“The Top 5 Things To Know” We always start by crafting the top 5 things to know about your products. Consumers are attracted to them because they help them make an informed decision. With that in mind, I thought it might be useful to describe what I think are the top 5 things, among others, you should think about before deciding on a sales and marketing direction for your company:
This is one of the most important things to know. Most manufacturers think they have to do trade shows and send their sales staff out across the country to pitch their product in order to make sales. However, in today’s marketplace 80% of the decisions to buy are made by the consumer (pull) rather than the dealer (push), doing shows and having a large in-house sales staff will not guarantee success.
We live in a global marketplace. If your product can only be sold in the USA, you’ll miss at least 50% of your potential. The world has 7 billion people. The odds for success improve dramatically when a brand is marketed worldwide.
Your Product Should Solve A Problem and Have A Unique Story
Most products today can be cloned or reverse-engineered in about 20 minutes. In order to be successful in a consumer driven market, it is critical that your product uniquely solve a problem or improve the performance of the entire system. The last thing in the world you want to sell is a commodity that only competes on price. Without differentiation, you really have nothing to sell.
Dealers Want To Sell What Consumers Want To Buy. Demand Is The Only Language They Understand.
Pull-through vs dealer push. The great debate is over. Pull-through won. Over the years, we have seen most of the audio video stores close. Those were the guys who thought they could sell whatever they wanted, not what the consumer wanted. In the meantime, Best Buy started selling the stuff people wanted to buy and the rest is history. A slim but vibrant audiophile and specialty custom installation market has evolved and that market thrives on special products with special stories to tell, but its also still captive to the notion that they will get their customer whatever he wants too. 80% of sales is consumer driven, 20% is dealer driven.
Once most of the retail stores closed, the knowledgeable sales people left the industry. “Sales training” became the new mantra for some, an oxymoron to us. It was futile to think retailers, particularly chains, could keep up with the pace of new technology coming to market. At best, the stores needed clerks who could operate a computer to conclude the sale. If all the stores are “clerked”, even the high end stores that remain, it’s easy to see that you are going to have to sell your own product.
Fortunately, making the pitch to a large audience is easier today because of the internet. Since nobody knows how to pitch the product better than the inventor himself, it’s his responsibility to tell the story to as many people as possible, on a “one to one” basis. The primary tool to do that is the internet. A website homepage that can tell your story in 20 seconds or less is where it begins. Getting consumers to that site is then the only remaining challenge.
Print advertising in the internet age is a foolish waste of money and does not produce enough in sales to justify its cost. In the internet era, most people get their news and information from their computer, not magazines. Think about it. When you want to know anything about anything, the first thing you do is Google it. Very few people think aha, I’m going to dig through all my back hard copy issues to find that story about whatever it is they are interested in. Those days are just about over.
Your homepage is your introduction to the consumer. You’ll have under 20 seconds * to get their attention or click, they’re gone. Crafting a homepage that is “sticky”, that keeps the reader engaged and turns him into a sales prospect is what we do at TRG. We help you craft your narrative, then we start driving traffic to the site with a variety of internet promotions like AdWord on Google, banner ads, email newsletters, and contests. We use Google Analytics to tell us if it’s working. Driving traffic is the name of the game once your site is producing commerce.
TRG cuts through all the pain of the learning curve, providing leadership and expertise rarely found in our industry.
* Bob’s 20 Second Rule