Use Your Marketing To Keep People Away
What? Who is this mad man? Why would the Customer Catcher say,
"Keep people away with your marketing?" Much of your time and
effort in selling and marketing is spent trying to attract people to buy
your technology. We want throngs of prospects calling with piqued curiosity to book sales presentations. However, let's look at it
from another angle today.
You have to establish a balance between lead generation numbers and
your sales volume. Your sales effectiveness is directly related to your
marketing ability to qualify and disqualify prospects. Attract quality
prospects that are more likely to buy and preferably spend more per
transaction and you'll experience lucrative results with net margins and
your bottom line profits.
Think about how often you hear about the concern to increase lead
generation numbers. This is tied to the response rates for your various
marketing campaigns. Advertisers sell you on the "thousands" of
people who will see your ads. Trade shows lure you with the
"thousands" that will be attending their exhibitions. Do you
measure your sales or marketing based on the number of new contacts
generated? Focusing too acutely on this parameter without recognizing the
cost of selling to the masses can lead to trouble.
10 Reasons To Keep People Away
A "contact" is not the same as a "lead." The
difference is the qualification of the person's desire to buy. You want to
invest your efforts wisely with prospects that have a greater chance of
becoming long-term customers sooner. Why? Here are ten reasons,
including some obvious ones, to keep people away:
- You save enormous amounts of time. You spend less time explaining
your product and company to unqualified people. In the past, as a
salesman, there was nothing more frustrating than individuals who just
wanted to know "what's out there," students working on term
papers, competitors calling looking for innovations and weaknesses,
or, worst of all, professional purchasers just looking for a third
quote. In addition, you can save the non-qualified prospect time and energy, which
is both a professional, ethical, and polite business practice.
- You increase the productivity of your sales staff and generate
higher closing ratios. The Internet is an amazing tool to increase the
ease of mass marketing. It is also a fantastic automation tool for
qualifying the masses that used to need to be addressed in person, with live bodies. Using free electronic
newsletters, or e-zines, allows you to sell with drip marketing.
Offering audits, surveys, and questionnaires lets prospects determine
their needs and when it is the right time to contact you.
- It requires fewer resources to handle sales and marketing when you
can screen out "tire kickers." You reach an optimum
situation with the most appropriate number of sales staff dealing with
a proportionally distributed workload. There have been studies that
estimate the cost of a live sales call to be $250 or more, when taking
all costs into consideration. Whatever the specific cost, it is not
only expensive to speak to non-qualified prospects, but wasteful. So…
- You will save loads of money. Stop sending out high-cost marketing
communications pieces to everyone who calls. Quality brochures, videos,
and CD presentations should be reserved for contacts
that have been questioned and clearly identified as leads. Sales
people are especially prone to this problem. When we respond to
inquiries, the natural tendency is to send a lot of information as
soon as a caller requests it. This is confusing the generation of
activity with effectiveness and profitability.
- Holding off a prospect with a qualification process can actually
make them hungrier and more curious to hear more about your company
and your products. This is the beginning of the consultative selling
process. While seeing if the prospect is qualified, you do start
selling them. However, rather than having just a one-way information
dumping session, you slowly educate them as they respond to your
- You present yourself as a professional and experienced company
through the questions you ask and the process you present. This in
itself is a demonstration to a prospect that you have done it before
and have a well-established consultative process from which they will
- A patiently applied qualification process helps you to start
training your customers to do what YOU want them to do. Instead of
jumping through their hoops, you gain more control and more respect, which allows you to charge more based on the value you
bring. Done properly, the prospect recognizes that value because you
don't deal with "just anyone" -- you're a specialist.
- Small commitments lead to larger commitments. If a contact invests
time answering qualifying questions, it indicates that they are
serious and willing to work with you. By asking them to give you
certain information, it begins a foundation of trust and openness for
you to build a relationship. Once you have trust in a relationship,
you also have competitive advantage.
- By excluding opportunities that are outside your core focus via
qualification, it increases your reputation within a vertical. It pays
to become the recognized expert within a specific industry or a
community of businesses. For example, you might have a general
solution, like a customer relationship management application, but you
specialize in the financial services industry.
- When disqualifying others, a perception of specialty is created that encourages
your customers and others to refer you. Your company's message should
be brief and properly targeted so that it is clear what you do. For
example, you might say, "We specialize in ASP database solutions
in the pharmaceutical industry." The decision makers and your
clients at one pharmaceutical firm will speak about your solution when
meeting with their colleagues at industry conferences. Just think, how
comfortable do you feel when you hear someone say, "That's all
they do," when referring you to a service?
Use your marketing process as part of your plans to achieve best
practices for saving money, time, and effort. Establish additional
objectives outside of hitting lead generation numbers and specific sales
targets. You can address disqualification simultaneously with a little
forethought. This means you don't have to add a lot more work to be using
the same resources more effectively.
The goal is to decrease your workload while increasing sales revenues.
This month's column has been about the reasons why to disqualify. Next
month, I'll discuss more concrete and tactical
suggestions on successfully keeping people away with your marketing.
Martin Wales, the Customer Catcher, is a business development
specialist helping companies win and keep more business with a focus on
CRM. He is a technology-marketing specialist, speaker, and facilitator
focused on maximum results with minimum risk using a company's existing
resources. Contact him at email@example.com.