Guerrilla marketers know to be proactive when it comes to direct selling. Waiting for a client to specify a desired solution and playing the competitive bid game is un-guerrilla like. Direct sales overcomes this.
Guerrilla marketers say nothing happens in a company until something is marketed. Guerrilla sellers say nothing happens until something is sold. All guerrillas know that both are right, and they work together.
Selling has often been called the distribution arm of marketing. When thinking of how best to get your marketing message to a prospect, telling them face to face always wins out. One-on-one interaction allows for dialogue--a postcard can't answer a question on the spot; a radio commercial can't overcome an objection stated by a prospect; a sign can't supply additional information when requested. Personal selling can.
Personal selling allows you to develop and adjust a message to satisfy a prospect's need for information or to answer a question. Developing and adjusting messages is marketing. Satisfying prospects' needs is guerrilla marketing.
As we head into the new year we look for new ways to grow our businesses. Marketing is key but so is the actual selling process. Since sales is an important part of marketing, it should be part of your marketing plan.
Guerrilla marketing can support sales efforts in many ways. Much of the support happens during the actual sales call itself. Lets look at this quick list of 10 ways marketing supports a sales call:
- Knowing that you must consider all of the following as part of the sales call is the necessary mindset to satisfy a customer.
- Upon introduction a business card is presented.
- A handout (flyer or brochure) guides a discussion during the call.
- Before arriving, a certain amount of market research as it relates to the customer, the competition and the customer's challenges is done.
- A sales presentation full of "benefits" not overloaded with "features" is done.
- Sometimes convincing a customer requires the use of a case study or a testimonial.
- Toward the end of the sales call it's wise to always ask for referrals.
- Communicating identity will leave that lasting impression in the minds of your prospect.
- Showing interest and following up are two important ingredients of the networking that got you in front of the prospect in the first place.
- The benefit communicated that the competition doesn't have is your competitive advantage that the prospect is looking for.
This list isn't exhaustive. Your own creativity and imagination will add to it. Just don't forget that all of it working together is a tremendous support to your efforts and to your end game.
Selling is a very important part of the marketing process, but it's not a replacement for it.
A sales rep or the selling process is part of your company's promotional and marketing communications mix. Conveying information about benefits to prospects and keeping them informed of new products, services or ways to solve new problems all lead to customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction generates revenue. Without satisfied customers you have no business.
Many consumer businesses rely on advertising and promotion. B2B organizations rely more on the personal selling arm of marketing. Much of this is related to the nature of the customer's buying process and the buyer-seller relationship.
Since communication is a two-way process, being face to face with a prospect in a sales situation also allows for prospect feedback to be heard. The salesperson can then communicate this back to the selling organization in an effort to respond, solve, improve or communicate more effectively.
Marketing will get you to the dance, but once you're at the dance you have to do your own dancing. Marketing generates leads, makes the phone ring, causes people to want and ask for your product. Selling convinces a prospect to take money from their bank account and put it in yours in exchange for something.
Many small businesses don't have massive sales forces or large numbers of salespeople, if any. You, as the owner, principal or manager of the business are thrown to the prospect wolves in the form of a sales rep. Knowing and exerting the selling fundamentals will lead you to make more business transactions.
Al Lautenslager is an award-winning marketing and PR consultant and direct-mail promotion specialist. He's also the principle of Market For Profits, a Chicago-based marketing consulting firm. His two latest books, Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days and The Ultimate Guide to Direct Marketing are available at www.entrepreneurpress.com.