If you aren’t selling then you aren’t in business.
You may have a great product or service, your friends and family may love it, but you’re not really in business until you have a sustainable, profitable cash flow. That is why sales are paramount.
We are bombarded and overloaded by advertising from all directions in the noisy marketplace. It is our challenge as suppliers to prove that we can be trusted to give good value. We can respond by providing free valuable information, trials and robust guarantees to out customers Testimonials on our own websites and independent trustworthy platforms build our social proof.
The role of marketing is to drive sales by finding the right prospects then making an introduction so you can pitch your offering. Brand awareness is no substitute for a personal interaction with your potential customer to close the sale.
Word of mouth is the best marketing of all. There is already the trust and social proof of a happy client. You can encourage these referrals by making your product and service genuinely remarkable as discussed by Seth Godin in his book, The Purple Cow. However, this is the least scalable route to market and you do not have direct control over it.
The Sales Funnel is an established model that allows us to quantify the sales process. The image of a funnel is used because the number of people drop away at each stage of the sales process for one reason or another. It starts with the wide entrance are all the people who who might need your product but haven’t been contacted yet and ends, many steps later, with the people who have received and paid for our service.
In the physical world, the shortest sales funnel is achieved by direct selling by an experienced sales person to a directly targeted prospect. Online, as much of the process as possible is automated by using advertisements and offers, this works for low ticket price items.
For more expensive products it is necessary to build trust with the customer and there will be more points of contact needed between awareness and the sale. They will want to check you and the competition out before making the commitment.
I’ll talk about specific marketing routes in another post.
As your business grows, it is beneficial to build alliances with experts and trusted suppliers in related areas so you can build you list, appear larger, receive referrals and expand your expertise.