The events that stimulate a prospective customers’ buying behavior are outside of your control; regardless of how great a sales team you have. If a prospective customer doesn’t perceive a need for what you are selling, you can call on them until you are blue in the face without success. They will only respond favorably if they feel you can help them solve a problem.
Problems come in many flavors: your prospective customer may be expanding their operations and need new equipment or components, they may have just had a request for a quotation that requires your product, or perhaps their vendor has just had a price increase, quality issues, or botched a delivery. Therefore you want to have your company’s products in front of prospects when a problem arises. This will provide the greatest likelihood of success.
Ideally, it would be great to be right in front of all prospective customers at all times. But that isn’t realistic; especially for small companies. The next best thing, of course, would be for you to be lucky enough to be making sales calls on the day when one of the above problems occurs. Practically, however, the best way to meet this challenge is to maintain widespread visibility without spending a fortune by implementing a well-executed product publicity campaign that targets a wide range of media outlets in-print and online.
Competing for mindshare is critical to “having the door open when a sales opportunity arises.” When prospective customers read about your products as news in their industrial and technical magazines, publications, and on various websites, they remember and respond. Whether your customer is an OEM, a distributor seeking a new line, a dealer, or an end-user, product news in these media outlets is the most cost-effective way to assure that – when a prospective customer has a need your product or service fills – you will be visible to them. Obviously, this increases the odds that they will contact you or that your sales call will be constructive.
To use a boxing analogy: the relationship of product exposure to sales calls is like the relationship of a left jab to a right cross. The better and more consistent the jab (product exposure), the more likely the right cross (sales call) will score a knockout punch. Product publicity to sales is the one-two punch every successful business needs. It assures you that when a prospective customer’s level of interest piques to take action and buy; your product will be fresh on his or her mind. This is the practical application of “branding.”
So, even though you have no control over the timing of an event or problem that might create the need for your products or services, you can control your ability to keep your products in front of prospective customers so they will be seen when the time is right. Use your “product publicity” as a jab. Stick it in the face of prospects to create a one-two sales knockout punch!
© 2012 Steven M. Stroum