Friday, June 1, 2012

So sell me.

Last in a series...

The world of commerce has changed dramatically in the past few years. Technological, demographic, social and economic changes are raining over small businesses like a never ending series of squalls.

The processes and techniques employed by many small businesses were developed in the mid-to late-20th century and built for a “broadcast” world that for the most part no longer exists: large audiences that you can reach and motivate through traditional, one-way “tell and sell” laden with cliches and jargon.

With the advance of social networks, smart phones and instant communications technologies, this outdated model is not delivering an ROI in a world measured by the bottom-line.
Today's audiences require real dialogue, a demonstrated value proposition and a say in how they interact with your product or service.  They form their own opinions and “customize” their own worlds and demand to know “What’s in it for me?” before they actively "like" you.

Enabling your business to court this new, actively engaged customer requires you to build a sales and marketing platform that:
  • Builds real relationships through real dialogue – face-to-face, online and sustained over time.  It incorporates the most effective method of building a direct dialogue with your target audiences, integrates sales process with marketing messages, and encompasses both online and face-to-face communication strategies and tactics.
  • Listens instead of speaks – Adapts based on customer input, by asking:  Do we have a compelling value proposition? How relevant is the story we are telling?  Does it matter to you? Who or what are we competing with?  Are we addressing "What's In It For You?”  
  • Simplifies interactions – establishes connections with targeted groups to fit your products or services into their lives on their terms.  Focuses on developing the most profitable relationships, profiling those key customers and how they interact with you and others, and leveraging those interactions open up new opportunities. 
As Peter Drucker, once said, "the purpose of business is to create and keep a customer."  Doing so is hard; if it wasn't, everyone would be doing it.  You can make selling easier by tightening your focus, simplifying your approach and creating real dialogues that address your customers' real needs.

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