Who ya gonna sell it to?

You have a great product to sell, now who are you going to sell it to? As my sales coach Alice Heiman says “if you want to sell to everyone, you sell to no one”.

A concrete example of this is the almighty AWARENESS. I can’t tell you the number of non-profit executive director types or board members who have said if only people knew about us, they’d love us and we’d be set. So they plan to reach “everyone”.

When they do that, this is what I teach them: we are all aware we should floss our teeth, at least twice a day. Who here does that, all the time, day in and day out? Ok, so some of you are better at flossing than the rest of us. I’ll bet you I can catch you on something you are “aware of” but don’t always do: eating right, exercising, drinking water, not sharing prescriptions–you get the gist. And yet just because we are aware, doesn’t mean we do. The key to communication is moving from know of, to know about, to know how, to know intimately. To do that, you have to start with the people who WANT to know OF you.

My brother sells widgets. Real ones. Made of stainless steel. He’s the guy that makes the stuff that build the machines that make bigger stuff. No one I know needs to know what he does. But manufacturers with need for high quality stainless steel do. So he never needs to do a media release for the newspaper. But trade journals–that’s another story. He doesn’t need to go to the Chamber of commerce, but he probably should attend a manufacturing trade show occasionally.

See? You need to know more about your audience, than maybe they even know. And this is just the start of knowing your audience. We’ll talk more.


4 thoughts on “Who ya gonna sell it to?

  1. Thank you! I have been trying to convince my small business owner husband of this for I don’t know how long. Selling a high end product (granite countertops) should not be done by offering rock bottom prices-no pun intended. Confusing message. I will be directing him to this blog: )

    • Agreed Carolyn. Pricing is an entirely different marketing strategy. People are funny about cheap. They want the best quality they can afford and hope “afford” is inexpensive. But no one wants cheap–they don’t trust the product. My suggestion is your husband consider a competitive price for comparable product. He won’t make up the difference in volume going rock-bottom unless he’s the Wal-Mart of granite tops. Instead he needs to find people needing quality granite counter tops. He might consider talking to interior decorators or remodel general contractors about his product and services. If his product is “green” he should connect to those industries looking at green and policy makers. If it’s industry appropriate he might consider referral incentives to those folks–sometimes a thank you note or a couple bottles of interesting beer go a long way. Local magazines often feature local dealers; so if he has some ad resources that might be the ad package to buy. Check the price for online banners with the local paper website and magazine site. Let me know if any of this is helpful. And thanks for commenting!

      • You are right that interior designers and other general contractors are a good source of business, and we started offering referral incentives after surveying customers and figuring out that word-of-mouth is our best source of new business. Online banners is something we haven’t looked into yet and might be worth some of our budget. I keep saying we need to pull our ads out of the local want-ad publication. I feel like people who look through and buy from want-ads are only looking for the best deal and many times are willing to compromise on quality-doesn’t exactly mesh with our message of high quality product and service.

      • I would agree that your want ads are probably not the best use of funds. Have you asked the contractors and interior designers if they’d link your website to theirs as favorites or go to? Might try that.

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