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A Thing A Winning Market Strategy

A Winning Market Strategy

  Successful sales aren’t the result of successful sales calls. They are the result of well prepared, thoroughly researched, cohesive marketing strategies that begin months before the first sales call is made. The first step to is to ask yourself some questions.

Who are Your Prospects?

          Who are the most important people in your company? Your customers. And what are they before they are your customers? That’s right—your prospects. Therefore, the first place to start when designing a marketing strategy is to identify your prospects. You need to know who you want to purchase your product and you need to be willing to spend the time, energy, and money it takes to create a profile of your prime prospects.

How Will You Find Them?

          Now that you have a profile of the type of prospects you are looking for, you will need to obtain a database of their names and contact information. Remember, you will be contacting these people more than once so, if you are renting a list, be sure it is not a one-time-use agreement. Also, be sure that the list has been updated recently and does not contain duplicate information.

What Will You do With Them?

          What to do with your database? First, set up a system for initiating contact, keeping track of the calls, and recording the status. You will also need the ability to generate reports so you can analyze the effectiveness of your efforts and fine-tune your processes for improved results. When you are setting up this system, you will need to consider:

  • What type of software do you want to use?

  • Who is going to be in charge of the installation and maintenance?

  • What data fields do you need to include?

  • Can you import that data into letters, faxes, and e-mails?

  • Will you need to hire someone to maintain the system? If so, will it be a consultant or a full time employee?

  • Who will train your employees?

What are You Selling?

          Now that you know whom you want to sell to, it’s time to look at what you are selling and for how much. Look at what you offer and compare it to products of similar quality and products of similar price (keep in mind these may not be the same products). Do you need to change your prices to be more competitive? Do you need to highlight different features? For example, do you provide a service that you view as “standard” while your competitors tout it as a benefit? If so, get out there and toot your horn. If you overlook features or consider them  standard or ordinary, others will too.

Who Will Buy?

          We all know that it takes multiple contacts to make a sale. You usually need to speak to a prospect at least five times before getting the sale. What does that mean? It means we sell to people we have a relationship with, not people we have contact with. We sell to people who we invest time, energy, and personal interest in. People that we have a mutual relationship with become our customers. In a relationship, both parties perceive each other as competent and reliable.

Where to Start?

  1. Start with a letter. But, remember your letter will remain unopened unless it is written expressly for your target audience and written as part of your well thought out marketing plan. That’s why it is vital that you know whom you are selling to, how you are selling, and  what you will do with the responses, before you write the letter.

    In the letter, it’s important to remember that you are trying to build a mutual relationship. In other words, the purpose of the letter is not just for you to get a sale, and it is also for the prospect’s benefit. Therefore, you need to offer something of value right from the start, that they value. This doesn’t have to be an expensive or hard to mail item. It could be data (statistics, research), links to Web sites, etc. 

  2. Now you are ready to move on to appointment setting. Be prepared for every “what if” and “no” that could possibly come out of the prospect’s mouth. Use the data from your customer profile and contact database to set up a strategy for making appointments. If you have done the preliminary groundwork (create a customer profile, obtain a clean database) you should be able to use the same strategy for multiple contacts.

  3. Once you’re at the appointment, analyze the prospect’s needs. Most prospects are not going to provide you with a neat laundry list of specific items they need, in clear industry terminology. Instead, you need to know what questions to ask to bring out those needs. You will also need to probe and find out the priority of their needs and which are real and which are perceived. 

  4. Now the solution. Once you know what the prospect needs, you can customize your presentation so that yours is the solution for them. Remember, the key to a successful presentation is not “wowing” them with your copious knowledge of the industry—you are sure to bore, and possibly, annoy them. Respect their time and stick to the basics—what you can do to get them the results they need. 

    Also, you will need to take into account who you will be presenting to and what his or her motivations are. Is it the person who will use the service? If so, you will want to focus on the ease and simplicity of operation. 

    Is it the person who signs the checks? If so, you will need to focus on the financial benefits. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean he is looking for the cheapest up-front solution, but rather the one that makes the most fiscal sense in the long run.

    Is it the person who is involved in the technology of the solution? If it breaks or malfunctions, it will be his headache. Therefore, he wants to go with the solution that is the most technologically reliable.

  5. Finally, negotiate. Don’t assume that your prospect will listen to your presentation and be ready to sign. And don’t be afraid when he asks questions. Encourage questions as they give you a chance to reiterate that you have analyzed their needs, presented the best solutions, and addressed issues specific to his company and industry. Negotiation affords you the opportunity to make a case for your service/product and present a return on investment scenario that clearly demonstrates the fact that turning this proposal down would be a losing proposition.

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