Using Social Media As A Pull Marketing Strategy

pull-marketing

Things have changed and we live in a connection economy today.  Consumers want to be pulled pull-marketingnot pushed into the products or services the desire.  The sales person, consultant, company, you fill in the blank that does the best job at connecting with people or companies, i.e. pulling those, who are willing to listen to them wins…big.

I’m startled when sales people or organizations fail to use social media as a pull marketing strategy.

My Honda dealer won’t connect with me…even though I asked them to very politely

As I write this I’m sitting in the waiting room at my Honda dealer getting my oil changed.  My family has had an absolutely wonderful experience with this dealership on every level.  We adore our sales rep, and we love our 2012 Honda Crosstour. With just a little effort to connect with us socially they could have us as customers forever (providing the experience remains consistently great).

Here is what boggles my mind.  When we purchased our Crosstour early this year we told our sales rep that we were in the market for a second vehicle.  More importantly we asked to be contacted and kept up to date with any lease specials (we actually said PLEASE inform us).  To date we have gotten zero, zip, zilch, in way of any type of communication from our sales rep on lease specials.

In a connection economy when a prospect gives you outright permission, no scratch that, request PLEASE connect with me you have to do it.

Why I think my rep has not connected with me

He’s thinks he selling cars, but he’s not.  He’s selling a wonderful non-pressured sales experience, a service department that doesn’t try to rip me off, a waiting room with better coffee than Starbucks, and permission to inform me about anything Honda (I’d even follow him to a different dealership…because I’ve bought into him).  My wife and and I have already bought into all of this.  Getting us to purchase a second car there would be a piece of cake.

Newsflash…we actually want 3 cars…my daughter starts to drive in a few months.

Using social media as a pull marketing strategy is easy

Social media does not have to be difficult. You don’t have to have a Facebook or Twitter account.  Email is a social media tool that you likely already have…use it.

Blogs are a social media tool and should be the foundation of your social media strategy anyway (not Facebook and not Twitter…YOUR OWN BLOG).  My opinion is that micro blogging platforms like Facebook should support your blog on your domain…not the other way around.

Setting up a blog is free and takes less than 10 minutes to get started.  Seth Godin who communicates with thousands of people each day that, willingly spread his ideas via Twitter and Facebook, uses Typepad’s free blog platform.  You can also check out WordPress it’s also free.

Use social media to connect or risk losing your customers

There is another Honda dealership in walking distance from my house.  By not connecting with me in any way shape or form, my dealership has opened the door for their competitor.  All I have to do is walk on over to their competitor.

Multitasking vs Focus What Would Einstein Say

I recently attended a Dale Carnegie session in which a small debate came up regarding multitasking vs focus.  Today there is such a tremendous emphasis placed on the ability to multitask.  But is multitasking or a laser like focus better for accomplishing goals?  What would Albert Einstein say?

What is multi-tasking

Multitasking is the ability to handle more than one task (type of client, develop more than one skill, do more than one job, etc) at same time.  An example of organizational multitasking can be seen as an entrepreneur focusing on a wide group (shot gun approach) to serve verses a niche market (riffle approach).Multitasking vs focus

What’s the fastest way for a small business to reach it’s goal?

Consider a new small business owner with a goal of doing $100,000 in business revenue.  What gets her to her goal faster? Multitasking and serving many types of clients or laser focus on a niche market?  Generally speaking it’s far easier to start focused on a niche market and expand later than it is to start broad and narrow your focus later.

What would Albert Einstein say?

Consider this example.  Bart leaves his home in New Jersey and gets on his skateboard and rides 10 mph north (true north) towards Canada.  A third of the way there he decides to divert a little (multi-task) and ride just a little in easterly direction as well…he’s now traveling in a north easterly direction.  Bart is still going north, just less north that he was before.  Bart will still get to Canada just not as quickly.

This is what Albert Einstein discovered regarding the space time continuum, that an object in motion actually experiences time at a slower rate than one at rest (read it if you are really looking for something to make you go…hmm!). I don’t want to attempt to explain it here but this natrual law as implication for businesses.  The simplest way to understand it is to realize that moving in one direction is more efficient than attempting to move in two at the same time.  Any attempt to move in the second direction will slow your movement in the first.

While multitasking is sometimes necessary whenever you can move with a laser focus in one direction, toward a single goal, you will get there faster.

Update: Since I’ve written this a debate has erupted Multitasking Men vs Women.

How To Sell Your Products The Way Apple Sells iPods and the iPhone

iPod Ad

iPod AdYou can sell more of whatever it is you are trying to move if you will quickly abandon any attempt to tell clients any facts, figures, or pricing about what you are selling.

To often sales people do what I call a feature puek.  They rattle of all the facts, prices, in’s & out’s, and we do this and we do that about their product or service.  They want to give the customer information, but information is exactly what the customer does not need in the information age.  All the information they need to make a buying decision is available online for a whopping $0.  Besides if they found you trough an Internet search haven’t they already read the information on your website?

Customers don’t need sales people to give them information, (even if they say)…”I’m looking for some information on…”.

How to sell anything … Tell clients want they want to hear

What they are really after is a story that already lines up with their particular worldview.  A world view is simply a story that a customer has already told herself and believes.  If you can share with consumers a story about your product, that they have already told themselves, that is true, and makes a promise that they believe you can fulfill you have a good shot at making a sale.

How Apple sells iPods and iPhones

Consider the most successful MP3 player in history…the Apple iPod.  Apple did not invent the MP3 player, instead they just told a better story to the people who were already inclined to believe it, then those people told their friends.

  • World view: I’ve got a huge music collection that I’d like to listen to when and where I want to.
  • Story: 10,000 songs in your pocket.  For Mac or PC

No facts, no figures, no advertised price, just a story told to a consumer who already shares that world view.

Which Sales Profile Wins Most Often

In a world of hesitant, risk-averse, empowered customers, what sales profile consistently wins?

That’s the question the folks over a CEB (The Corporate Executive Board Company) asked themselves.  So they conducted a survey of more than 6,000 sales people across a wide range of industries and in multiple geographic territories.  Their research uncovered 5 sales profiles that people fit into.  Here they are:sales profile

  1. The “Problem Solver” – Detail orientated, reliable, and naturally drawn to solving client issues. The Problem Solver excels at handling the post-sale service issues that can harm a client relationship.
  2. The “Relationship Builder” – Focused on serving the customer. This profile is adept at building and nuturing customer relationships by being highly accessable to customers and responsive to thier specific needs.
  3. The “Challenger” – The debater on the team. The Challenger has a deep understanding of the customer’s business and isn’t afraid to share their view. Assertive in dealing with internal and external stakeholders. Tends to push people out of their comfort zone.
  4. The “Lone Wolf” – Self confident. This profile follows their own instincts instead of the rules.
  5. The “Hard Worker” – Always willing to go the extra mile. This person is self motivated and does not give up easily. The Hard Worker seeks out feedback and tries to identify opportunities for improvement.

Question: Of these 5, which do you think is the most effective at closing business?

If you’re like most people you likely think that its the “Relationship Builder”.  Common wisdom says that the sales rep with the best relationships always wins.  There’s no disputing that building relationships with customers is important – but is this enough?

Findings for the most effective sales profile

  • The “Challenger” – 39% – The Clear Winner!!
  • The “Lone Wolf” – 25%
  • The “Hard Worker” – 17%
  • The “Problem Solver” – 12%
  • The “Relationship Builder” – 7%

Turns out that the most effective sales profile is the “Challenger” and by a fairly large margin.  But why?

The answer lies in the idea change.  Simply things have changed.  It’s no longer sufficient to simply have good relationships.  Top performers are “Challengers” who force their customers to think outside box, push for creative solutions, and get their clients to realize they have problems they did not know they had.

“Challengers” are 10x better for complex sales according to CEB.

3 Things “Challengers” do different

  1. Challengers keep the level of contact at a high level.  Which means they find ways to continue to communicate with the decision makers.
  2. Challengers keep the perceptions wide.  Ever had a client do business with a competitor simply because they did not know that you provided the product of service.  That’s referred to as a narrowing perception.
  3. Challengers make customers want to talk to them first.  By challenging the customer, coming up with ideas, the “Challenger” is the person the customer wants to talk to first.  The “Challenger” is the trusted adviser.

Learn more about CEB’s research on which sales profiles wins the most.  Here’s a link to where you can buy their book.

 

 

Automotive Marketing Still Stinks

Deceptive automotive marketing stinks and consumers are fed up with it

My wife and I are in the market for a second car.  At least she is, which means I am.  A few weeks ago she noticed a lease special advertised on the website of Ardmore Toyota.  The ad was for a Toyota Camry LE lease with $0 and $189 per month.  Just what my wife was looking for.

We rushed in ready to sign a deal.  When we got there here is what we discovered.

  1. The advertised price is only for recent college graduates (was in the small print but we did not read it).
  2. The car advertised does not have electric seats and unfortunately they did not carry that car (not we don’t have it stock…we don’t even order it!)(So even if we were recent college graduates they still could not have lived up to the promise of the ad.)
  3. The nice shinny car in the pictured in the ad was not the LE but the more expensive SE version. With a clearly different set of lighting options that were not available on the actual car they had for lease.

It seems the whole point of this ad was to get people into the dealership with the promise of something the dealership did not even have to sell, to then sell them something a bit more expensive.  Which would be OK with me if they could have actually sold me what the ad promised.

Once there the standard twisting of trying to get us to lease a slightly more expensive vehicle went on for some time.  And of course we were assured they were offering us their best deal possible (does anyone believe that any more?).

We decided not to lease the car and left.  For the next 3 days I received calls from the General Manager making me increasingly better offers on the same vehicle they had assured me while in the dealership they were offering me their best price.

What we really want

As I think through this it’s not really another car we are in the market for.  What we really want is an automotive retailer we can trust. The actual vehicle matters much less.

I’m not lumping all automotive marketers in the same boat

I do realize that all retail automobile dealers don’t engage in such glarringly deceitful advertising.  In fact we’ve had a very pleasant relationship with Martin Honda whose January ad for a lease special was exactly what they offered.

Word to the wise marketer

Consumers want to trust their auto dealers and anyone else they buy from.  Get caught lying to them and you run the risk of ending up the subject on some guys blog with an army of readers and not just losing his trust and business but his tribes as well.