Dr. Brian Monger
In over some 40+ years of marketing I have noticed that many folk still don’t “get” marketing. Some areas in particular (artistic souls and princely professional practitioners) continue to eschew this most basic of business practises.
Despite tough times in many areas, there remains a strong feeling among certain folk that marketing, especially selling is just icky and beneath “good people”. Such folk ‘carry out client contact’, they ‘nurture personal relationships’ and hope business ‘just sort of arrives’.
They miss the reality that everyone markets. Most do it poorly. Of those, some also sneer at learning why it is a good thing for their business – and more importantly for clients and even society in general.
Certainly very few people in artistic or professional areas of practice, selected their career because they had a burning desire to sell things. Their training rarely came near the idea of developing business. Alas, reality often intrudes into such a world.
Unless you actually believe in the concept of the “better mousetrap” of Emmerson or your own guarantee of future business, better marketing and especially selling needs to be done, and it needs to be done well and professionally. The precise manner in which we think about and deal with clients becomes paramount, over any sense of our own worthiness of their business. Small differences in approach can make the difference between success and failure.
Effective modern marketing thinking (Relational Marketing) should pervade all aspects of how your business operates. Understanding that to succeed you need clients. What clients think and what they want is more important to your on-going success than what you think and want. Attitudes to what “product” (both services and goods) are offered (and not offered), what fees are charged and “where” you do business (it’s no longer just a bricks and mortar world is it?) are inherent to the marketing process.
Of all elements you will apply to better your marketing, the Promotional techniques are the most visible, and are certainly a major element of marketing.
When potential clients buy your artistic, technical or professional competence they want to be sure they are dealing with the right source. They will define this as the one with whom there is the greatest certainty of getting the job they are looking at, done right.
Put yourself in their position. How do they know a good job will be done? In many ways the answer, if they have not used your organisation before (and even perhaps if they have), is simple. They cannot know. Since who you are and what you do may be largely unknown probably untestable
So, they seek some method of prediction – from everything they can test. Among the things that contribute to this, the opinions of others is likely to rank high. That opinion will be based not only on the artistic, technical etc job they had done, but their perceptions of how interested you seemed in them and what they wanted.
At some point, if they have found you they will, without doubt, be checking you and/or your other people (including the receptionist) and, they are most likely checking out one, two or more of your competitors.
Of course, you and your colleagues are good and competent at what you do. You are technically and professionally competent and you know you are nice people to do business with. Surely their business will follow?
Well maybe. Perhaps. But if that’s all you are relying in its likely too little. Closer to relying on good luck than good management. It certainly isn’t good marketing.
Even in your sector, it is just possible that the other organisations being checked out may have some pleasant and efficient people too? Some people will no doubt do business with you simply because they like you best. Others may weigh other things in the balance.
They will want you to be knowledgeable, efficient, reliable; they may want you to have expert knowledge. They will certainly want to feel you understand them, their specific needs and their situation and to act with that understanding in mind.
It is likely that the first chance (and perhaps the only chance) you will have of demonstrating your competence is when you should also be selling. Your excellence may shine through when you start work but, unless it does so earlier, you may never start. And if your talent cannot be known to them until the job is complete, you should have done a better job upfront in the selling process.
The fragile nature of the early contact makes it important that in every element of your communication – technical and professional that your selling – is done correctly. Done correctly in a way that will not only maximise the chances of people doing business with you but smoothing the whole process.
A further point is worth remembering is that people in technical and technical and professional organisations are expensive.. The opportunity cost of everything done other than doing fee-earning projects, is a considerable part of your operation. If things are being done inadequately, two meetings where one should have sufficed, or if the success rate – the number of new clients in relationship to the number of prospects with whom you are in discussion – is too low, it becomes very expensive. Selling must be effective because it takes time, and costs money.
What do you need to do better?
First, know that what you actually do is market. What you market is your Product. Excluding luck, how you market is the key factor in your success.
The personal interaction you have with clients and prospects can be called many things, but in good business thinking, the words marketing and selling should not be absent.
Good commercial personal interaction – selling to win and hold clients is a sequential and cumulative process. It needs to be understood and done well.
The stages involve different methods of communication. What is done must be effective and persuasive.
Are you motivated or equipped to “sell”?
Hopefully by know you have developed some motivation, or I suppose you are no longer with us as a reader
Selling is a complex process, but it is not intellectually taxing. You can become good at it if you wish to do better for your clients and for yourself. It is mostly based on common sense, but it must be well understood and planned to create the best approach.
It is important that the basics become habits and that will be refined through experience.
There need be no danger that increased use of sales technique will make you appear ‘pushy’ either, because that is not you and it would be self-defeating.
What are the basics?
The core of what makes the basis for sales technique, is twofold and both elements start on the client’s side of the relationship – the way in which people make buying decisions.
Buying is simply an action that satisfies a need; that is a means to achieve objectives, a goal, ambition or end result.
To be effective you need to know there are many kinds and combinations of need that will create a purchase situation. Talking to and some basic research with prospects and clients can identify these.
Where to from here?
Well you can read more of our smartamarketing blogs. Even some shorter ones on smartamarketing2.wordpress.com
And check out the main MAANZ website – http://www.marketing.org.au