Sin #1 – Being boring or not memorable
Whether you are creating marketing utilizing any type of media or selling to audiences anywhere from one to many, you must be memorable to get a response or to get a sale. In a politically correct homogenized world, people suffer from copy cat syndrome. Everything begins to blend into each other.
In 1950 the average person would experience an average of one hundred marketing messages a day and roughly ten of those would ask the person to take action. By 1980 the average person was exposed to one thousand messages a day and one hundred of those messages were asking for a response of some sort. Fast forward to today and the average person is being bombarded with ten thousand messages a day and one thousand of those messages are asking for action. Through just the growth in marketing messages alone you can see the importance of standing out of the crowd.
Every salesperson, manager and business owner must spend concentrated time an effort on figuring out what distinguishes them from everybody else. You must deeply examine the 4 P’s of your business – People, Product, Process and Positioning. You can position yourself in the market by marketing your strengths and uniqueness in each category of the four P’s or you can position yourself through your weaknesses.
Admitting a weakness or talking about the proverbial “elephant in the room” that nobody else will talk about is a great positioning tool that creates trust with people. Too many people want o only talk about their strengths and it becomes an exercise of the “me too” syndrome. Be bold or be gone.
Sin #2 – Trying to follow the herd
If you had to pick one common thread of very successful marketers and salespeople, it’s that they tend to be contrarian in their path. I have heard it said that if you want to be successful, find someone who is already successful at what you want to do and do what they did. I think that is a very valid point. However, most successful people look for opportunity gaps that are available and take advantage of those gaps. The majority of people follow everyone else. Whether it is marketing, sales, investing or anything else, the opportunity rarely lies in doing what has already been accomplished.
You must look to learn the lessons of the previous successes and utilize the principles in another area or find what is missing in that area and fill it. The world did not need another coffee shop but there was opportunity for a sense of comfort and belonging when Starbucks filled that void. The last thing Starbucks is a coffee shop. Coffee is a by-product of the product. In the Starbucks example the product sells the by-product. In other words, Starbucks sells coffee without having to try to sell coffee.
Sin #3 – Not telling stories
For over one hundred years people have been taught on the advantages of the feature-benefit approach to selling. Unfortunately, that teaching keeps most salespeople and businesses broke. Yes it’s true the features are important and it’s even truer that the benefits are really what people buy. However, those things will not matter if you can’t tell it in a story to describe those things. People hear, see, feel and even smell stories. Stories add depth and emotion to bland features and exciting benefits.
The Bible, Aesop’s Fables, good movies, good books and good TV all have something in common; a good story. Real stories can being life to the most boring of products and services. People understand and like stories. Stories feed the human and societal affect we all desire. Facts tell; stories sell.
Sin #4 – Being a salesperson
People buy from people. Notice I did not say salespeople. People want to feel that you have their best interest at heart. Most people view a salesperson as a one-sided, one dimensional character that is concerned only about his commission.
The derivative and basic meaning of the word sell is “to serve.” You must be willing to serve without putting yourself first. Of course everyone understands a salesperson has a mission to sell. What people want to know is if your self-serving mission is greater than your mission to serve.
Follow the age old belief of giving without expecting in return and you will receive in abundance. Nature abhors a vacuum and will fill the hole left when you give. To be ready to receive you must understand to give.
Sin #5 – Not dancing with the one who bought you
Relax; the above title was not a typo. I did mean to write bought you. The customer’s who bought you, bought from you and brought you to where you are now. Most businesses, salespeople and big dumb corporations are all alike. They tend to act like hamsters on a wheel, running harder and harder towards new customers. Every day they get up and run as hard as they can to chase new customers and the chase never gets easier. They simply run and run and run until they give out and get replaced by the latest and greatest whoever or whatever.
It’s infinitely easier and more productive to build relationships with those you have already sold and then resale those people, sell more to these people and have those people bring you more sales through referrals and viral marketing. Don’t you love that high tech term viral marketing? We use to call it word of mouth.
It is a little harder than it seems though. You must keep contacting and connecting to your customers in and endearing and enduring fashion. I am not talking about just sending a mundane postcard twice a year or a calendar at Christmas time. I am talking about a full blown ongoing marketing plan of appreciation, information and yes, also solicitation.
When you build relationships with the ones who bought and brought you to where you are at while also going after conquest new business, you will find yourself building your business and success exponentially. Unfortunately, most people are chasing money in what they believe is the surest and fastest way possible which is new customers. Unfortunately their principles are backwards and therefore by chasing more money they grow even more broke.
Sin #6 – Thinking copywriting is something you do with the government to protect your product or idea
The type of copywriting I am talking about is the art and science of writing words and creating images that get people to respond. An absolute integral part of becoming a master of sales and marketing is to become a master copywriter. You must study the best copywriters such as John Caples, Dan Kennedy, Claude Hopkins, David Garfinkel, Jay Abraham and many more.
I am always amazed at people who think they can just create an ad or write a sales letter without having trained themselves to do so correctly. Many people think they can simply run an ad or mail a letter and people will respond in droves. They quickly find out that their wallets and purses run dry before the ink on their ads.
Great athletes, musicians, scientists and actors train their whole lives to become great but a business owner will often run an ad without even a moment of study. It’s a sin of stupidity and arrogance. Even the very best who have trained their whole lives at copywriting experience many moments of failure so you can imagine what an untrained person will experience.
You should pay well for great copywriting and you should learn to write copy yourself. This is not something that should ever be one hundred percent delegated. Nobody will ever know your business like you, have passion like you and speak in your voice like you. Learning the art and science of copywriting will also transform your sales skills. The skill is transferable.
Sin #7 – Looking for a magic button
Some of the popular hot buttons today seem to be social networking, digital marketing and internet marketing. All of those things are very viable and should be in your sales and marketing arsenal. However, at the end of the day, all of these things are media. You must view media as distribution. Most distribution is good if used correctly. Writing and old fashioned sales letter can still be incredibly successful if done well but once again it is just a media.
If you can use a media and get a positive ROI, then use it and keep using it and growing it. People tend to glamorize a particular media and follow the masses of popularity looking for latest, greatest and the media that is the Holy Grail. There are no holy grails and every media has its day in the sun. The key is to use more than one and keep adding different ones that all utilize a concept termed by colleague Nido Qubein as “Significant Congruence.” Everything feeds everything else. There is a synergy and the more you do correctly the more it grows.
Sin #8 – Using archaic ideas concerning sales and marketing budgets
Whenever I work with a business, I ask the leaders what their budget is. I then ask why that is their budget? I have never received an answer to why that makes sense. I understand the concept of a budget and why a business has one. I also understand math. If you give me a dollar and I hand you back two, you would have to be stupid not to repeat that as fast and as often as you can. Sales and marketing budgets should follow the same path.
Test everything you do and everything you spend. Test, test and then test some more. If it works and brings in a profit and ROI then do more until it does not. Rinse and repeat. Do this for very media, message, market and sales action you do.
I have worked with businesses that we quadrupled their budget but kept getting a strong return on investment. So why would quit until you don’t get a return. I have also lowered budgets significantly by getting rid of methods or media that were not working and still increasing ROI with less money by being more effective with fewer resources.
A budget is guide and nothing more and nothing less. If it makes you money then spend the money.
Sin #9 – Showing and selling your product without knowledge
It’s rarely the product. It’s about the heart and mind of the person buying the product. Presentation without investigation equals frustration. Your sales success is not about a presentation or demonstration so much as it about how those things relates to the customers emotion and psychology.
A sales process is worthless without understanding people. You must ask questions, listen, show you are listening and utilize what you see and hear from your customers. People tend to give keyword answers that reflect their true emotions and thoughts. They tend to repeat those keywords over and over. Those keywords are keys that open the sale.
Find the customers keywords. Look for the customers patterns. People tend to repeat patterns. How did they buy or make decisions in the past. Unlock those patterns and repeat but with HFG – Hope for Gain. Everyone wants to improve their position in life and everyone has hope. You must fins and give hope for gain.
You must ask questions to determine if they are moving towards that hope or if they are focusing more on the pain caused by their current situation that they feel is keeping them from their hope. Pain and pleasure determine all decisions. You must find their path and move them along in their path. You are the Wizard of Oz so to speak. You hold the key to their yellow brick road.
Sin #10 – Acquiring and keeping a bad attitude
All the motivational speeches in the world won’t help you unless you take responsibility. Everything and I do mean everything is up to you and it all starts in your mind. Read the book As a Man Thinketh by James Allen and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and The Greatest Secret In the World by Og Mandino and of course How To Be A Sales Superstar: Break All the Rules and Succeed While Doing It by yours truly Mark Tewart. All of these books can help your understanding of your mid and how to utilize it to success.
Follow the tree of success.
Your thoughts and attitude are controllable and will determine your success.
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“Think big, live large and you are in charge”
Mark Tewart, Speaker, Consultant, Entrepreneur and Author of the best seller “How To Be A Sales Superstar”