How To Market Your Services or Products
Let's talk a little about marketing your products or services.
Now when I speak of marketing, I am referring to something quite separate (although complementary) to sales.
A marketing system, when it's done right, offers you a lot of benefits. Chief among these is that your sales team only spends time talking with prospects who have indicated an interest in your programs.
But that is certainly not the only benefit.
In the world of selling high-value products and services the decision to engage your firm is seldom made after the first meeting. Staying-in-touch is crucial. Unfortunately it's very easy for this crucial step to fall between the proverbial cracks. This is especially true if the entire stay-in-touch effort rests on the shoulders of your field sales team.
A truly effective marketing system should be designed to enable you to remain in touch with consistent messages of relevance and interest. The process should seamlessly and automatically move prospective clients from curiosity to interest to action. Best of all it should be largely automated so that one never has to worry about too much time elapsing between communications.
That's what a highly effective, fully-integrated marketing system should do for you.
Something else we observe about the most profitable and productive companies is that the focus of their marketing is on building relationships rather than the more common transactional approach of selling services or products.
This is a fundamental shift in thinking, and not surprisingly impacts both what and how your communicate you message.
It's been our experience that successfully building these new business relationships depends upon three important factors.
The first is having a process in place that is specifically designed to motivate prospective clients to "raise their hands".
The second is a separate system (with some similar characteristics) that enables the firm to stay in touch with both existing and prospective clients, with messages of relevance and interest.
The third, and arguably the most important factor, is the patience to commit to a marketing effort even if results are not immediate.
Patience is key, but as with many things in life it's something that's easier to say, than do.
Let me share with you a quick story.
Back a few years ago I decided to take up martial arts. Lots of fun. Punching, kicking, plastic weapons, what more could a middle-aged guy want? I actually became reasonably proficient. If my wife Marian and I ever get attacked by a really slow old person, I know exactly what to do.
Anyway, after about a year I felt I had my fill of martial arts. I was ready to move onto something new. My Sensei sat me down and told me that he thought I had the potential to be a very good martial artist and he was sorry that my lack of patience was going to cause me to leave the sport.
Now this isn't the first time I've been told this. And in all candor I've probably quit far too many things before I got really good at them because of my impatience.
As you may have guessed, the reason I'm sharing this story with you is because I think that a lack of patience is the number one reason why marketing campaigns don't produce the desired results. It would be great if we could start a marketing campaign in the morning and have it yield results by the afternoon, but we both know that's not going to happen.
No, marketing, like most things of value, takes time. Takes patience. Takes focus. Unfortunately most people don't stick with a marketing plan long enough to see any significant results.
So what's the answer? Do we magically just go out and order up some patience? I'm a big believer in positive thinking, but I also know how hard it is to change a fundamental character trait.
What tends to make me more patient, whether it's in my hobbies or business, is having a plan. Having a system to follow. When I have a plan, when I know what the next steps are, then I'm much more likely to stay-the-course. I'll see something through to the end. Conversely, when I've only figured out one step in the process, then I'm real likely to give up (or get distracted) after I do just the one thing.
Thus the importance of having a marketing system. We think that a great one focuses on these key components:
1) Targeting a hyper-responsive group of prospective clients.
2) Getting their attention by focusing on issues that are of most importance to this group.
3) Motivating them to self-nominate themselves as being interested in learning more about your services or products.
4) Moving them along a series of steps that encourages them to take action.
5) Staying in touch with them and building the relationship with consistent messages of relevance and interest.
Although the goals of marketing are simple, implementing a process to actually achieve these objectives is anything but simplistic. But if you keep these steps in mind you can begin the process of developing a very powerful marketing system.