Picture this: a new restaurant opens across the street from your house. You try it and, for the first time in years, you have a new favorite. You tell everybody about the restaurant; about its subtle, yet edgy, atmosphere, the friendly wait staff, and the delicious, reasonably priced food. You go there multiple times a week, with friends or alone, and you’re sad when it’s closed on Mondays. As the novelty wears off, you start ordering carry-out – and noticing more empty tables in the little restaurant. One day you walk in around 6:30 p.m. and the only other people in the place are the employees. You want to ask the people at the counter why they don’t have a website or any social media presence to speak of, but you know it isn’t their fault that the restaurant will almost certainly be out of business by this time next year.
What’s the point of brand development?
Objections to brand development come in many forms. For instance, a manager might insist that his industry doesn’t warrant big marketing initiatives. A vice president might think that the sales team gets results through personal relationships or arm-twisting, rather than supporting materials. On the other end of the spectrum, a small business owner might like to get some rebranding in the works, but never seems to have the ready funding or time to improve his business in that way.
Brand development is how you communicate the value of your business to the people who you want to be your customers. You could be managing one of the best restaurants on the whole block, but, if you don’t invest in any kind of marketing get new patrons through the door, good luck to you. You could be running one of the best sales teams in the country, but, without good, coherent material to show a prospect, securing big orders will be 10 times harder.
Instead of relying on luck, take charge of how people think about your business. Your brand should have a personality that resonates with your target audience. Examine how your company fits into the industry and where you add value for customers. Develop a strategy that showcases how you’re different and why that matters to the people you’re trying to serve. In time, you’ll not only be sending a clear message to your prospects, but also building loyalty and advocacy around your brand.
Have you taken charge of your branding? Let us know how in the comments below.
Conventional wisdom says that you need to brush up regularly to stay on top of your game, so I attend webinars once or twice a month in hopes of gaining or, at least, polishing a skill set. My most recent event had three speakers with expertise in various forms of increasing response rates. Two of the speakers were very concise, but only because the first speaker rambled on for twice his allotted time about lead generation – and how his family could only stand him for an hour a day. This was sales education.
When does technique become a crutch?
Lots of sales training, including the webinar I attended recently, focuses on improving technique, such as “make sure you sound excited” and “know the best times to call.” Of course, it is important to know enough technique to be efficient, but perfect technique doesn’t make up for the grunt work of making a lot of calls or knocking on a lot of doors.
Technique becomes a crutch when salespeople start to think of it as something that will do their jobs for them. The function of the salesperson is not to convince a prospect to become a client, but to find a willing prospect and to show them the avenue towards client-hood.
Safety in numbers
The experts have a lot of pretty looking graphs and visuals to illustrate how you can get somebody to talk to you and why email and phone calls are better than texting. But even the best response rates are still incredibly low, which can leave lead generation teams scratching their heads.
The fact is that most people are perfectly content with whatever they are doing, so they aren’t interested in what you’re selling. Nothing short of mind control can change that.
To counteract indifference, we recommend large pipelines. If you get in touch with fifty people and that ends up translating into two sales, getting in touch with a hundred people should give you four. Once you find your averages and know what to expect, you’ll be able to tell when tweaking your technique has an effect.
What sales techniques have you tried and tossed? Let us know in the comments below.
It can be hard to reach a prospect through only one point of contact. As a salesperson, I spend a lot of time on the phone, but this isn’t necessarily true of everybody else.
Case in point: I was recently trying to reach one of my contacts and got his voicemail. In an unexpected twist, he said he would be out of town until February 11 – but February 11 had already come and gone.