This is a Guest Blog Post by Drew Stevens PhD.
As you read this post, you are reminded of the pop culture expression known as “What Happens in Vegas…” The concept as you know is that you can be mischievous in Vegas while leaving it there and telling no one. Yes your darkest secrets hidden in the desert!
When it comes to marketing and selling there is an interesting parallel. Many appear deceptive, whether they realize it or not, because similar to Vegas there is a failure to communicate. Realize that the power of marketing and the need for marketing is to exchange information with stakeholders for the purposes of illustrating value and differentiation. If that is the case, why do so few fail to communicate information?
To illustrate my point, Richard has been a dentist for 12 years and in that time experiences volatile patient flow. One day, he can see 25 patients and the next, only 4. When we reviewed his activities, he illustrates less than four hours per month marketing. It should not be a surprise to you that for the last 8 years he has not drawn a salary from his practice! The leanness in marketing, leads to revenue gaps.
So, what is a practice, business, or sales professional to do to help bring heartiness to their respective business?
There is a wonderful line from one of my favorite movies, Shawshank Redemption, where the character played by Morgan Freeman states, “You can get busy livin, or get busy dyin.” If you need to create relationships while creating the ability to fill your pipeline then you must begin to get out and meet the people just like any political candidate running for election. The ideal person will create numerous activities that create awareness and recognition. To help you understand the process let me introduce you to the Climb to Customers©, a simple five-step process to aid your pipeline efforts.
The journey of a thousand miles [and customers] begins with the first step.” Lao Tzu.
Step 1. The first concept of everyone that needs marketing engagement is to specifically define their target market, the segmented area that they will focus. Marketing today requires an intense focus to a specific area so that consumers will hear you. With over 9000 messages experienced per day there is too much noise business professionals must be keener about whom they are marketing to so that when hunting they search for the true game they are after. Therefore, you need to divide your market by demographics, psychographics, and benefits.
Step 2. The next step requires defining your value and differentiation. Today, consumers are into benefits as they relate to interests and beliefs. People do not invest in facts, they invest in people, products and services based on those they trust and respect, this builds brand. Moreover, people buy for brands sake. If you cannot define value, you cannot build any relationships. Determine what you do that provides differentiation from your competition.
Step 3. Once you get familiar with your market and value you then need to create a host of daily activities that get you out of the stands and into the field of play. This will require that you speak, write blogs or articles, network frequently, and actively seek out referrals and third-party endorsements. Think of yourself as a magnet, what activities might you do that can immediately attract your market to you. And, do not attempt rote things that others use such as advertising or meetings like the chamber of commerce. The reason I say this is that you need to create relationships where your potential clients are located not vendors and suppliers.
Step 4. One of the largest concepts many business professionals forget is the value of customer service. One cannot create relationships when calls, emails, and proposals are not returned promptly. I requested a proposal from a vendor to add to my existing Koi pond. That was in 2009, I am still waiting.
Step 5. Emotion. Nothing happens in this world without energy and passion. You must be passionate about what you do, about working with potential clients and they must be attracted to you based on emotion. Emotion is what drives marketing and emotion drives relationships.
Creating and nurturing relationships requires consistent and relentless communication. What happens in marketing remains with potential clients as long as you are active since they become aware of you and learn your value. The less you communicate, the more hidden you become. When this occurs you become a faded memory. So this begs the question, are you sitting on your past or making a new future?
© 2012. Drew Stevens PhD, all rights reserved.