Business Prescriptions: Sales and Marketing Consulting Firms

We do not need statistics to prove that one of the many reasons why newly established businesses fail is because they, first and foremost, do not understand their market. Venturing into unfamiliar markets involves more risks and uncertainties than that of what a businessman is comfortable with. However, there is no need to fret and get into panic attacks as sales and marketing consulting firms help businesses swim, not sink, on unknown waters.

The need for sales and marketing consulting firms is greatly evident among foreign businesses, who are trying to penetrate the Asian market. With the recent global financial crisis and a declining hegemon on the west, the far east has become more appealing than ever, especially with the rise of China as a great power in the region and as a huge potential market. However, foreign businessmen, with their knowledge and experience with the markets in the western part of the world, are totally impaired when it comes to dealing with the markets in the Asian region. Sales and marketing consulting firms become their eyes and ears as these firms collect and filter information that may prove to be crucial in the decision-making of businesses in establishing themselves here in Asia.

Sales consultants, for instance, do not only have the function of selling products and services to clients and companies but also have the function of understanding and identifying their needs. They serve as a guide in terms of what goods and services are really need by their clients. Being a sales consultant therefore goes beyond merely selling products and services. They ensure that the services and the goods being received by the company are necessary for it to grow and flourish in the market. However, to further accomplish this objective a sales consultant goes hand in hand with a marketing consultant.

Venturing into an unknown market requires a company to know their consumer and their behavior. This is where a marketing consultant comes in. A marketing consultant does the research for the company and tries to identify who their target consumers are and how they behave. Marketing consultants not only gathers information but they also try to understand what motivates consumers to, for example, purchase a product; and then create a specific strategy or approach, tailored to the needs and nature of the company, on how they should sell their products.

So, why do companies go to sales and marketing consulting firms exactly? Aside from the bottom line, these consulting firms help foreign companies in the Asian market by making sure that their resources will not go to waste, but instead be focused on opportunities that would bring greater returns and growth to the company. This will then prevent the company from incurring unnecessary losses. These firms also help foreign companies realize and gain advantage against competitors in the market. Lastly, sales and marketing consulting firms help develop employees and personnel in a company to acquire important skills. In a nut shell sales and marketing consulting firms provide business prescriptions that would help foreign companies become lean and mean business machines in Asia.

Sales and Marketing Mistakes

When it comes to sales and marketing, you can do it right or you can do it wrong.

I saw an incredible demonstration yesterday on how to do it right.

Let me explain. Yesterday my wife and I went to Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota. The show was “George Gershwin Alone.” It was a one man show about the music and lyrics by the brothers George and Ira Gershwin.

It was based on the book written by Hershey Felder who also happened to be the star of the show. What a terrific performance.

Usually at the end of a show there are curtain calls, depending on how good the show is.

When the show ended Hershey came out to a standing ovation. But this was different. After a short minute or two he waved at the audience to take our seats and we did.

He asked the audience to call out George Gershwin song titles for him to play and sing. Then he proceeded to sing some songs and had fun with the audience.

So when he finishes this routine he says the Theatre asked him for his help.

He said in one week he would be doing another limited engagement show, “Maestro – The Art Of Leonard Bernstein.” He told us he wanted us to go to the Box Office right after the show and buy tickets because we would save 20% because we were at today’s show.

Well of course I was the second one in line to buy these tickets.

He said the Theatre asked for even more help. He agreed. He told us he brought just 200 copies of his soon to be released NEW CD and he would donate all the proceeds to the Theatre. He said he would also be happy to autograph the CDs.

After I bought the tickets to his next show I also bought his new CD for $50.

Look, Hershey gave an amazing performance and then proceeded to demonstrate the art of salesmanship.

He gave us a call to action. He told us where to go to buy the tickets today.

He gave us an incentive for buying today – save 20%.

He created a sense of urgency with his CDs by saying the supply was limited and he only had 200 copies.

He added more value by offering to autograph the CDs.

I go to a show to be entertained and I was. I also had the opportunity to see a brilliant display of salesmanship.

Let me put this into a business perspective for you.

Some of the biggest sales and marketing mistakes I see people and companies making include the following:

Selling on price. Why sell on price when you can sell on value? I believe the word discount should be eliminated from all marketing and advertising materials.

The word discount should be replaced with the words value and incentives. And whenever possible your value should be quantified in dollars. If you can’t quantify your value don’t expect your sales prospects and customers to be able to see it.

Selling features instead of selling benefits. This is a huge mistake marketers make. Salespeople also do the same thing and are always talking about features instead of focusing on the product’s benefits.

Let’s take a windshield wiper blade for example. These blades are made of rubber plain and simple. Yes they cling to the windshield and remove rain, sleet, and snow from your windshield.

But what’s the benefit for your customer? Well, the benefit for a senior citizen who has to drive down a mountain to buy groceries and go to church during a winter storm is peace of mind and safety because the windshield wiper blades enable your customer to see clearly and drive safely.

No sense of urgency. Tell your sales prospects and customers that your supply of wiper blades is limited, just like Hershey did. In fact tell them how many you have in stock and they need to hurry in because they’ll be all gone in a few days.

No call to action. This one is a no-brainer. Do what you can to make it easier for your customers to buy. Bernadette, my wife, goes ballistic when she sees an article or an advertisement for a product she’s interested in and there’s no contact information.

Be sure to include a person’s name, an address, a phone number, store hours, and a website if your product can be ordered on line.

Tell people to visit your store today to get a special bonus product with every purchase.

Make it easy for your customers to do business with you and they’ll keep coming back.

And always say, “Thank you for your business,” enthusiastically!

And I must say thank you to Hershey for his 2 brilliant and memorable performances.

Kicking Your Own Tail in Sales and Marketing

I have to admit — one of my favorite “reality” shows for sales and marketing is “Tapout”.

I don’t usually watch reality shows. In fact, I think most are pretty stupid.

But I’m a BIG Tapout fan.

The show is about three guys who travel the country, constantly looking for up-and-coming mixed martial arts fighters to sponsor and wear their clothes. And it contains lots of cool “real-world” lessons on what it takes to win, succeed and dominate not only in professional fighting — but in all life.

Anyway, I can’t get enough of the adventures (and misadventures) of Punkass, Skyscrape and Mask. (The three amigos who star in the show).

And if you are into martial arts or UFC or anything that has anything to do with guys trying to kick the crap out of each other… you will probably love this show, too.

So what does this have to do with your selling efforts?

Why should you care?

Because during the last show I watched, I couldn’t help but see all the ways martial arts relates to marketing, selling and business.

See, I think learning sales is a LOT like learning martial arts.

For example, in some martial arts (not all), they teach you to fall before teaching you how to fight. And it’s not a bad idea in sales, too — i.e. learning what NOT to do, first.

Here are a few of the more common “blunders” many of us make at one time or another (I know I have!). Just making sure you DON’T do these can go a long way towards ratcheting up your profits:

1. Being boring
2. Refusing to offend anyone
3. Relying on “tricks” and “tactics” instead of strategy
4. Not respecting your prospect
5. Bragging
6. Trying to create demand… instead of VISION
7. “Convincing” instead of persuading

If you’re committing any of these selling mistakes — STOP. Because you’re basically like a fighter kicking his own tail:

Even if your “technique” is good, you still hurt yourself.