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How Long Till Marketing Works?

Whatever you do, donít hold your breath while waiting for marketing to take affect. Instead, hold your horses because itís not gonna happen instantly.

How long does it take for a prospect to become a customer? Well, letís first look into the chemistry of prospects. Prospects are like you except that theyíre probably doing business with one of your competitors. Fortunately for you, that competitor most likely doesnít know the full meaning of follow-up, with the result that most customers feel ignored after the sale.

These are among your hottest prospects. They already do business with a company such as yours and may be disenchanted because theyíve been left alone after making their purchase. Thatís why guerrillas identify their best prospects and then begin the courtship process. It is a courtship and it is a process. Armed with that insight, you can transform them into customers.

Most business owners contact prospects once or twice, and if they donít
show an interest, the business owners move on to greener territories, on to the non-existent Land of Instant Gratification. Guerrillas continue romancing those they are courting. Eventually, those prospects feel so cared for, so important, so attended to, that they switch over and begin to patronize the guerrilla who never stops courting.

How long does it take until this happen? Try seven years on for size. Thatís the outside. It could happen in a month, even a week or less if the prospects are in the market right now and neglected by their former supplier. But it probably wonít happen soon and it most assuredly wonít happen if you ignore them after contacting them once or twice.

Remember that prospects have minds that are more open than you think. Allegiances that are lost every day, allegiances gained every day. The guerrilla marketers donít lose them because they recognize the slow motion process of gaining them. When they speak to prospects, whether in person or through one of the venues of marketing, they do not talk about their businesses or their industries. They talk about the prospects themselves -- which is the topic most on the mind of prospects and one that ceaselessly interests them. When guerrillas can talk about the problems facing prospects, they gain even more attention.

And when they talk about solutions to these problems, they still see things from the prospectsí points of view and talk from that mindset. As weeds are flowers whose beauty has not yet been discovered, prospects are customers who have not yet realized all that you can offer them.

Give them time. Give them information. Give them attention. While youíre waiting, walk a mile in their shoes so you can be better prepared to talk to them about how their feet feel.

People patronize the businesses they do for an enormously wide variety of reasons. Often, itís location, though the Internet is changing that in a hurry. Frequently, it is mere habit. Guerrillas know in their bones that the prime reason is the buyers have confidence in the sellers. That is closely followed by the quality of the offering. And next comes service -- which guerrillas know should be defined as "anything the customer wants it to be." After service comes selection -- and again the internet rears up as a contender for business because of the staggering breadth of its selection. And fifth comes price. To some people, fewer than 20 percent, price is the number one criterion. But those attracted by price make the most disloyal customers because theyíre easily wooed away by somebody offering a still lower price. Guerrillas build their businesses on loyal customers. Possessed with that insight, they do all in their power to maintain loyalty.

They may do it with frequent-buyer programs. They may do it with special events centered around customers. They may do it with fervent follow-up, with their newsletter, with little freebies for their customers. But most of them do it by recognizing the customer and using his or her name, by talking about personal things before getting down to business, by listening very carefully and sincerely to what their customer are saying. Listening is considered one of the most crucial parts of follow-up. Itís no surprise that people patronize businesses that listen to them.

Many marketers create their marketing under the ridiculous assumption that prospects are asking "Who are you? What is your product or service? When are you open? Where are you located?" The only real question in the prospectís mind is "Why should I care?"

Hereís what theyíre thinking: Itís not "tell me a story about you." Instead, itís "tell me a story about me. Tell me how you can save my time, increase my income, reduce my stress, bring more love into my life, cause people to think highly of me." If you canít talk to them about those things, leave those prospects alone because youíre wasting their time and your money.

Another insight possessed by guerrillas is that people patronize business that can offer things to change their lives for the good. Sometimes these are huge things, such as cars and computers. But usually theyíre not. After all, how much can a new shirt or a new paper stock for stationery change a life? Not much, but youíve still got to be thinking in those terms.

Keep in mind that people are attracted to businesses that have established credibility. You get it with superb marketing and commitment to a plan.
Marketing continues to be a blend of art, science, business and patience.
It works. But it rarely works instantly. Thatís why the most crucial ingredient in the blend called marketing is your own patience.

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By Jay Conrad Levinson

About the Author: Jay Conrad Levinson

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Jay Conrad Levinson is the author of the best-selling marketing series in history, "Guerrilla Marketing," plus 30 other books. His books have sold 14 million copies worldwide. His guerrilla concepts have influenced marketing so much that today his books appear in 41 languages and are required reading in many MBA programs worldwide.
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