more time learning about the organization, therefore not being able to get them to donate, get involved, and become their supporters
4. Websites that are not well-maintained reflects the organization in a negative light, either they are too preoccupied with their operations, have no resources to get better websites or they do not care how they look online
All these things are assumptions people tend to make when they visit a website and found it lacking in many ways.
What we see with our own eyes is reality. And when we a great website, we know that the organization is probably great or doing a good job with their mission. These assumptions are made on the basis of the first impression- the online presence.
Make your online presence the best representation of the organization- interesting, relevant, and well-differentiated.