A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham McGregor: Finding a 'better way' to sell

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How can we get more clients to tell their friends about our business? Photo / iStock
How can we get more clients to tell their friends about our business? Photo / iStock

Let me start this week's marketing column with two simple questions.

Q1: How many businesses are there in the entire world that are selling similar products and services at similar prices to the same type of customers as you sell to?

Obviously there are a lot!

Q2: Now, how many of these businesses are getting better sales results than you are right now?

The answer again is yes there would probably be a lot.

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If these businesses (who sell the same type of products and services as you do, to similar types of customers at similar prices) are getting better sales results it only means one thing.

They have a better way of selling.

It could be a better way of making a sales presentation, getting repeat sales, getting referral business, resolving customer concerns.

These people may have a better way of lead generation, a better way of getting customers to trust them or a better way of doing something.

If you want the sales to improve in your own business your responsibility is to spend a bit of time each week looking for one or more of these better ways to sell.

Because when you find this better way and implement it your sales will increase.

Start by asking questions like these:

Better Way Question 1:

How can we reduce my customer's fear of making a mistake when they buy our products or services?

When you come up with answers to this question you often experience huge increases in sales.

The reason is simple...

All of us have had the experience of making a bad purchase somewhere.

The product or service didn't work, caused problems and other people criticised us for our purchase.

This means we are all a little bit reluctant to spend money on any product or service in case we make a mistake and get criticised again.

The Unique Guarantee:

A pest control service used this 'fear of making a mistake' idea well.

They offered a commercial pest control service (insects, rats, fleas etc) for restaurants and hotels.

They added a unique guarantee to their service.

Firstly if the hotel or restaurant lost a booking because of a problem with pests, the pest control company would pay for that lost booking.

If the hotel or restaurant was ever closed down by a health inspector for a pest problem, the pest control company would reimburse them for any lost revenue they might have had.

The guarantee went on to cover 10 other points.

This pest control company is twice as expensive as anyone else in their field.

They also have 80 per cent market share in every area they go into.

Best of all they have a simple insurance policy that covers them for any money they might have to pay out.

All they have done is dramatically reduce the customer's fear around paying for their pest control service and it not working.

Better Way Question 2:

How can we get more clients to tell their friends about our business?

We all know that positive word of mouth marketing is a great way to get new customers.

The Unexpected Pot Plant:

An appliance shop uses this idea very well. Ten days after they make a sale of an appliance to a customer they send out by courier a little pot plant and a handwritten thank you note. (This costs the shop about $15.) Their customers love the unexpected gift and end up telling a lot of their friends and colleagues about this wonderful little appliance shop.

Better Way Question 3:

How can we make our product or service look far more attractive than our competitor's product or service?

The Bank that Promised Speed:

A major bank did a series of marketing campaigns that guaranteed to new clients that they would never have to wait in line at a bank branch for more than 5 minutes.

If a customer did have to wait more than 5 minutes in a line; the bank would give them free bank fees for a year.

A large number of new clients liked the idea of not having to wait in a line for more than 5 minutes; so they opened new accounts.

Now the bank had carefully measured the time their clients actually stood in a line while waiting for a bank teller.

They found that 95 per cent of the time it was less than 5 minutes. It just seemed longer than that to the people that were waiting.

Let me finish with the best news of all.

There is always a better way to sell if you look for it.

'There's a way to do it better - find it' - Thomas A. Edison

Action Exercise:

Write down 20 answers to any of these three 'Better Way' questions.

1: How can we reduce my customer's fear of making a mistake when they buy our products or services?

2: How can we get more clients to tell their friends about our business?

3: How can we make our product or service look far more attractive than our competitor's product or service?

Then put into practice at least one answer you come up with.

- NZ Herald

Graham McGregor is a consultant specialising in memorable marketing. Download his 396-page Unfair Business Advantage ebook at no charge from theunfairbusinessadvantage.com.

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A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham has had 36 years 'hands on' experience in sales and marketing. He has sold a range of services including advertising, sales training, personal development, life insurance, IT services, investment property and business consulting services.

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