I received an email from Xerox this afternoon with some tips for standing out from your competition. To me, they seemed quite worthy of consideration if your considering launching a new sales/marketing project. Whether you’re contemplating a website, brochure or ad campaign, I think these tips will help your project succeed. (source, with slight revisions)
- Know your audience The more you know about a potential customer or employer, the more you can tailor your presentation to what’s important to them. Leverage your personal network and the web to get up to speed quickly. Nothing builds rapport like a relevant, customized presentation.
- Make a great impression Package your product or service in a way that draws in your viewer, has relevant and timely information, and presents your product or service in its best light. Consider hiring a graphic designer that can help pull all your information together and polish it so it shines brightly.
- Listen and learn Good salespeople spend at least half of their time listening; asking questions and listening some more. They adapt their sales pitch to include what’s most relevant to their audience. Incorporating these skills into your sales/marketing projects will add to their relevance to your target audience, and in turn, will help it succeed.
- Create connection Provide opportunities for a prospective buyer to connect with what you’re selling. If it’s a product, let them try it out and see how it works. If it’s an intangible like a service or an idea, provide endorsements or references from industry leaders or other trusted sources.
- Summarize your key selling points Ask yourself what about your offering would benefit your potential customer most. Consider your competition and what sets you apart. Be bold. Lead with your strengths. Remember to emphasize benefits over features. Benefits are the reasons prospects become customers.
- Make it risk free Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. People are naturally excited by new opportunities and ideas, but they’re also cautious about something they’ve never tried. Make it easy for a prospective customer to take a chance on you. Provide references or testimonials from trusted sources. Offer a free trial, free training, an unconditional guarantee, or another assurance to reduce risk.
- Add an incentive Why should a potential customer buy now? Incentives help move sales forward. Price incentives are powerful, but offers of training or additional services are also effective. Other incentives are convenience, location, availability, timeframe, guarantees, trials, bundles, discounts on future purchases, etc. Knowing what’s important to your prospect(s) will help you design a more effective incentive.
- Close the sale When you’ve answered all the questions, countered objections, presented your offering, and reviewed the situation as objectively as you can, ask your prospect if there is anything else you can provide to help them make their decision. After the sale be sure to meet or exceed their expectations and you’ll be well positioned for continued success.
- Follow up Good follow-up is common sense, but it’s surprising how often it’s neglected. That’s why it helps you stand out. Write a thank you note. Make a phone call to check on delivery or how your product or service is performing. Selling is about relationships. Good ones lead directly to more sales and referrals.
- Ask for feedback The easiest time to ask for feedback is when you’re doing well, but don’t hesitate to ask any time. Customers and prospects may be reluctant to bring up small things on their own. But if you ask how things could improve, they’ll tell you. It’ll help you do even better and stay ahead of your competition.
These are tips that I need to remember when working with current and prospective clients and their projects. Not being a salesperson, I often forget how important it is to make sure we are considering the customer and viewers needs and expectations. It’s good to have a list like this handy to ensure our sales/marketing projects are more effective.