4 Fallacies in Marketing and Selling that Cause You to Waste Money and Destroy Profits

by | Jan 26, 2010

What are the 4 fallacies of marketing and selling?

As you search for ways to grow your business, you eventually find yourself talking to advertising and marketing consultants. It usually starts with bringing in someone to design a good looking brochure or other collateral for you. You begin to ask these same people for suggestions and ideas for getting more exposure for your business. “Getting your name out there”, “Raising our profile”, etc.

Advertising firms will be pleased to create a “campaign” for you. They’ll charge you for every minute of their time to produce “creative” and to make “media buys”. They’ll start to tell you about the old marketing axiom that says a person must see your ad three times before it really sinks in. They’ll start to use the word “brand” a lot.

No doubt, your brand is important. However, if you’re a small business and you’re not sitting on a huge pile of money that will allow you to completely saturate your marketplace with your company’s brand, then “branding” will not grow your business.

#1 Fallacy in Marketing and Selling that Causes You to Waste Money and Destroys Profits

All Marketing and Advertising Starts with Branding First

Wrong! Think about it… When you think of strong brands, who comes to mind? IBM, Frito-Lay, Coca-Cola? No question that those brands have real value. Those names have been beat into our heads since we were all children. They’ve also been very consistent. A Coke today is pretty darned close to a Coke 40 years ago. Heck, these companies names are part of our language.

Think about the last few Coca-Cola ads you’ve seen. They’re really not about the product at all. They’re about emotions – happy times, good friends, etc. The objective is to create a connection in your mind between the word Coke and these positive emotions. That’s great for Coke. They spend billions of dollars on this type of advertising because their product is already literally everywhere. As you go through your daily life, you are presented with the opportunity to purchase a Coke in the break room, at lunch, at the gas station, in the grocery store, etc. If you’ve got a warm and fuzzy feeling connected to their name, as you’re walking down the aisle it may cause you to stop and grab a six pack.

You don’t have that kind of money or time. You need to generate sales. Huge media buys (TV, Newspapers, Radio, Product Placements, etc.) are not an option. If you’ve just introduced a new caffeinated beverage, what are you going to do? How can you possibly chip away at the huge mountain of history and branding that is Coke?

Not by trying to beat them at their own game, that’s for sure!

#2 Fallacy in Marketing and Selling that Causes You to Waste Money and Destroys Profits

Small Businesses CAN Afford to Go Head to Head with the Big Guys

That’s right! We’re just not going to try and beat them at branding. That would be insane. You need to connect with customers who have a need for your product or service. If you’re selling to businesses, what are the problems you solve or the opportunities you allow customers to take advantage of? That’s how you’re going to “brand” yourself.

In B2B selling, it can be difficult to even get a list of specific people that want or need what you have to sell them. There is no magazine written specifically for refinery production supervisors with employees with problems following safety regulations, for instance. For many businesses, it comes down to this – you can’t afford to advertise in magazines, etc. that are read by your audience because they’re also read by thousands of people that aren’t going to be interested in your product AND your competition has run up the cost of that advertising.

In our last chapter, we talked about the new ways in which people buy. Internet searches are a key step in the buying process for most people now.

You can cut through the challenges we’ve discussed by positioning your company and your services at the point where the customer begins to look for solutions to the problem your service address – his Internet search. In a later chapter, we’re going to give you 6 simple steps to generate qualified sales leads you can afford. For now though, let’s focus on the how you get in front of the customer.

We know you can’t afford to broadcast yourself to the masses in hopes that those that actually need a product like you sell will see your ad three times and respond to it. We also know that those that do have a problem your company can solve will likely go to the Internet and start searching for solutions as one of their first steps.

Your challenge is to be there. Be at the top of the results when they do the right search. They type “how to fix a broken widget” into their search engine and up comes a link to your website. Think about how that changes your advertising and marketing challenges.

Instead of trying to “get in front of” the thousands or millions of people that could possibly one day need your products, you just need to jump out in front of the ones that have begun to look for solutions.

We’re not going to get into all the details of Search Engine Optimization, Pay per Click Advertising, etc. There is plenty already available for free on the Internet for you to read and I bet you’re not interested in editing HTML pages anyway. You can hire someone to do all that for you and it shouldn’t be too expensive.

Your job is to create something of value that you can give to your prospect for free. I know, we’re talking about growing your sales. Remember, someone who doesn’t know your company at all just did a search on the Internet and your company has come up in the results alongside several others. You know, by virtual of what they searched for, that they have a problem you can solve for them. What you need now is to help them see your company as a resource to solve their problem or conquer their opportunity.

So, you create a resource they can use to understand their challenge more clearly, analyze possible solutions and essentially become an informed buyer. A report on the Top 10 Reasons Companies Suffer From Whatever it Is That Your Customers All Suffer From. A Buyers Guide that tells them the key questions to ask themselves and vendors when buying the things you sell. A “Free Consultant” or Needs Assessment can even be an effective offer in many cases.

When someone takes advantage of these resources, you know they have a problem you can solve and that makes them a lead. You can create a marketing funnel that leads highly qualified leads directly to your sales team. They take advantage of your report on the Top 10 Reasons… and at the end you offer them a free consultation.

In addition to getting this sort of free offer in front of your market via search engines, you may be able to do this through direct mail, telemarketing and other means. In fact, that’s what’s so powerful about this approach. It works through all mediums. If you write a free report to hand out at the big industry trade show, you can also publish it on your website and you may be able to get it included in the trade association’s post trade show newsletter, etc.

It’s important to think about this process in terms of quantity. If you specialize in custom designed valves for processing plants that handle a certain type of material, you wouldn’t want to offer a free consultation to every processing plant you can find. That would leave your sales team spending a lot of time with prospects that may be highly interested in learning about the cool, innovative product you’ve come up with but, have no need to buy it because they don’t work with materials that require it.

#3 Fallacy in Marketing and Selling that Causes You to Waste Money and Destroys Profits

More leads is not always better

Your sales team is the engine of your business’ growth. Why would you want to pour bad fuel into the engine? What happens to an engine that runs on bad fuel? It deteriorates. Your sales people will get frustrated if they’re spending all their time on leads that don’t buy. You’ll have more problems with keeping them motivated and more importantly, your cost to close a real deal will go up.

The number one objective is to develop a marketing funnel that feeds your sales team with highly qualified leads. If they’ve read the free report, downloaded the buyer’s guide and requested a free consultation, they have essentially qualified themselves and educated themselves. They’ve basically turned themselves into a slam dunk for your sales team!

As you build your marketing funnel, you’ll have to experiment a bit. You may find you get a lot of response to one offer but, getting the prospect to take another step in the process is tougher. You’ll need to get analytical about managing your marketing funnel. Using a good contact management, lead management or CRM solution is crucial. You need to measure each step in the funnel and track where your sales people are spending their time and what’s working and what’s not. It’s a mistake to try and manage this process by listening to anecdotes from your sales team. ( more on that later ) You need hard data to make decisions confidently. A good CRM system can provide that information while also helping your sales team be more productive.

#4 Fallacy in Marketing and Selling that Causes You to Waste Money and Destroys Profits

Relationships are not about being face to face

Just as you can’t afford to blanket the marketplace with your “brand”, you can’t afford to have your sales people flying all over the world talking to every prospect that demonstrates curiosity in your products. That is a sure-fire profit killer.

Maybe an average deal for you is $100,000. That sort of sale can justify a lot of travel expense and sales time. However, if you’ve got to visit 10 customers 4 times each to get one order and still pay for building and delivering your product or service, the numbers don’t look as good anymore. It’s also about time. The amount of time your sales team spends on each lead defines the maximum number of sales you can make. Increasing the profitability of your sales effort means reducing the amount of time spent with leads and preserving their time to work with and filter a higher volume of leads and focus quality time only on highly qualified prospects.

Especially if you’re selling a big ticket item or a long term relationship, the tendency is to “get in front” of prospects and build relationships. There are lots of ways to build relationships that don’t involve a face to face visit.

In fact, relationships are really about trust, credibility and empathy. The marketing funnel process you’re going to build will create credibility for your company by offering your prospects bite sized pieces of your knowledge and expertise. Delivering the content can help build trust. But, most important is empathy. Asking the right questions of your prospect and listening to their unique answers shows that you’re both knowledgeable and appreciate the specific needs of each prospect.

Demos and presentations can be done over the Internet. A phone call that involves you asking open ended questions and listening a lot can build a much stronger relationship than an expensive trip where you roll in with your overhead projector and walk the prospect through 20 slides.

Remember, this is the 3rd chapter in our newest eBook, “Build Your Own Automatic Selling Machine”. Register to receive each new chapter as its released and the entire eBook when complete, free here.