Seth Godin just wrote a great little article on good marketing practices and how to build trust. If you’re not a subscriber to Seth Godin’s blog, it’s not much of a stretch for me to recommend him. Go do that right now. That said, this most recent post was particularly relevant to me right now, and I wanted to share what it means to me, because I think it will help you approach your business marketing from a more powerful angle.
See, it’s hard work to build a business the right way, and it’s really easy to screw everything up overnight.
You want your marketing to work, right? You want it to bring in sales…that’s the whole point, correct? Think carefully about your answer. Do you just want sales, or do you want a specific type of sale? I’d like to submit that you DON’T just want to make more sales. You want to grow your business, and the two are not necessarily the same! If you’re taking your business down a dangerous path, it can result in short term gains. It can produce sales for you. But there’s a high price to pay. That’s what Seth’s post (in my mind) addressed so well.
Powerful Lessons from Everyday Life
Seth’s post was about how he just set up a computer for a friend of his, and he was struck by how many marketing messages are implanted in that process these days. I just recently had to do this a few times, and my own laptop needed a new drive, so I had to reinstall my OS and all that jazz. Man, it’s a mess to say the least. And it puts you face to face with (in my opinion), some of the worst marketing strategies out there right now. The kind of marketing that can really cause a consumer to loathe you. Why do so many companies shoot themselves in the foot like this?
The whole process of setting up a computer now forces you through these dialogs where you have to respond to number of marketing messages. Do you want to install a free trial of Norton anti-virus? Do you want to install Yahoo Toolbar? My HP machine comes hardwired with a trial version of Microsoft Office 2007, as an example. The list goes on and on. After you set up the computer, you have to go in and spend half an hour UN-installing a bunch of crap that is there for the specific purpose of selling you something.
What really jazzes me up about this is that most of the people out there aren’t even aware of the fact that their new computers are set up to be living, breathing marketing machines, designed specifically to upsell you on a number of different tools and gadgets from the day you log on for the first time!
Where does all this come from?
- It comes from companies who believe sales are all that matters.
- It comes from companies who don’t understand that consumers don’t want to be forced into things, that they don’t like being tricked.
- It comes from companies who honestly think sales produced through trickery and manipulation are just as good as any other type of sale. Maybe even better.
Sales is Essential, But Not Everything
If you read Next Level regularly at all, you know my message…you HAVE to learn to sell. And that’s what I help clients with…online sales tactics that bring in results. However, it’s not a standalone skill. You can’t just sell, at any cost…no matter what. You have to help people. You have to actually care about how you’re selling to, or it all just turns into a mess really fast. I argue you don’t just want ANY type of sale…you want HAPPY sales, HAPPY customers. You want clients that are going to refer their friends to you.
Does manipulation produce those kinds of results? No, it doesn’t. When will companies turn the corner here and start actually caring about the people they sell to? Any thoughts on this? What type of results and long term effects do you think this type of sales tactics has on a company’s image? What steps do you take to make sure your sales come in through reasonable and honest means?