The Landscape of Business Has Changed
A special yearly issue of Success Magazine called "The Selling Issue" quoted Scott DeGarmo,
"The big money goes to those companies with superior marketing operations. Entrepreneurial companies of today must evolve from being sales oriented to being marketing oriented in order to now win the consumer."
Let me explain why it's important to focus on marketing instead of selling. There was a time known as "the days of simple selling." The days of simple selling are generally considered the days before 1980 or, in some industries, before 1990. In this period of selling, it was a lot easier for a salesperson to go in and sell to a buyer. The reason was simply because the marketplace was a lot less crowded.
For example, in 1980, if you wanted to buy a Ford pick-up truck, where did you go? You went to the dealership. This was the only way to see your choices and ask your questions. You couldn't go online or to Barnes & Noble and read fifteen magazines that compared and contrasted new trucks and cars because these sources of information didn't exist. The dealership was the only source of up-to-date information. In the days of simple selling, there was less competition, fewer choices, and it was easier to make a buying decision. Let's wrap this up by saying, "in the days of simple selling, the seller had the power because the buyer had very few options."
The Days Of Simple Selling Are Over!
Now we have a new situation; buyers no longer have to rely on limited sources of information about a product or service. The landscape of business now involves increased competition, information, choices, and more resistance. It has made buying cycles longer. There is price competition now that didn't exist before. Products are becoming commodities and a lot of the marketing messages are identical. Now a wedge has been created between the seller and the buyer. This wedge is called "The Confidence Gap."
"The Confidence Gap" is the consumer's inability to determine whether any of the products or any of the services are any better or worse or any different than any of the others. This creates a big problem. What you need to understand is that people, who will be buying from you, have all these different choices. It's very difficult for them to determine whether you are any better or any different from anyone else. So your marketing goal should be to narrow the Confidence Gap and restore the consumer's trust and confidence.
How Do I Fix This Problem?
The questions you may be asking yourself are: "How do I figure this out? How do I fix this problem?" Go to the business section of any bookstore and you'll find all kinds of books on this topic. You'll find things like "Better Customer Service." The theory is if you have better customer service, you'll have more customers. The problem with this philosophy is you must have a customer in order to give them service. You can't just say, "I've got great customer service." It doesn't work that way; you must have a system that will drive the customer to you! One of the things you might hear business gurus say is, "If you have more sales training and if you are better at sales, then you'll be able to get more customers." The problem with that is, again, you've got to have prospects in order to use your sales skills. If you look at all the sales training books and all the sales training seminars, they are all short on advice in this particular area, namely: "How do I find someone to sell to in the first place?"
There is another way that business books and business gurus tell you how to overcome this thing we call the Confidence Gap. "Use advertising tricks and techniques." Through misleading advertisements you can trick people to call you or come in. For example, I saw a car ad that said, "Pay no tax on all new vehicles." Do you think that sounds like a pretty good deal? Would you be thinking: “If I weren't paying any tax, then I'd probably save a couple grand.” The problem is that in the fine print it said, "Customers responsible for all sales taxes, state, and local. The dealer will pay for the inventory tax." This is a sales trick. It does nothing to build trust and confidence. Instead it builds contempt, hatred, and suspicion. The result is a widening of the Confidence Gap when the goal of the advertisement should have been to narrow it.
These examples reveal a problem. We used to have the days of simple selling; now we have The Confidence Gap. You, as a business owner, need to overcome this in order to be successful. You need to find a solution to the problem. For more information please visit www.gregwriter.com.
Greg Writer is a dynamic speaker, author, teacher and coach with over 23 years experience in corporate finance, capital formation, executive level management, mergers, acquisitions, IPO’s, sales/marketing and has facilitated the formation and financing of hundreds of start up & early stage companies. A number of FREE resources are available at http://www.gregwriter.com
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