Roy's Blog: August 2009
August 27, 2009
There are two options to consider when setting a sales philosophy for your organization. You can choose to generate revenue by selling stuff or you can choose to build intimate relationships with people and have them buy stuff.
Selling stuff equates to flogging products; the focus is on what is being produced rather than on the demand elements of the customer. Very few people like the flogging experience where a sales person tries to shove a product down your throat with little consideration for our needs and expectations. At the end of a flogging experience we generally feel used, abused and violated vowing to never return.
Building deep relationships and having people buy stuff is quite a different thing and is based on the axiom that ‘you need to make a friend before you can do business’. The sales dynamics focus on getting to know the prospect and their specific needs and expectations (in the marketing chapter of my book I delve into the notion of customer secrets and how this intimate level of customer knowledge can unlock raw marketing power that create BE DiFFERENT organizations). The Relationship Builder actually make you compelled to buy! The forces at play propel the prospective buyer along a course of action that requires a transaction; anything less conjures up the feeling of guilt given the time, effort and caring the Builder has invested in you.
Relationship building firms understand and trust that cash flow is the result of deep customer relationships; an annuity stream is established over a longer period of time with an impressive Net Present Value as compared to the short term financial benefits of the one sale wonder.
Start the move today to developing a relationship building sales team. And introduce this element in the sales compensation plan. If you are purely a flogging organization today, ad a percentage for the relationship element and begin the journey to BE DiFFERENT Sales. Begin with compensating your sales team 20% on relationship building and increase this amount over time.
How do you measure relationship building? Create a Customer Report Card with 6 key relationship building behaviors and ask the customer to rate the salesperson on each. Customer perception is reality and it will not be long before every salesperson is paying attention to what is required to be a Builder!
Here are some relationship building behaviors to consider: show honest concern for the customer, build a profile on them, be an active listener, problem solve, be the customer advocate in your organization, relentlessly follow up on customer issues and be available 24X7. Or better still do some customer research and build the Builder behavior profile for your customers specifically. Good luck!
August 16, 2009
Recently I was asked to comment on a number of brand and logo alternatives a business had developed. From a creative point of view, some were quite clever and definitely better than others. Yet I couldn’t choose one.
Why? Because I didn’t understand what the business was trying to achieve. What was the communications strategy? To evaluate anything you need strategic context. In BE DiFFERENT or be dead, I talk about the importance in ‘looking up’ to your strategy to provide specific direction on tactics and programs. In the same way you need strategy clearly defined before you can decide on the appropriate tactic to employ. I see many organizations today ‘wallowing’ in tactics without a strategic rudder and happy doing it. The problem is their business doesn’t translate into performance because they don’t have the strategic metrics to examine.
A decision on your brand requires a clear understanding of the strategy you want to employ. Alternative brands are then evaluated in terms of how well each serves the strategy; how well each expresses it to your target customers. A brand is intended to convey your value proposition in a clear and compelling way. The debate within an organization should be around this issue and not be based on personal bias and emotional criteria (which ends up to be the case most of the time).
Conversely, if you want to change your brand it should be for one of two reasons: either your current brand doesn’t reflect your current strategy as effectively as it should, or, you have changed your strategy and need to reassess your brand accordingly. You shouldn’t be changing it because it is stale dated or it isn’t ‘sexy’enough. If you do, you run the risk of confusing your customers who may just presume that you are now something else - an outcome you didn’t intend.
Don’t change your brand unless it is no longer satisfying the strategy of the organization.
The New Democratic Party of Canada is considering changing it’s identity to The Democratic Party of Canada. The reason given is that the party isn’t ‘NEW” any longer and the party feels they need to build currency with younger people as did Obama in the US. Changing to the ‘Democratic Party’ won’t do it. Many people argue that the ‘NEW’ in the current name implies a new approach to democratic reform and not the age of the party.Does changing the name imply they are no longer interested in new approaches to solving the country’s problems?
If they are targeting new voter segments, what is their (new) value proposition to those groups and how does their revised identity reflect it? Not apparent to me. I suspect they are trying to capture some of the ‘Obama magic’ by changing their name. A very risky strategy indeed!
Here is the process to create an appropriate brand:
- Develop your BE DiFFERENT strategy - see Section Two of BE DiFFERENT or be dead
- Ensure your only claim is clear and concise
- Determine your communications strategy to serve the overall strategy you just developed
- Articulate the message you intend to send your target customers
- NOW look at a number of alternative creative executions to deliver the message
Cheers, Roy Osing
The only Statement
The Renewal Process
Renew your Strategy
Focus, Modify Business Processes and Cut the Crap
Be Anal about Execution and Set Cost Objectives
Plan on the Run and Customerize your Marketing
Dazzle your Customers and Sell Intimate Relationships
Small Business Strategy
BE DiFFERENT Business Makeover
August 6, 2009
BE DiFFERENT Marketing Practice #2 stipulates that organizations must institutionalize a continuous process of learning about their customers and that they adopt this capability as a core competency - to outsource is to BE SAME.
So what type of customer information do we seek to learn? The bottom line is that most organizations try to determine what customers need and want; this does not go far enough to BE DiFFERENT!
The objective of Customer Learning is to discover Customer Secrets, the deepest, most intimate desires of WHO you intend to SERVE.
Customer needs operate at the highest most superficial level (what telecom product needs does the target group have), whereas Customer Secrets operate at the lowest, detailed most intimate level (what recreational, travel and culinary delights does the person have?). You get the difference in approach.
Why is the secret level important? Well, other organizations will simply not possess the same information on a customer group and you therefore will be in the driver’s seat to apply the information in your Value Package creation process and achieve an unmatched position in the market.
Everyone else will be busy bundling things together based on narrowly defined customer needs, and you will blow by ‘em with relevant compelling Offers which deliver the intimate value expressed by your target customer group. Will it be easy to copy your Offer? Not likely - customer secrets are market power which few will possess.
Where do you get secrets? You need to build a trusting relationship with your customers and engage them in a conversation where they reveal this information to you because they believe you will use it to benefit them.
I am not talking about violating privacy laws here; rather listening intently to what people chose to tell you and then using it to create value they are quite willing to pay for.
That’s what marketing is all about, isn’t it?
Cheers, Roy Osing