Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.

Power Direct Marketing article INDEX

Scrap the Hard Sell

Choice. There is more of it then ever before. And your customer knows it.

Every day they are bombarded with multiple ways to spend their money. In 30 days your customer receives more messages than their grandparents got in a lifetime. Lots and lots of "choice".

How do you market and sell in this environment? To a highly educated marketplace.

Well, I have a theory ... you don't! Instead you "ask" people to buy from you.

Most people do not like to be sold ... these same people sure do like to buy. So, you ask them to buy - to do it now - from you.

Here are 9 simple traits for successful marketing and sales programs. Ideas on how to get more than your fair share in the decade ahead.

Trait #1. Ego, Strength & Drive = Confidence

This is not arrogance. It IS knowing your product, your service and being comfortable with your presentation.

It is knowing your competition, and being even more comfortable with comparison. It is a healthy self-esteem ... knowing you know what you offer.

I.e., know your business. Know your people. And know there are no commodity products or services. Every product is different from every other ... even those where there is 1:1 head-to-head competition.

How is this so? Very simple; if there is truly no other difference, YOU make a difference. People make a difference. When anyone says "we have a commodity product" what they are really saying is "I don't know how to sell". Just as there is no "box" that keeps you in, there is no "commodity" to stop you.

To be successful in this decade a strong sense of ego, a show of strength and an expression of drive will be necessary. You might call it confidence.

Trait #2. An Honest "Sense of Urgency"

Neglect is the #1 killer of sales. When marketing does its' job sales must pick up the banner and march forward. With an "I'll get it done now" attitude. An honest sense of urgency. Anything less than a full charge will leave money on the table.

Let's face it, if you don't do it someone else will. There is always someone out there hungry enough to be chasing you - no matter your level of success. They may be getting nothing but crumbs from you now ... until you slow.

Fire in your belly and a spark in our eye is what it takes day after day to stay ahead of the chase. And to let your prospects and customers know you care. That you do see their "sense of urgency".

Oh, and this sense must come across in both your marketing and your sales.

Trait #3. A Healthy "Sense of Skepticism"

The baby boomers, in their peak earning and activity years, are skeptical of almost every marketing and sales offer. This group exhibits a high level of suspicion and a low level of trust.

And since this is the audience for most every product and service ( they have money, time and understand needs ), this trait must be recognized.

What do you do about it? How do you overcome? The sales process can be successful with every audience when you do 2 things;

... ask questions, listen and then

... present a thorough sales message response.

I.e., talk only after understanding where your prospect is coming from, and where they are going. As it is not what you have to sell ... it is very much what your prospect needs to buy.

Trait #4. AFTO based on Knowledge

The "Information Age" is no longer. We are now in The Knowledge Era.

It is not who you know - it is what you know.

Sure, people are still the important ingredient in every marketing and sales program. Provided we in marketing and sales know what people need. And how to fulfill those needs. That is knowledge.

Francis Bacon gets credit for the thought "Knowledge is Power". Well, just as the information age is dead - knowledge is NOT power ... unless you know what to do with it. Having a library of knowledge and access to more is useless, unless you put your knowledge to work. Unless you use what you know.

Part of using what you know is another sales axiom ... AFTO ... Ask For The Order. The marketplace expects you to do so. So,

although soft sell vs. hard is the name of the game, do not fear reaching out and boldly AFTO.

Trait #5. Think on Your Seat

Sales reps are told to "think on your feet". Before they can they must first think on their seat. i.e., get ready!

A couple of ideas from the past will be helpful in the decade ahead. The first is "Marketing by Objectives". i.e., have a goal, a focus, a direction. Know where you've been, where you are now, and where you are going.

Another is "Ready - Aim - Fire". The "fire" part of this threesome is popular. Getting ready first and then aiming is not.

Which is where Think on Your Seat comes in. Schedule a time to think, to plan, to organize - to get ready. To learn the true needs of your marketplace. Your audience will appreciate your efforts. And you will enjoy the rewards.

Trait #6. Innovate. Dare. Be "Creative"

Two processes are needed to drive you to max success in the next decade;

1). clearly identify the needs of your marketplace, and then

2). create "new" ideas and thoughts - becoming truly innovative for your audience.

Change is a tough topic for many. You may need to dig deep to find a level of discontent within your buyers and prospects. Some level of dissatisfaction is there - dare to learn all you can. i.e., be willing to take a risk to learn what you need to do to satisfy - to fulfill the need.

You cannot be a successful marketer without being directly involved with sales. At the same time sales reps can no longer be just order takers. They cannot wait for the buyer to buy. These facts lead to marketing and sales working "Two-Gether". Side by side. With like objectives. To present an answer the buyer buys.

Know you are operating without boundaries. You can dare to be innovative - to be creative. Do it.

Trait #7. Marketing & Sales on the Fly

There is a major difference between "must have" and "nice to have". Between the cake and the frosting.

"Must have" products and services are easily converted to needs. And thus to sales. The customer makes the transfer without effort. Marketing has done the job. Sales closes. The prospect understands your offer and makes a buying decision.

 "Nice to have" is tougher. Prospects haven't been convinced the

features and benefits you offer will bring great gain. Which is where " ... on the Fly" comes in.

Because the world today acts like everything is a must 24/7, "... on the Fly" becomes a way of life. Complex products require unique presentations. Fast. "New" products require thorough explanations and maybe more. Demonstrations. Trials. All very quickly.

Whether you are 1:1 with the prospect, or reaching them with direct mail, in print, broadcast, at a trade show or through the web, case studies, testimonials and references will play a role like never before.

You need to be prepared to do it all " ... on the Fly".

Trait #8. Social Expression is "In"

Through the depression of the 1930s, WWII and the '50s family and social were one. People had a need to be together. What happened at work carried back to family. And vice-versa.

That came to an end in the '60s. It's back. And will continue to play a major role in marketing and sales over the coming decade. A mix of what happens at the office is carried over to what the family does.

Being the good "Girl Scout" and "Boy Scout", kind, courtesy, brave, cheerful, friendly, outgoing, interesting - all with a smile! - is very much "in". Hard sell is out.

Trait #9. True Empathy is "In"

The ability to walk a mile in anothers shoes is an American Indian concept.

Idea being you'll really understand when you do. And not understand much until you do.

Understanding customers needs is a strong beginning of empathy. Yet, true empathy is more. It is reaching out and touching, being a teddy bear, a security blanket - and "making love to the customer". It is letting the customer know you care.

True empathy is "in". Without it your customer will have no reason to hang around with you. They'll most like walk away.

The end. That's it. Scrap the Hard Sell is a philosophy foreign to many. Yet, when you get it for both your marketing programs and sales efforts you'll be a winner - in the next decade.

Power Direct Marketing article INDEX

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