Archive for April, 2011

Selling Today… Same Basics, Different Tools

April 7, 2011

Things are getting very confusing in today’s sales environment. While the fundamentals of connecting with customers and prospects remain the same, the ways of doing so are changing. New skills are needed, but the time to acquire them is limited. The pressure to change is constant, but there is little guidance on how change should take place.

In this issue of Printips, we’d like to offer our take on the situation. While not denying that change is the order of the day, we believe a little common sense about it all will help bring some order to the chaos.

Sales fundamentals

No matter how much things change, the fundamentals remain the same. So let’s review some basics of the sales process.

Fundamental #1: People buy from those they know, like, and trust. The buying decision is based on relationship.

Fundamental #2: To build trust, get to know your customers and prospects. Focus on helping first, selling later.

Fundamental #3: A prospect will trust a referral coming from someone they know. Referrals take the burden of prospecting from the salesperson, so ask your customers for referrals.

Fundamental #4: Show your trustworthiness by providing excellent service and exhibiting ethical behavior in selling and servicing your customers. This is the basis of a long-term relationship with a customer.

Fundamental #5: Prospecting is the first and most important step in the selling process. Prospecting consists of identifying potential customers and qualifying them. A qualified prospect has the authority, desire, and money to make a purchase.

Fundamental #6: Prospecting requires a strategy and the tools and skills to carry it out. Part of the strategy is recognizing that prospects are not all alike, and tailoring the prospecting approach to their preferences.

Do You Have a Marketing System?

April 7, 2011

In 2007 the board of directors of the American Marketing Association adopted this definition of marketing:

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

For another take on the definition of marketing, consider this from The Chartered Institute of Marketing, a professional association based in the United Kingdom:

Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating, and satisfying customer requirements profitably.

Management guru Peter Drucker defines marketing this way:

Marketing is not only much broader than selling; it is not a specialized activity at all. It encompasses the entire business. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of the final result, that is, from the customer’s point of view. Concern and responsibility for marketing must therefore permeate all areas of the enterprise.

Finally, Regis McKenna, an influential marketing consultant whose professional career includes authorizing five books on marketing, succinctly states

Marketing is everything.

What all these definitions have in common is the recognition that marketing requires businesses and organizations to be customer-centric – to shift from a focus on production to a focus on what customers need and want.

Traditionally, marketing activities have included advertising, distribution, and selling. However, with the shift in emphasis from products to customers, marketing now includes insight gained from the study of customer behavior (incorporating the disciplines of social science, psychology, and sociology) as well as input from hard science (economics and mathematics). Thus relationship marketing and social marketing are now being added to traditional marketing activities.