Are you having difficulty finding customers to purchase your product or service? Or, does almost every prospect you talk to have a need for what you’re selling? When you do find a prospect, are you spending a lot of time “convincing” them to buy? Or, do they easily see how you can fulfill their needs?
If sales are difficult or time-consuming for you or your salespeople, then understanding and applying The Four Rules for Sales and Marketing Success™ may make selling easier for you. These Rules apply whether you are selling to consumers or to other businesses.
Do your prospects recognize that they have a need or want, if they are consumers—or a business problem to solve or opportunity to exploit, if they are a business customer? If not, then you must convince them they do.
If your prospects clearly recognize their need, want, problem, or opportunity, then you can move on to Rule #2. Note, though, that it’s not enough that you recognize that your prospect has a need or problem: your prospect must recognize this, as well.
If your prospects do not recognize their need or problem, then the first action of your marketing and selling activities is to create or heighten your prospects’ awareness of their need or problem. This requires specific effort on your part, and is typically done through an integrated marketing communications program. There’s a cost in both time and dollars to do this!
It’s far simpler, however, if you can identify a selected group of your potential customers who already recognize their need or problem. This group then becomes your target market segment, and your marketing and selling tasks become easier with this group. You don’t have to create or build their awareness before you can move on to Rule #2, and you don’t have to invest the time and money required if you ignore this rule..
Is the want/need/problem/opportunity causing your prospects enough pain or the prospect of enough pleasure that they are willing to take action?
If your prospects are ready to act to fill their needs or solve their business problems, then you can move on to Rule #3. If your prospects’ needs or problems are not strong enough to motivate them to take action, then you must expend more sales and marketing effort to convince them that they will benefit from filling the need or solving the problem. Keep in mind that your prospects probably have several needs or problems, so you must show them the one that you can fill or solve is of high enough priority that they should fill it before the others. This again requires specific effort on your part, and is another requirement for your integrated marketing communications program, and another expenditure of time and money.
You can save yourself much of this effort, however, if you refine your target market segment further to include only those prospects who already recognize their need or problem and who are willing to act on that need or problem. Then you don’t have to educate them before you can move on to Rule #3.
In other words, if you have chosen a target market segment satisfying Rules #1 and #2, then the bulk of your marketing and sales activities and expenditures can be spent on satisfying Rules #3 and #4, below.
Do your prospects recognize you can fulfill their needs or wants, or solve their business problems?
If so, then you’ve selected your target market well, or your marketing communications program has already done its job, or you have already built good relations with your prospects. In each of these cases, you can move on to Rule #4.
If your prospects don’t recognize your ability to meet their needs or solve their problems, then you must demonstrate to them your ability to do so. This activity should be part of your marketing communications program, and forms the core of your initial selling activities. Your prospects must recognize that you have a solution to their needs or problems before they will commit to spending time or resources with you.
Once you have educated your prospect on your ability to satisfy their needs or solve their problems, you can move on to Rule #4.
Will your prospects pay you to fulfill their needs or solve their business problems?
There are two parts to this Rule: Will your prospects pay? And will your prospects pay you? Even though your prospects recognize their need or problem, are motivated to take action, and recognize you have a solution, they may not be ready or able to pay, or to pay you.
You must ensure your prospects have funds budgeted or available to fill their need or solve their problem. You also must ensure you are dealing with the decision-maker. In the case of a family, the husband and wife, or partners, may make joint decisions—especially on large purchases. In the case of a business, several individuals may comprise the “buying center,” including a purchasing agent, an executive, a financial officer, a technical person, and possibly others.
Once you have determined your prospects’ ability and willingness to pay, you must ensure they are willing to pay you—i.e., they recognize you can fill their needs or solve their problems in a way that no other competitor or substitute product can do. They must clearly see greater value in what you have to offer them, and trust you to stand behind your product or service’s ability to meet their need or solve their problem.
If your prospects can’t distinguish you from your competitors, don’t trust you, or can’t distinguish your product or service from other products or services offered to them, then a portion of your marketing and sales activities (and budget) must be spent on educating them about your uniqueness and trustworthiness. Of course, uniqueness and trustworthiness must have value to your prospects before they are willing to pay for it.
Every customer must satisfy The Four Rules for Sales and Marketing Success™. So, if you are having difficulty finding customers to purchase your product or service, or when you do find a prospect, you are spending a lot of time “convincing” them to buy, consider narrowly targeting your prospects to satisfy Rules #1 and #2. Then, you’ll find that almost every prospect you talk to has a need for what you’re selling and is ready to act on that need. You’ll then be able to concentrate your marketing and sales efforts on satisfying Rules #3 and #4 to ensure they easily see how you can fulfill their needs better than any of your competitors.
This is an optimum use of your scarce marketing and selling dollars and time!
P.S. If you’re not sure how to apply these Rules in your business, please contact me for an initial, no-charge consultation.