Do You Make These Mistakes in Sales and Marketing

Detailed discussion

Many entrepreneurs build better mousetraps only to find out that no one has any mice. Many professionals from lawyers to healers to software developers have a “build it and they will come” attitude, only to be rudely awakened by an indifferent market. If you don’t promote your company and let your ideal target know why you are “the obvious choice,” you will have a hard time being successful.

Sales and marketing are the lifeblood of any company, but in our experience, many companies make these common mistakes that sabotage their success.

1. What is the only purpose of copy in your business?

Answer: “The only purpose of copy in business is to make a sale”, Dan Kennedy. Run advertising with a clear call to action. An add without asking for some action by the reader will not help your business make a sale. However, that request for action should not be to buy now, but something that will as a “natural result” create the desire to buy. As with the best salesmen, “the best ads ask no one to buy. That is useless.”, Claude Hopkins, the father of advertising. Often, they do not quote a price. Ads should be based on the service you provide, with the advantages to the user. They may offer a trial or sample so the customer may prove the value without any risk or cost that does not guarantee results. Some of these ads may seem altruistic but are based on a clear understanding of human psychology.

2. What is the most effective way to determine what your customer wants?

Answer: Optimise advertising through rigorous testing. Unless you test you will not know what your customer wants. If you think you know what the wants you will probably be wrong. They will tell you by how they respond to your ad tests.

3. What is the most important aspect for the initial sale to new customer

Answer: Do not focus too much on monetizing initial sale without considering the long-term value. The first consideration in the initial sales is building a strong relationship of trust with the customer where they know you can help them get what they want and that you care. In the long term that customer may buy more from you and refer others to you. I heard of one pots and pan salesman that based his whole successful career on one cold call which later led to more sales and referrals because he built a powerful ‘part of the family’ relationship with that fist customer and subsequent referrals.

4. Should a business give free samples of their product to everyone they meet to get more customers?

Answer: False. Give only samples to those who have expressed interest, to prove the benefits you have explained to them.

But we do not advocate samples given out promiscuously. Samples distributed to homes, like waifs on the doorsteps, probably never pay. Many of them never reach the house or the housewife. When they do, there is no prediction for them. The product is cheapened. It is not introduced in a favorable way. So with demonstrations in stores. There is always a way to get the same results at a fraction of the cost.

Many advertisers do not understand this. They supply thousands of samples to dealers to be handed out as they will. Could a trace be placed on the cost of returns, the advertiser would be stunned.

Give samples to interested people only. Give them only to people who exhibit that interest by some effort. Give them only to people whom you have told your story. First create an atmosphere of respect, a desire, an expectation. When people are in that mood, your sample will usually confirm the qualities you claim.

5. Assuming you know the cost to acquire a customer, what is more important?

Answer: Again, do not focus too much on monetizing initial sale without considering the long-term value. The first consideration in the initial sales is building a strong relationship of trust with the customer where they know you can help them get what they want and that you care.

6. What is the single most important component of a product or service?

Answer: Competing only on price rather than creating a Unique Selling Proposition that fills a desire and differentiates you from the competition. Per the stats based on extensive research, as discussed in High Performance Selling by Brian Tracy, price is number five on the list of reasons why someone buys a product. The fist reason falls within the Unique Sell Proposition. In other words, how situatable the product or service is to solve a problem.

The common element of the business definitions is that the quality of a product or service refers to the perception of the degree to which the product or service meets the customer’s expectations. Quality has no specific meaning unless related to a specific function and/or object. Unless this attribute is satisfied, all the other attributes have little value. For convenience, they are listed in their order of importance, with price, although an important factor is the least important.

7. Of the following, what must is the most important to do before you try to sell anything to a prospect?

Answer: Do not make it hard for people to understand why they should buy from you. Start by “Finding out what people want, then show them how to get it.”- Bernard Baruch. Then you must have clear message, that demonstrates why you are uniquely qualified to give it to them.

8. If advertising is salesmanship multiplied, what is the single most important attribute of a good salesman?

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Answer: Many people think of advertising as ad-writing. Literary qualifications have no more to do with it than oratory has with salesmanship. One must be able to express himself briefly, clearly and convincingly, just as a salesman must. But fine writing is a distinct disadvantage. So is unique literary style. They take attention from the subject. They reveal the hook. Any studies done that attempt to sell, if apparent, creates corresponding resistance.

That is so in personal salesmanship as in salesmanship-in-print. Fine talkers are rarely good salesmen. They inspire buyers with the fear of over-influence. They create the suspicion that an effort is made to sell them on other lines than merit.

Successful salesmen are rarely good speech makers. They have few oratorical graces. They are plain and sincere men who know their customers and know their lines. So, it is in ad writing. Many of the ablest men in advertising are graduate salesmen. The best we know have been house-to-house canvassers. They may know little of grammar, nothing of rhetoric, but they know how to use words that convince.

There is one simple way to answer many advertising questions. Ask yourself,” Would it help a salesman sell the goods?” “Would it help me sell them if I met a buyer in person?” A fair answer to those questions avoids countless mistakes. But when one tries to show off, or does things merely to please himself, he is little likely to strike a chord which leads people to spend money. Some argue for slogans, some like clever conceits. Would you use them in personal salesmanship? Can you imagine a customer whom such things would impress? If not, don’t rely on them for selling in print.

9.  What is more important in the best advertisements?

Answer: Graphics used to amuse or to gain attention is like anything else that we use for that purpose. It may attract many times as many people, yet not secure a hearing from as many whom we want. The general rule applies. Do nothing to merely interest, amuse, or attract. That is not your province. Do only that which wins the people you are after in the cheapest possible way. But these are minor questions. They are mere economies, not largely affecting the results of a campaign.

The best ads ask no one to buy. That is useless. Often, they do not quote a price. They do not say that dealers handle the product. The ads are based entirely on service. They offer wanted information. They site advantages to users. Perhaps they offer a sample, or to buy the first package, or to send something on approval, so the customer may prove the claims without any cost or risks. Some of these ads seem altruistic. But they are based on the knowledge of human nature. The writers know how people are led to buy. Here again is salesmanship.

10. How long should your ad copy be?

Answer: Some say “Be very brief. People will read for little.” Would you say that to a salesman? With a prospect standing before him, would you confine him to any certain number of words? That would be an unthinkable handicap. So in advertising.

Advertising tells a complete story if the purpose is to make an immediate sale. You see no limitations there are on amount of copy. The motto there is, “The more you tell the more you sell.” And it has never failed to prove out so in any test we know.

Sometimes the advertiser uses small ads, sometimes large ads. None are to small to tell a reasonable story. But an ad twice larger brings twice the returns. A four times larger ad brings four times the returns, and usually some in addition. But this occurs only when the larger space is utilized as well as the small space. Set half-page copy in a page space and you double the cost in returns. We have seen many a test prove that.

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Rick McCulloch

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