This is Part 8 in my series, The Old Rules of Business That Still Matter. Links to previous Rules are available in right sidebar.
We're ALL trying to grow our business. We're ALL looking for ways to generate new prospects and new customers. We use email, phone calls, direct mail, skywriting, phone hacking, and flags in dog poop.
And yet we all hate salespeople.
Salespeople are pushy. Salespeople are annoying. Salespeople can't be trusted. Salespeople don't care about us, just about our money.
Rationally, we all know these blanket statements don't apply to all salespeople. In fact, we would probably agree they don't apply to MOST salespeople.
But we've all had those isolated bad experiences with salespeople who were pushy, annoying, and untrustworthy. And those bad apples impact how we feel about all salespeople.
But, of course, WE aren't like that, are we? We don't do any of those things that could be construed as pushy or annoying or untrustworthy, right?
Or do we?
We've all heard the phrase "Find a need and fill it." We identify a target market as people or businesses who can use our product or service. Translation: "They NEED us." We develop a marketing and sales plan designed to contact these people and sell our stuff to them, because clearly they NEED us.
That phrase is BOGUS.
I regularly get emails from a company that tells me I need SEO help so I can rank higher on Google. I told them long ago I didn't want their help, but they keep emailing me anyway. I'm sure they practice the "Buy or Die" strategy. They will hound me until I either finally buy from them or I finally die. They think I need them.
This "Push Marketing" mentality is common in all industries. We push our message to our defined prospects over and over again, hoping they will eventually buy from us. We think our market needs us.
The fact is that one of the reasons we hate salespeople is because they keep trying sell us something they think we need. I don't agree I need SEO help, so I'd prefer they leave me alone. They've done nothing to get on my good side. They haven't provided me any education on why a small, two-person office would even need SEO help. They haven't shared information about how other, similar businesses have used SEO to profitably grow their businesses. They clearly only care about the sale. As a result, I view them as pushy, annoying, and by transference, untrustworthy.
What if I changed my mind, though? What if I learned something that taught me about the power of SEO? What if I shared a beer with a BFF and she told me about how much her own business has grown because of SEO?
If that were to happen, I might have a change of heart. I might now decide I AGREE I need help with my SEO. And I might now decide to find that help. But will I contact that company who has been pushy, annoying, and untrustworthy? No chance. I will probably ask my friend who she uses and contact that company.
But what if my annoying pest had used a different tactic? What if they'd asked if they could send me a free whitepaper about the power of SEO? What if they'd asked permission to occasionally send a newsletter with case studies and tips for maximizing my site's traffic?
Then when I had that beer and the lightning bolt came out of the sky, struck me on the head and I thought, "Hey, I NEED help with SEO!" ... would I have thought about contacting that company?
Yes, I would. Because at that point I would have AGREED that I had a need and my positive impression of that company would make me decide to do business with them.
Which brings me to the Old Rule of Business That Still Matters #8:
The Purpose of Marketing is to be on the Mind of the Prospect When the Prospect is Ready to Buy
(and by Extension, You are Viewed as a Welcome Guest, Not an Annoying Pest)
Do you practice "Buy or Die?" Have you identified a target market and decided to simply slam them with push-marketing communications, hoping some will eventually cave? Or, are you building relationships BEFORE they become customers?
It doesn't matter if YOU think I have a need for your product. It only matters if I think I do. And when I do, will I think of you first? Second? Will I think of you AT ALL?