Last week I wrote an unusual article about revolutionary marketing: how to create an untapped market for your business. In it, I laid out the rationale for this kind of marketing which basically means going against the market.
Rather than compete by focusing on meeting the needs of today, carve out a new market for yourself by focusing on meeting the needs of tomorrow. If you haven’t yet, make sure you read it, click here.
In continuing this series on revolutionary marketing, I present to you the blueprint for going against the market profitably.
Revolutionary Marketing: Why Going AGAINST The Market Is PROFITABLE
If I were asked to state the very essence of entrepreneurship in its most basic form, I would say its delivering change [innovation]. The task of entrepreneurs is to move humanity forward. The world could continue as it has always been but for the existence of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are creative trouble makers; they make change happen whether the world wants it or not!
Revolutionary marketing is exactly what it is; causing profitable trouble in the market. The classy title for this is innovation. But let’s just call it as it is because anything that is against the norm is big trouble for the existing competition. And in the history of today’s business, perhaps one company stands tall as the biggest trouble maker; Apple.
Apple is riding high by causing trouble in the market. The company sold 67 million iPads in the first two years, whereas it took three years to sell that many iPhones, five years to sell that many iPods and 24 years to sell that many Macs. They seem to have mastered the art of profitably causing trouble in every industry they enter; from the music industry [iPod and iTunes], to the movie industry [Pixar], the computing industry [iMac, iPad, MacPro], the mobile industry [iPhone], and now the television industry [iTV].
How To Market Innovation Like Apple
Define WHY You Exist [Purpose]
All companies are in business, but not all companies know why they are in business. For some the why is the money, the majority of companies belong to this category. And for a few, the why is the gap they want to fill in the world/market, the change they want to deliver, the contribution they want to make, the problem they want to solve.
Apple has great vision and focus. They know exactly why they exist. The company creates products that solve a problem, and they do what needs to be done to solve that problem and nothing more. The creation of products to solve simple everyday problems is a significant part of Apple’s success story. Every single Apple product complements and completes each other.
Get an iPod, and you can download content via iTunes and access them though iCloud and use that to move content to iPad or other devices. They sort of control over the entire user experience or process, from hardware to software, and this strengthens customer loyalty and provide lock-in. You cannot leave Apple once you’re in!
Stand For Something [Values]
There’s no way you will ever succeed in business if your strategy revolves around being like others. To win in business, you’ve got to be prepared to go against the market and going against the market demands innovation. Standing for something is how you develop the required guts market your innovation.
According to Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook, the company’s business philosophy is summarized below;
- We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products.
- We believe in the simple, not the complex.
- We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make.
- We participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.
- We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us.
- We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.
- We don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.
Think Different [Strategy]
“Here’s To The Crazy Ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world – are the ones who DO!”
Here’s the video clip of “Think Different” as narrated by Steve Jobs himself in 1997, make sure you watch it!
Apple has defied what is normally expected of businesses as expressed through their core philosophy, which is; that the user doesn’t always know what they want. According to legendary founder Steve Jobs; “it’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
They looked at the technology industry, they saw which direction everyone was going, and they ran the opposite direction, without looking back. The production of the Mac is based on a vertical integration model in that Apple facilitates all aspects of its hardware and creates its own operating system [software] that is pre-installed on all Mac computers.
This is in contrast to most IBM PC compatibles, where multiple sellers create and integrate hardware intended to run another company’s operating software. Where others focus on one aspect of the equation, Apple focuses on the entire product, and it shows. Today, one single look at Apple’s stock price will tell you that going against the market is a profitable decision to make!
Create Your Own Tribe [Community]
You don’t need a crowd [everyone] to start a revolution; all you need is a tribe [community]. No revolution was ever started by the majority; all revolution begins with a minority.
So if you are going to revolutionize the market, you can’t start with everyone. Everyone is not going to get the change you are trying to make, so don’t even bother. Rather, focus on raising your own tribe, a community of like minds.
You see, in every market, the majority are the masses, they don’t lead change because they don’t have a mind of their own, they are followers. The minority are the early adopters, they don’t follow, they lead change because they have a mind of their own. Start your revolution with them!
Apple has been doing this from their early years in business; they have never tried to please everyone. In 1984, in the first advert for the Macintosh computer, to announce to the world that they are not for everyone, they boldly declared; on January 24th, Apple computer will introduce the Macintosh. And you will see why 1984, won’t be like “1984”!
Watch the Video, truly revolutionary!
The introduction of every Apple product has always been first to the tribe in a strictly by invitation press conference. This has become the mother of all product launches because of the element of secrecy adopted by Apple. The mere fact that not everyone gets to see their new products drives the whole market crazy. And guess what? The demand skyrockets because the masses want to keep up with the early adopters.
Over to you!
Here’s the reality, if you are not causing a market revolution, then be prepared for a market extinction!
So, how are you revolutionizing your market? What change are you delivering? What trouble are you profitably causing?
What other ways besides those listed above can one adopt in marketing innovation?
What specific lessons did you acquire from reading this and what specific ways do you intend to apply the lesson in your business?
Can’t wait to hear from you!
The general maxim of marketing is this; know what your target market want and sell it to them. Following this maxim is an age long business philosophy. The results are unquestionable, it works. Giving people what they want works, because there’s no resistance whatsoever.
You never get to rock the boat. You never have to challenge the existing order. You get what you want, they get what they want, no cause for alarm, everybody wins. This type of marketing is what I call —transactionary marketing.
What Is Transactionary Marketing?
Transactionary marketing is marketing for today. It is all about meeting the wants and needs of the market today. Find a need and fill it. A very typical example is this; selling food to a hungry person. It’s obviously a no brainer. Anyone and everyone can do this, as a matter of fact; very little marketing is even required. Just show up in any location where there are a lot of hungry people. For example, in a school, at a conference venue, around offices or on a busy street.
This type of marketing is built on the premise that your target market sees things or views the world in a particular way and this way of seeing or viewing the world shapes their wants and needs. As a marketer, all you need to do is to see things or view the world from their perspective, simple. This way, you will be able to clearly identify and understand what their immediate wants and needs are. No much effort required, after all if you study them long enough, you will eventually begin to see like they see.
This way of seeing in marketing is known as worldview.
It basically means the perception or the lens through which your target market view and interpret things. For easy comprehension, let’s just call it mindset. Transactionary marketing is all about understanding the mindset of your target market and packaging your offering [product/service] to align with that mindset. It is just like ‘mirror marketing’, simply give back what you see. What you see is what you get kind of marketing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it kind of marketing.
I wish this were the case 100% of the time, life would have been so sweet right? No! I am glad life isn’t this way all of the time, because of all men we would have been the most miserable. How do I mean?
Worldviews Resist Change And Limit Innovation
Imagine a world where we only get what we want exactly how we want it, wouldn’t that be boring? Imagine a world that lacked innovation, where nothing unexpected happens, where everything is predictable. What a boredom!
The problem with transactionary marketing is that it gives no room for innovation because it focuses on meeting only the wants and needs of today. It’s marketing for the average folks; those who focus on living for today. If all you do is to give the market what they want and need today, then you won’t last long in business. Why? Because soon what the market wants today will soon fade away and tomorrow they will be in pursuit of newer things.
You see, variety they say is the spice of life. Meaning, people will always be in demand of the newest things in town. They will get tired of the old; this is what drives the world of business. If as an entrepreneur you are not creating innovative products/services that meet the wants and needs of tomorrow, then you face the risk of becoming obsolete!
As entrepreneurs, our role is not to preserve the status quo; our role is to challenge it. Entrepreneurs break new grounds, they deliver the future, and they stretch our worldviews. Before the airplane was invented, the general worldview of people was that flying was impossible. It is not the responsibility of the market to change their worldviews; it is the entrepreneurs’ responsibility to.
People over a certain period of time, get bored of getting the same old thing over and over again in the same old way. They won’t make the change until an alternative shows up. MySpace felt they were the best at social network platforms until Facebook came along and everyone switched. Yahoo mail was the king of email, until Google raised the bar with Gmail.
Revolutionary Marketing: The NEED For CHANGE!
Revolutionary marketing is the marketing for change. This is marketing that challenges the status quo. It involves raising the bar and going beyond what people want to buy today to giving them what they need to buy tomorrow. It is marketing not for a product or service alone, but for the advancement of a cause, an idea, a new way of living; a change of worldview. The objective is not just to make the sale, but to make a difference, to make change happen!
The very essence of life is advancement, growth, change. Meaning, things will never be the same. The market knows this, but they rely on entrepreneurs to make the needed change happen. They rely on entrepreneurs to advance the course of humanity by delivering the impossible. The market knows what they want today, but rarely do they know what they will need tomorrow.
As humans what we want may not always be what we need. The natural being we are makes it hard for us to want what will cause us to change. The truth is, we want things to remain the same, especially those things that we enjoy. But history has proved time and again that change is the only thing that moves humanity forward.
Revolutionary marketing is built on the ground breaking concept of Blue Ocean Strategy; go where profits and growth are and where the competition isn’t.
The Blue Ocean Strategy is based on a study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than 100 years and 30 industries, authors Kim and Mauborgne argue that tomorrow’s leading companies will succeed not by battling competitors, but by creating “blue oceans” of uncontested market space ripe for growth. Such strategic moves—termed “value innovation”—create powerful leaps in value for both the firm and its buyers, rendering rivals obsolete and unleashing new demand.
The 5 principles of the Blue Ocean Strategy:
- Create Uncontested Market Space
- Make The Competition Irrelevant
- Create And Capture New Demand
- Break The Value-Cost Trade-Off
- Align The Whole System Of A Company’s Activities In Pursuit Of Differentiation And Low Cost
Only Unusual Entrepreneurs Deliver The Future
Revolutionary marketing is marketing for the future. It is marketing for tomorrow not today. Unusual entrepreneurs who change the world do so through revolutionary marketing. Steve Jobs made Apple into what it is today through revolutionary marketing. Bill Gates changed the course of history when he took the computer and made it personal for every individual to own one. People were already satisfied with the mainframe computers, they didn’t ask for more but when they saw more, they wondered how they had lived with less.
Innovation doesn’t come from just meeting the wants of the market today, it comes from exceeding it by addressing their needs tomorrow. Selling the obvious won’t keep you in the market for long. Revolutionary marketing is seeing beyond the obvious. The world was satisfied with analog cameras until digital cameras showed up. When Sony launched their mobile compact disc player, the Walkman, no one asked for it. But when it hit the market, people wondered how they had been living without it.
But how come the market rarely wants to change? Because it doesn’t require courage to follow the norm. Change is scary and people don’t like to be scared. They prefer to stick with what they have always known. People don’t want to buy change because it demands a change of their worldviews. As a matter of fact, they don’t even know how to change their worldviews, that’s why unusual entrepreneurs exist.
Thank God for unusual entrepreneurs who are courageous enough to push the boundaries of mediocrity. Thank God they dare to be more, to do more and give more than what the world ever asked for. Thank God they are not driven by what the market wants alone, but also by what they know will make a difference. These unusual ones are driven by change and not the laws of demand and supply. And because they do, they end up creating a market for themselves!
Unusual Entrepreneurs deliver change. Unusual Entrepreneurs make ideas happen. Unusual Entrepreneurs deliver the future. Unusual entrepreneurs are the causes of market revolutions. Unusual entrepreneurs disrupt the existing order, status quo, norm and traditional ways of doing things . They are not going into business to do it like others have been doing it, they raise the bar. They take the market to another level. They take the industry further; they give more than the market wants.
Now that you’ve identified the difference between transactionary marketing and revolutionary marketing, so how do you put it to work? This is going to be the focus of the next unusual article in this series. I strongly recommend you sign up with the form below to ensure you don’t miss out on the preceding parts of this series.
Also, I am counting on your comments about this concept of revolutionary marketing. What’s your own take on it? How valid do you think it applies in the real world? What other examples further validates it or negates it?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below, thanks for reading!
Differentiate Online: How To Use The Internet To Find, Attract, Convert And Retain Profitable Customers
I launched naijapreneur two years ago to celebrate my 26th birthday. Last year, I launched the unusual entrepreneur’s journey ebook to celebrate my 27th birthday. This year’s gift is coming in a little bit late, but as they say, it’s better late than never!
So what’s this year’s birthday gift?
This year, I am launching a complete internet marketing solution that works for smart businesses. It’s called Differentiate Online. It is a combination of services, products, and education that will help unusual entrepreneurs leverage on the internet to find, attract, convert and retain profitable customers.
It focuses on helping smart businesses answer 4 critical questions essential to their success.
1. How do we FIND potential customers?
2. How do we ATTRACT them to checkout our products/services?
3. How do we CONVERT them from prospects into profitable customers?
4. How do we RETAIN them to ensure a long term win-win relationship?
In other words, how do you get your target market to know, like and trust your brand?
A New Era of Marketing
In the past, there existed only three major marketing channels available for businesses to send out marketing messages to their target audience. Collectively they were called mass media. What were they?
1. Print -newsapers, magazines, billboards, handbills or flyers etc.
With these three major weapons of marketing, the age of mass marketing was born. Businesses simply had to create campaigns and just spread them through these mass mediums. The war of winning the market was won by the business with the biggest purse who could spread their message or marketing campaigns through all three mass media.
The more of these three channels they could spread their message through, the more of their target audience they reached. This was how the marketing term advertising came to be very popular. The way it worked was very simple, hire some group of creative minds who called themselves advertising agencies to craft a marketing message or campaign for your business and simply spread them through any or all of the three major mass media depending on your budget.
Marketing then was all about the money; only those who could pay for exposure on these mass media channels had a higher market share. This made more and more small businesses to be left in the dark and contributed to their limited growth. Again, this is no longer the case. The game has changed because there has been an addition to the three major marketing channels available.
This new addition is not one-way communication or broadcasting as the previous three (print, radio, and TV) where only the marketer was allowed to spread their message to their target audience. This new addition is a two-way communication between you the marketer and they the target customers.
This new addition is not mass media, it is called social media and it is powered by the internet. The internet is the fourth marketing channel available to businesses to get their messages out to their target audience.
So today, we have the following marketing channels;
1. Print -newsapers, magazines, billboards, handbills or flyers etc.
The playing field of marketing changed forever with the invention of the internet. Why? Because it didn’t cost as much to be on the internet as it cost to be on the three previous marketing channels. Unlike other three marketing channels that existed before the internet which were privately owned and controlled by media companies, the internet is a public domain.
Meaning that no one person, company, country or government owned or controlled the internet. This simple difference made all the difference in the world of marketing. Because no one determined who uses the internet, it made it completely affordable for any one and indeed everyone to go online.
All it takes is a having website, which serves as your office online. Because no one controlled the price or cost of being online, small businesses now have a chance to make their mark in the world of business. Now small businesses are giving the big marketing spenders a run for their money. How does that make you feel as a small business owner?
Don’t know about you, but I personally believe that this is the best time to be in business. The playing field has been leveled. Anyone with a product/service can find, attract, convert and retain their target market into profitable customers using the internet as a marketing channel.
Today, both small, medium and big businesses now compete for the attention of the customer through the same channel —the internet. Today, with some little funds backed with a lot of will power and creativity, a small business can out-market the big competition leveraging on the power of the internet.
How To Differentiate Online
Below are the four essential elements you need to differentiate your brand online!
To DIFFERENTIATE online, you need an UNUSUAL website that STANDS OUT from the competition. Your website is your office/shop on the internet. It is the replica of your physical ‘brick and mortar’ office/shop. However, on the internet, you don’t have a second chance to make a good impression because the quality of what you are offering is judged by the look and feel of your site. So you need an unusual web design that is creatively crafted to reflect your brand, set you apart from the competition and captivate your target audience.
To DIFFERENTIATE online, your website needs to tell a compelling STORY that captures the INTEREST and ATTENTION of your target audience by clearly addressing their needs and wants. Your website is your office/shop online and the contents on it are your sales team. They have to be creatively crafted to help your target customers get one of the two things they are looking for online;
- A solution to a problem they have but don’t want
- A result they want but don’t currently have.
Your site must be able to clearly articulate the benefits of doing business with you.
To DIFFERENTIATE online, your website needs to be VISIBLE on search engines like google, yahoo, bing, ask, etc and social networks like facebook, twitter, linkedin, youtube, google+ etc. in order to ATTRACT visitors from them. The reason why you created an office/shop online [website] is to make the existence of your business known to your target customers. In other words, you want your website to be a lead generation tool for your business.
To DIFFERENTIATE online, your website must be able to turn TRAFFIC (visitors) into SALES (customers). The whole essence of internet marketing is to make more sales. But sales are not made in an instant. Sales are made by following up on leads and getting them to know, like and trust your brand. This is why you need an effective follow-up system. This follow-up system is your email marketing strategy, with it you can begin to nurture your leads to know, like and trust your brand through a series of sales letters delivered straight into their inbox!
Here’s What You Need To Do Next!
Head over to the site, www.differentiateonline.net and show me some birthday love by signing up for the eMarketing newsletter and help spread the word to others. It promises to be an exciting ride as I will be dishing out weekly tips and ideas on how to use the internet to find, attract, convert and retain profitable customers!
Selling is an organizational function [for everybody].
It is a core function of every business that shouldn’t be relegated to one particular department or set of people in a company. Selling is a company-wide responsibility.
How Do I Mean?
The first purpose of a business is the creation of a customer through the provision of innovative products/services that meet people’s needs and solves their problems. A business exists to solve people’s problems through the products/services they create and by doing this; they make customers out of people.
Without customers, a company is out of business. And without selling, a company can’t create customers. So if a company must continue to exist, it must never fail in her core responsibility of creating customers.
Such a fundamental responsibility is beyond the scope of only a few sales superstars. It is the collective responsibility of everyone working in the company. It should be everyone’s responsibility to inform the right people [target market] of the company’s capacity to meet their needs and solve their problems. Creating a customer [selling] is not the duty of some people, it is everyone’s responsibility!
Strategic Selling VS Personal Selling
A couple of months ago, I was invited by a client who started business with 7 million naira 8 months prior to when he contacted me. At the time of our meeting, the start up capital had deflected to 2 million naira, that’s 5 million naira gone in just 8 months!
According to him, his sales people were the problem. They simply weren’t performing up to expectations despite his initial investment of a car to facilitate their work. So rather than make sales, they simply were losing money faster than they could ever imagine.
When we got talking, like I always begin every consulting/coaching project, I diagnose the problem by asking several questions. It turned out that these sales people had simply been hired, given a product to sell backed with some product knowledge and left to perform magic.
“What was the underlying idea behind this?” I asked him.
“Simple.” He answered. “During the interview I asked them to sell me anything they could see around them and the two candidates that succeeded in convincing me to buy got the job.”
And so off they went into the market to convince as many people as possible to buy the company’s product. After all, they could sell anything, right? Before long, these same sales superstars that could sell anything failed at selling something. And my dear client became worried!
In the course of my work with entrepreneurs helping them to grow their small businesses, such an experience is very common. They have a product, they hire some sales superstars and the rest as they say is history. When as an entrepreneur, you see selling as the task of a few individuals, rather than an organizational function, then there is problem.
Most entrepreneurs build fragmented organizations, this doesn’t cease to amaze me. Why on earth would you treat your business as a fragmented piece rather than the integrated whole it is? In a recent article, I talked about the need for strategic marketing. I pointed out why it is important for entrepreneurs to go about their marketing from an holistic approach, emphasizing that marketing is not a one off activity but one that requires a great deal of integration.
Selling is a marketing function and like all marketing functions, it needs to be strategically integrated. It is not something you lash out on with a few key people in your organization; it is a thing that must cut across the entire company. Your sales people are only a fraction of your entire marketing function. They are a tiny piece of a much larger whole.
So leaving sales in the hands of the salespeople is like expecting the whole to function with only one part, how possible is that? The fact that your business comprises several individuals performing certain specific functions doesn’t make it any less of an integrated system it is. Just as your body is an integrated system made up of several unique parts, so is a business.
Every department is a part of an integrated system. Every function is a part of a much bigger function. Every individual is a part of a team. In a company, nothing is by itself; everything and anything is attached to something and everything. Whatever affects the whole affects the part and whatever affects the part affects the whole. Nothing is independent, everything is inter-dependent!
So each part must be consciously aligned to serve the primary purpose of a business –creating and satisfying customers. And this is what I refer to as the integrated selling system.
What Is The Integrated Selling System?
The integrated selling system is about creating a customer–centred strategic marketing organization. It is about bringing the whole resources of a business together to create a company where everyone is focused on meeting the needs of the customer and solving their problems.
The integrated selling system is about creating a strategic sales process for your company. It is about putting the customer first; making the customer the boss. It is about placing the customer at the centre of everything everyone does in the organization. It is about collectively working together regardless of individual specialization to define, create, communicate, and deliver value to the customer.
The best way to understand this concept of integrated selling system is to see your business as a play, your workplace as the stage, your workers as actors, yourself as the director and your customers as the audience watching the play. The moment you understand this, you suddenly realize how everyone and everything fits together.
The audience [customer] doesn’t judge the play [business] by the performance of one singular actor [worker] or by the creativity of the director [owner]. To the audience, the outcome of the play is measured by the totality of the experience delivered by the entire crew. To the audience, the whole play is the sum of all its parts. To the audience, what matters most is the satisfaction derived from watching the play. If that satisfaction is hindered by one singular actor, to the audience, the entire play is a failure.
Customers don’t buy in parts; they buy finished products/services as a whole. So they don’t care any less about the individual parts that make up the whole they pay for, they only care about the impact the whole makes in their life. Customers judge the performance of a business and the satisfaction derived from consuming their products/services as a whole and not in parts. To the customer, everything and everyone involved in your company makes an impression.
Your task as an entrepreneur is to decide what that impression will be; negative or positive?
How To Create An Integrated Selling System
[The Strategic Sales Process]
The integrated selling system is how you strategically structure your business to make a positive impression on the customer. And here is how to do that.
Begin With “WHY?”
Why are you in this business?
Why are you doing what you are doing?
Why are you producing or selling what you are selling?
Why should your employees care about what your business does?
Why should the customers care about what your business does?
Beginning with “why” is a question of purpose. To enlist the support and commitment of your people in creating a positive impression on the customer will require much more than their salary. If your people are simply motivated to work because of their pay, then you don’t have a “why” or your “why” is not BIG enough for them to invest their heart into your business.
If there is no other reason why they should be working for you beyond just making the sale, then you’ve only succeeded in employing their body but not their heart nor their soul. And when people work for you with only their body, don’t expect the best from them. Why? Because they are only working for survival. And when survival is the object, business is as usual.
The “why” is the unseen part of the products/services you sell that gives both your people and your target customers a reason to associate with your brand. The “why” is the totality of the experience you are creating for the customer. The “why” is the emotion attached to your business both from your customers and your workers. The “why” is the meaning of your business. The “why” is the foundation on which all other functions derive their meaning. The “why” is what you want your business to be in the eyes of the customer, your workers, your competition and the world in general. The “why” is the essence of your business!
Your people needs to know, why are we here?
The customer needs to know, why are you here?
The world needs to know, why should we care that your business exists?
The integrated selling system is all about finding the “why”, creating it, communicating it and consistently delivering it. The why is that positive impression you must make on the customer. When the “why” is known, everyone and everything begins to make sense. Your people are free to creatively come up with their own ideas to ensure the why is achieved.
Because they see themselves as part of something bigger than you. They see themselves as co-creators of something that isn’t beneficial to only you. They see that the work they are being asked to do MATTERS, not to only to you, but to so many other people out there. They see themselves in the making of greatness. If you are going to raise an army of extraordinary workers, then you’ve got to give them a vision worth dying for!
Get The RIGHT People On Board And The WRONG People Off (The Who?)
When the “why” is clearly defined, the next step to creating an integrated selling system is getting the right people in and the wrong people out. The right people are those passionate about the “why”. How do you identify them?
Simply list out certain character traits you are looking for and select those who naturally exhibit those character traits. The key word here is —naturally exhibit. Meaning it is not something you remind them to do, but what they naturally do.
Assign ROLES And Clarify EXPECTATIONS (The What?)
Let each person function in their core areas of strength. Don’t put round pegs in a square hole. People function best in their areas of natural abilities. Remember, that’s what qualifies them as the right people. This is the assignment of roles, just like an actor is auditioned for a role that best suits their personality.
The second part is clarifying certain expectations demanded from each role assigned. Without clarifying expectations, it will be difficult to evaluate results. Remember, what you are trying to create is an integrated selling system comprising different functional parts collectively producing a definite outcome.
Establish Key PROCESSES For Each Role (The How?)
A system is a system because of its ability to create and recreate definite outcomes with little or no error. In order for your people to repeatedly create the desired outcomes from each role assigned, setup structures and processes through which they are to function.
An established process is a laid out step by step way of carrying out a particular function. Going back to our acting analogy, the script is the process actors must follow to make the play a success. In the world of business, this script is created into processes that your people follow. This is how they do what needs to be done to deliver the “why”.
Equip With NECESSARY Tools
Don’t send your people out into the market to bring in customers when they don’t have the required tools for the task. For every positive impression you want to make on the customer, make available the necessary tools for it. Tools help to facilitate the task of winning the customer. Stop telling your people to improvise, make available the tools for the kind of results you expect them to deliver.
Get OUT Of The Way
This is a very important step in creating an integrated selling system –freedom. People are not machines that you control, they are to be inspired and set free to do the work. Don’t box your people in with unnecessary supervisions, this is why you must assign roles and clarify expectations early enough. People need sufficient freedom to do their best work, so please let them be!
Evaluate, RE–ALIGN And Move On
Freedom doesn’t mean the absence of accountability; it only means the absence of unnecessary supervision. So you need to know how your people are doing. This is where evaluation comes in. Define specific timelines for each role assigned to assess outcomes against set expectations. If there be any mistake or short comings, point them out and re-align your people back on track so they can move on.
No system is without error, so this stage is very crucial. See it as the grease you apply on the engine to keep it working at its best. Never assume nothing will go wrong, something always go wrong. When it does happen, evaluate, re-align and move on.
Conclusion: Who Says Your Gate-man Can’t Sell?
The gate-man is the first person the customer meets at the point of entering into your business premises. The manner of reception is either going to reinforce what your salespeople claim your company is or will further create barriers to making the sale. In a previous unusual article, customer buying process, I mentioned one very important point —sales is never made in an instant!
Before a sale is made, several other factors must be considered by the prospect or target customer. All these factors are not only logical or rational, some are emotional or psychological. All these factors are considered by the customer every time they come in contact with your business. So what does this tell you?
That your salespeople are good at selling doesn’t guarantee that your gate-man won’t ruin the sales. The point is this, everyone must project a uniform image [the why] about the company that cuts across every cadre of the organization. The brand must be consistent whether the customer meets with your gate-man or salesman. Everyone is either eliminating the barriers to making the sale or they are adding more barriers. Period!
How do you approach selling in your business? Is it a fragmented responsibility of a few or the integrated responsibility of all?
From the above steps for creating an integrated selling system, which are you struggling with and why? Also, which have you successfully implemented and what were the outcomes?
Share your views in the comment section below. Can’t wait to hear from you!
Every smart entrepreneur knows without marketing his/her business is going to die!
But that’s just one side of the story. The other side of the story, which unfortunately is the most important side is often confusing to most entrepreneurs. The other side of the story is that most entrepreneurs find marketing difficult.
Marketing is not a one off activity and it requires a great deal of integration. The ability to successfully put together this integrated marketing strategy is what most entrepreneurs are lacking. To put an end to this, I present to you the idiot’s guide to strategic marketing.
The Idiot’s Definition to Marketing
Marketing in the simplest way means being everywhere your ideal target customers are. Meaning, go where they go; read what they read; watch what they watch; play where they play. In other words, use all available means to creatively be in their front. What do you do when you get in their front? Start and build a long term win-win relationship with them.
Here’s how – develop a marketing strategy!
Most entrepreneurs don’t consider a marketing strategy and the few who do at all; here is what they call a marketing strategy:
- Develop a core message [your story, USP],
- Develop identity elements [logo, branding] and
- Perhaps a sales proposition [offer]
This is like scratching the surface!
So What’s a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is how you plan to use the scarce resources AVAILABLE to you to build an ONGOING case that your business, products and services are the OBVIOUS CHOICE for a narrowly defined ideal target customer.
This definition was given by John Jantsch author of ‘Duct Tape Marketing’. I like it because it is very complete.
How do I mean?
1. Plan to Use AVAILABLE Scarce Resources
The first reason why this definition is so on point is because of where it started from — how you plan to use scarce resources.
The first thing you want to bear in mind about a marketing strategy is a clear and unbiased understanding of what you own or have at the MOMENT. You can only use what you have to get what you want.
I am often amazed when I meet entrepreneurs who keep complaining about not having money to do marketing. I just laugh. It is true marketing requires money, but the greatest truth of all is that marketing requires CREATIVITY more than it requires money. I have always believed in one simple saying that has helped me so much in my entrepreneurial journey; when you don’t have resources, become resourceful.
I am from a very humble background, paid my way through the university doing a part time program alongside business. I started the program in 2007, 6 years after my high school. My first attempt at business was after my computer engineering and networking program in 2003. I had no money, no office and no clients (resources). But I had ideas (resourcefulness).
The first computer I helped to buy for my first client ever, I made friends with the sellers and used their office in the centre of the biggest computer market in Nigeria (computer village) as my contact point. It was a simple win-win collaboration. Using their office ensured I brought them more customers to buy computer. For me it gave my new business the needed credibility for a start up.
I went further to team up with a friend who had leads to sell to but lacked the technical skills to deliver. Together we created a business card, invoice and way bill all carrying the address of the seller at computer village but with our own business name and contacts. When clients go to our office and we weren’t there, the real owners simply attended to them on our behalf making the sale and keeping our own share (commission on sale).
I chose computer village because that’s where our ideal target customers are and go to seek for what we provide as a business. By being resourceful even without sufficient resources, we were in business.
Again, when you don’t have resources, become resourceful.
Meaning, get creative with your marketing. If you are not using your available scarce resources creatively enough to start getting the kind of results you want, however little; then you don’t deserve MORE resources. To him who is faithful with little, to him more shall be given. And to him who is wasteful with what he has been given, that which was given to him shall be taken from him!
2. Build an ONGOING case for your Business, Product or Services
This is the implementation phase; strategic marketing is a continuous process. It’s not what you start today and stop tomorrow. It must be consistent, continuous, ongoing and never ending. Remember, the day it ends, the death of your business begins!
Many entrepreneurs don’t get this part, they approach marketing from a short term view. I will just do a little ad this month and see what that brings me. Guess what? NOTHING!
You have to be ready to keep being in the front of your ideal target customers for as long as your business exists. It is not something you rest on, or get tired of, or think is no longer necessary. You are finished if you do. Remember our idiot’s definition to marketing? Being everywhere your ideal target customers are. Here’s the missing part; ALL OF THE TIME!
Without this consistency in your marketing, you are not going to get any results. You have to be in their front always. And there is a clause to this; you are not in their front to sell. No, never sell, sell, sell, and sell every time you are in front of your ideal target customers. Why?
They will HATE you for it and they will AVOID you like plague. Instead, being in the front is about nurturing a win-win relationship with them. It’s about them first and you second. It is about showing them how much you care about them by focusing on their needs before yours. When you show up in their front, don’t SELL, HELP!
In the cyber cafe business I co-started with two other partners, this was our winning strategy. I have written about it in an unusual article business growth 101: how attract, keep and grow profitable customers. Make sure you read it. The basic idea is this; keep showing up in their front to remind them you still exist by being helpful.
Being helpful is not selling; being helpful is creatively coming up with values you can add to their lives for FREE!
3. Become the OBVIOUS CHOICE to a Narrowly Defined Ideal Target Customer
This is the reward stage of the idiot’s guide to strategic marketing. This is why you did all you did above, to become the default choice of the ideal target customer. This is why being helpful is the best way to sell; you are the first on people’s mind when they need what you offer. Because you haven’t been forcing the sale on them, the day they need what you sell or the day you eventually make an offer, they naturally buy.
Because all along, you have been eliminating all the barriers to the sale by being helpful. You have helped them to make the buying decision easily. They know, they like you and they trust you because you have been there when no one else cared about them.
You have given so much, it’s time they reciprocated. At this stage, they would refer you to their friends, talk about you to anyone who cares to listen. They would celebrate you.
But there’s a BIG clause!
Marketing without strategy is the noise before failure. For any marketing strategy and corresponding set of tactics to work, you must first narrowly define your ideal client and then apply the strategy towards attracting more happy customers. — John Jantsch
This can only happen if you have been in the front of the right customers. Without this single element in place, all your strategic marketing is a big failure. None of the two points discussed above would work if you’ve been in front of the wrong audience.
You can only become the obvious choice to the right audience whose needs you can meet. Identifying them is clearly how you become their obvious choice. It doesn’t matter how long you stay in front of the wrong audience or how frequent you make your appearances, you can never become their obvious choice.
How strategic is your marketing? What challenges are you facing when trying to create a winning marketing strategy?
Share your comments below and please remember to share this unusual article with others.
You already know this, so I am not going to belabor the issue of selling. This unusual article is about unveiling the most overlooked secret of selling.
How can you sell more every time?
How can you simplify the selling process?
How can you close the sale 99% of the time?
This is what this unusual article has been written to answer.
What Is The Most Overlooked Secret Of Selling?
To answer this question, you’ve got to understand first that selling or closing the sale is an outcome. It is something that happens only after several other things must have happened. Meaning, sales is not made in an instant. Several factors must be well aligned long before the decision to buy is made.
So here’s the most overlooked secret of selling; eliminate every barrier to sale!
That’s as simple as it sounds. To sell more 99% of the time, get rid of every hindrances to making the sale. In other words, to make the sale, shorten the buyers’ decision process.
How To Sell More
To sell more, you need to understand how people buy. People make buying decisions daily. Meaning that people naturally love to buy stuff; there’s an intention to buy. They just need help going through the buying decision process. So what does this suggest to you as an entrepreneur?
The problem with selling is not from the target buyers per se, but from you the seller. To the buyer, buying is a decision. To the seller, buying is sales. To sell 99% of the time, as the seller, you need to see from the buyer’s perspective. To them, what you call sales is a decision they make after considering several things. So customers will buy if you the seller can make the decision to buy easy for them.
How do I mean?
Sales are never made in an instant. A sale is an event that occurs between two people; a buyer and a seller. It is an outcome you get after several other things must have occurred both on the part of the buyer and on your part as the seller. The buying process starts long before the actual sale is made. These other things that need to happen before the actual purchase decision is made, is known as the buying decision process.
The buying decision process is like a funnel; buyers enter into the funnel triggered by a need or problem they have, next they go in search of potential sellers, from here they select a list of likely brands to buy and evaluate them on certain preferences, and finally they come out of the funnel with a purchase decision from the most preferred seller.
Customer Buying Decision Process
Buyers go through 5 critical stages that influence the sales. Understanding them is how you unlock the secret to selling more 99% of the time.
1. Need Recognition
The buying process begins with need recognition. This is when a buyer identifies a problem that requires solution or a need that must be met. There are two sources from which the buying process is initiated;
- Internal Stimuli
- External Stimuli
When the buyer’s recognition of a problem is inspired by the desire to satisfy basic human needs such as; food, shelter, security, etc. This is a buying process triggered by internal stimuli.
But when the buyer’s recognition of a problem is inspired by the desire to satisfy other higher human wants that are shaped by the environment such as cars, vacation, luxury goods etc. This is a buying process triggered by external stimuli.
To sell more 99% of the time, as an entrepreneur, you must understand the source from which your target customers’ buying process is initiated. In other words, you must know why your target customers are in need of what you sell.
2. Information Search
The second step of the buying process is information search. This describes the period of identifying various providers [sellers] of the solution to the problem or need identified above. In other words, where do potential buyers go to look for potential sellers?
- Personal Sources: this refers to information about sellers gathered from family, friends, neighbours, acquaintances etc. in other words, information about sellers obtained from referrals through word-of-mouth [free marketing].
- Commercial Sources: this refers to information about sellers gathered from advertising, salespeople, websites, dealers/agents, packaging, displays, etc. In other words, information about sellers obtained from paid marketing.
- Public Sources: this refers to information about sellers gathered from internet searches, mass media, news, consumer rating organizations. In other words, information about sellers obtained from respected third party sources.
- Experiential Sources: this refers to information about sellers gathered from using the product, handling the product and examining the product. In other words, information about sellers obtained from personal experience.
To sell more 99% of the time, you’ve got to make your brand, product, service or company visible to your target customers through the above sources. Different target customers use different information search sources. So the more relevant the information search source you use, the more sales you stand to make.
3. Evaluation Of Alternatives
Information search is how buyers gather a list of possible sellers. Evaluation of alternatives is how they streamline them into a set of final brand choices based on certain preferences. This is where potential buyers rank sellers based on their unique selling propositions –differentiation.
So as an entrepreneur who desires to sell more, you need to figure out how your brand will stand out from other competing brands in your niche or industry. Here’s what I normally advise my clients; list out all the features and benefits of your brand, product or service and do the same for all your competitions.
What are you looking for by doing this?
You are looking for those unique features and benefits that are peculiar to your brand, product or service that is not similar to that of your competitions. This is your differentiating feature or benefit and your job is to point this out to your target customers throughout all your marketing campaigns.
4. Purchase Decision
This is the point where the buyer finally picks the most preferred brand after evaluating all other potential alternatives. Your goal as an entrepreneur is to be the most preferred choice at this stage of the buying decision process.
You want to be the seller they eventually buy from. Everything you have been doing from the beginning is finally judged here. This is the point where the sale is made. All your marketing will either get you here or hinder you from getting here.
This stage is a direct outcome of the previous stage of evaluation of alternatives. The more compelling and differentiated your brand, product or service, the easier it is for them to pick you as the most preferred choice. Bringing us back to the ultimate question; why buy from you?
To answer this question, make your offer irresistible, create a sense of urgency like a promo or bonanza or limited openings, provide money back guarantee and show testimonials. Anything that you can package along with the particular product/service that will convey more value for money must be included in your offer.
5. Post-purchase Behaviour
The buying decision process doesn’t end when the sale is made. You don’t want to just make the sale; you also want to build a profitable relationship with the new customer you just got. So at this stage, you want to ensure the buyer gets value for their money.
This is the after sales process where the customer measures what they got from your brand against what they expected. If you delivered as you promised, then you can be sure of a repeat purchase from the buyer. But if you don’t deliver as promised, then forget about the customer.
The greater the gap between what you promised and what you delivered, the greater the customers’ dissatisfaction. What does this tell you? If you want to sell more 99% of the time, only make the promises you can keep. Don’t over promise and under deliver. There’s no point in making the sale and losing the customer afterwards.
To make the sale 99% of the time, you need to eliminate all possible barriers to the sale. These barriers come up at different stages of the buying decision process. Identifying them and getting rid of them is how you get the buyer to choose you as the right seller to buy from.
Here’s the 5 critical processes people go through to buy;
- Need Recognition: why do they need what you are selling?
- Information Search: how do they find you?
- Evaluation of alternatives: why buy from you?
- Purchase Decision: why buy now?
- Post-purchase behavior: why buy again and again and again?
The faster you get buyers to go through the 5 buying decision process above, the faster you can make the sale. In other words, to sell more 99% of the time; know why they buy [Need Recognition], make it easy for them to find you [Information Search], define and always communicate your uniqueness [Evaluation of alternatives], make a compelling offer [Purchase Decision], make promises you can keep and keep the promises you make [Post-purchase Behaviour].
What other barriers to sales are you familiar with? And how are you helping buyers to quickly go through the 5 buying decision process?