Vice President of New Business Development

Good Marketing Solves the Customer's Needs First - Your Needs Second


“The key is, no matter what story you tell, make the buyer the hero.” Chris Brogan

I had two experiences the other day that left me shaking my head in disbelief. Both were solicitations for my business, one a radio commercial, the other, a direct telemarketer.

First, the auto dealership. If it seems like I’ve been picking on them, having just bought two cars, I now remember why it takes me so long in-between purchases. The ad came blaring over the radio on my drive home. “We’ve had a great month at XYZ Auto, we’ve sold lots of cars and we want to keep our momentum going.”

Whoa! When did my potentially buying a car turn into me caring about you keeping your momentum going? Sure, while I and probably most people prefer to do business with an organization that is doing well, I don’t want to be either beaten over the head with it nor have it made the first “feature and benefit” in your selling proposition. I have my own reasons for considering any purchase and trust me; it has nothing to do with what’s important to you. Not to say that I’m not a win-win kind of guy, I sure hope I am. But talk to me about what you can do for me first, not what I can do to help you.

Second, the business development professional services company. A telemarketer selling training services essentially teaching us how to get more business. The voice mail started with “Hi Brian, this is Donna, give me (no please) a call back, I’d like (why would I care what you’d like at this point?) to talk to you (not with) a little bit and tell you (not share with) what we have to offer.”

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Start every day shiny

Two situations that came up one week last month required me to change my normal route to work. The new path brought me passed a large local car dealership. Since it was before 7:00 AM each day I did not expect to see any activity as it was before working hours. What I saw really got my attention...and stay tuned for what it caused me to do.

In the lot were three different two-man teams, each with buckets and sprayers attached to garden hoses, washing off the 100 or so cars parked in neat rows across the expansive parking lot. Despite the absence of any trees and falling leaves or any new snow, ice or any other kind of precipitation, I noticed how meticulously each and every car was being cleaned so that when the prospective customers came to the lot that day, each vehicle would look its’ absolute best.

It reminded me again that everything that every organization does is marketing. Either you are making yourself look more attractive, or less attractive, to your customers and prospects. You might have the best marketing communication strategies possible, but if your execution leaves the product unattractive or less ‘shiny’ than it could be, you are creating a disadvantage for yourself and your salespeople - not the marketing and sales support you are looking for.

Marketers and business owners, make sure; the lobby is neat, the rugs are clean, the bathrooms smell good, the light bulbs all work, the marketing messages are clear and they are delivered in a timely fashion. Salespeople, make sure your shoes are shined, your teeth are brushed, your attitude is good, your sales literature is organized and you leave whoever you visit feeling better when you walk out then when you walked in.

Ps. What did the “car washing” cause me to do? Despite having another vehicle all picked out – I gave that dealership a shot and bought one of their ‘shiny’ cars instead.


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