Could THIS be why sales are flat after all?
Remember our recent free offer to analyse your biggest marketing challenges?
Predictably, it produced a rush of calls for help from our subscribers.
The top concern by far was that 'things have gone quiet and sales have flattened'. These business owners were struggling for answers. In some cases, they were quite distressed that business had evaporated.
One client nailed it when he confessed, "In the good times, we burned a lot of leads. You had to be tenacious to even get our attention! Now we need every enquiry we can get".
It's time to look at this situation from a 'glass half full' perspective for a moment. Sure, times are tougher. But those who 'crack the code' and discover how to get leads and sales flowing in the current environment, will ultimately own their market.
We're going to give you two simple insights that could well be sales breakthrough revelations ... one now and one in our next issue of Results Report Strategy Brief.
THE FIRST ONE is this:
Your market doesn't know what you do, nearly as well as you may think they do. In fact, they don't even know that they don't know.
And therefore, they don't care.
OK, you've probably heard all that before. But hey, that doesn't make it any less true, does it? It should be a call to action for even the most astute and switched on companies.
A few weeks ago, one of our team canvassed this issue with a client of one of those very switched on companies. In fact, he held a workshop and asked the question to his team of 30 people.
Firstly, he asked them what the perception of their industry was out in the market place. The industry at large. The responses came thick and fast as he struggled to keep up the writing on the flip chart pad...
Pushy, untrustworthy, misleading, expensive, nasty surprises, lack of knowledge, promises that aren't kept, a nightmare experience, no follow up, unhelpful, disinterested, ...
Boy, this industry had serious perception problems! Can you guess the industry? Actually, it really doesn't matter. Do this exercise with any industry and chances are you'll get feedback like this.
But here's the kicker. He then did the same exercise on their perception of their company. Again, the responses came thick and fast, but very different:
We care, ethical, integrity, we listen, team spirit, systemised, deliver on our promises, industry respected, family values, welcoming, professional ...
Now, I hasten to add that this company actually does deliver on these things. In fact, part of the reason we agreed to work with them was because they are quite extraordinary in their systems, performance standards, and all those other things.
But ... and it's a big but ...
He then challenged them with this question: "You know you do these things, and why they're important ... but how much of this does your market know?"
They simply weren't communicating the very things that should set them apart from the 'chaff'.
Out of that exercise has come a whole new strategy. We'll be working with this company now to help them encapsulate their extraordinary story. To make 'the invisible visible'.
By the time we're done, their 'magic story' will be articulated in every piece of collateral, every letter, every proposal, every brochure, in the way their people position themselves with their clients, in the website, in a corporate video and in new TV commercials.
I can't stress this enough. The big thing missing for them, and for almost all potentially great companies, is communication.
Goodness, wars start because of poor communication.
Of course, your collateral has to tell your story in terms that the marketplace understands, and will get excited about, and will rave to others about. It's not hard. It just needs to be done.
I don't care if you're a large financial institution, a trade business, a professional adviser, a wholesaler, retailer, butcher, baker or candlestick maker for that matter ... if you're not telling your story compellingly, if you're assuming your market knows or cares, you're losing out on huge sales opportunities.
Finally, let me share an email we received recently. This client supplies high end industrial pump systems to sewerage works, pump stations, refineries, etc. We'd helped him articulate his magic story through a series of very specific white papers.
He wrote (paraphrased)...
"One of our resellers was having a squabble over the pricing of a £4,000 pump with a prospect, and just couldn't get the sale across the line. However, then the customer got hold of one of our white papers and liked what he read. Now he is buying not only pumps, but motors, valves and piping. And here's the good bit ...
- We did not compete against any other supplier. No quotes were called.
- We were past price now, simply providing a solution ..."
Your market doesn't know what you do. And they don't know that they don't know. Believe it!
In the next issue of Results Report Strategy Brief, we'll look at targeting your market. That is, homing in on the right people who'll want to hear your magic story ... and getting customers to come to you.
You can find more articles like this by visiting our Results Academy.