Attracting the attention of new customers given the numerous marketing vehicles involved and the increase in competition is an ever growing challenge. For many small business owners and executives, marketing has come to mean the buying of promotional items to attending networking events. They believe that these marketing actions will deliver incredible results. Unfortunately as time progress for many of these individuals, the increase sales do not happen.
Marketing is a process within the overall sales process. All marketing actions should be aligned to the strategic plan. Hence, the marketing plan is also directly connected to the sales plan. Marketing and sales are much like Ying and Yang where they balance each other.
Within the marketing process, the first step is to gain favorable attention or how to be the "red jacket in a sea of gray suits." After you have your prospects attention, you need to build a relationship. As many buyers are quite jaded, you may need to adopt the "Hansel and Gretel Marketing Model." First, you give them bread crumbs or free items from promotional products to white papers. Once they have taken your initial bread crumbs offer them something with a little greater value at a higher investment. If they bite on the slice of bread, provide them the whole loaf.
For example, if you are trying to secure a new client where another competitor has a significant market presence, send them a free report specific to their industry or offer to put their name in a drawing for a free something. Let them know you are available if they need you. Then offer them an item that you know they use with some special incentive such as free shipping or 24 hour delivery. This is the slice of bread. By now you should have built a relationship with them and can offer them additional items. Now your customer has eaten the entire loaf of bread.
Maybe you are a consultant or executive business coach. For you, this approach is much easier because the crumbs can range from free E-Books to a complimentary meeting or coaching session. Then transition into the half slice of bread with low cost E-Books to assessments. Again, these crumbs and half to full slices of bread allow you to build a relationship. After your client finishes the slice of bread then offer the entire loaf which would be your full services.
The reason this marketing model is affordable is because of the sequence of marketing events. As you go through the crumbs to the half slices to the full slices and to the full loaves you are not investing any additional dollars until each crumb or piece of bread is eaten. Additionally, you are potentially retaining many more prospects because you are qualifying them as you take them through this marketing model. Also, the first step is usually a very nominal investment when compared to taking an intensive marketing campaign involving thousands of dollars.