How to market a product
Be Your Own Best Customer
So you have a new product you want to market but not quite sure where to start? I always say that the beginning of any good product marketing begins with the marketer, themselves. It is crucial that in sales you become your own best customer for your products. After all, customers will ask a lot of questions and it would be much easier (and honest) to answer them through your own personal experiences with your products.
Let's say that you want to sell a bar of soap of Brand X. You still use Brand Z. What can you say when the customer asks you how you like the soap? You could lie and tell them that you love it and use it all the time but that is the fastes way to ruin any chance you have at a good business. You should always be honest with your customers. If you tell them truthfully that you don't use the product, what does that say about your belief in your product?
It is key that you market a product that you can be passionate about. Believe in that product and above all, be honest about your experiences with that product. If that product is not good enough for you to use, why would anyone want to buy it from you?
Find Your Target Market
Next, you need to identify the market that is in need of this product. For example, let's say that you are selling this same bar of soap. Determine what is different about this soap than others on the market. What specific "need" does this particular bar of soap fill that others lack? We'll say that this soap is hypo-allergenic yet highly scented and most people can use this soap that normally had allergic reactions to other scented soaps.
Now, you have identified a "need" that your product fills. Of course, others can also make good customers with your soap due to the patented scents you carry so they should be on your list as well. While you may want to target a specific market, never leave out the general customers. You should concentrate on marketing the hypo-allergenic part of your product for those special groups of customers who are prone to allergic reactions. However, you don't want to totally limit your marketing to them alone. This is simply your main target in your marketing strategy.
It has always been my experience that it is best to find several targets for your products. Identify any area in which your product is different from others and use that difference in your marketing strategy.
Honesty IS the Best Policy
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, it is crucial to always be honest with your customers. If you give false claims about your products and the customer buys on those false promises, it would be pretty safe to say that you won't have customers very long. Not only will that customer not return when the products don't live up to what you claimed but they will be sure that everyone they talk to knows about it.
Word of mouth is either your best advertisement or your worst competitor. It is up to you to create the best word-of-mouth advertising for your products. If your customers are happy with your products, they will tell a few but if they are unhappy with them, they will tell everyone! That is just how society works. Therefore, it is up to you to make sure that your customer understands the benefits of your products without adding false claims just to get a sale. A good, honest sale can bring you a few extra customers but a dishonest sale can destroy an empire.
Positivity vs Negativity
Always have a positive attitude and believe in yourself. Approach your customer as if you know that they are going to become a repeat customer. Don't get cocky on me! Just believe in your mind that you are offering your customer the best and that they will be receptive.
Remember to make full eye contact with your customer and smile. This creates more trust with your customer. Listen to their needs and acknowledge that you understand those needs. After all, the sale is never about you and your quota. It is about the customer and what they need and want. In most cases, the customer couldn't care less about your quota or your needs. They want to know what benefits THEY receive from your products. They want to see you excited about selling the products to them.
If you are negative and have no belief in yourself or your product, they will sense that immediately. Then, they are most likely to ask themselves if they should believe in someone who doesn't believe in themselves. At this point, you are likely to lose their interest. So be sure to keep a positive attitude, look them in the eyes and show them how excited you are to be able to offer them a product so beneficial to them.
If there is any way possible to carry sample products of what you are selling, be sure that you always keep some samples with you. It is much easier to obtain a customer if they can try the product first hand before buying it. In many cases, you can either make product samples from your products or order samples from your company, depending on what your product may be.
If you can not offer these types of samples, offer something in exchange if the customer does not like the product ordered, money back, exchange or some other type of garauntee. You can decide what best suits your product and budget. This helps the customer feel assured that you have their satisfaction in mind and they are more likely to feel that it is less risky to try your products.
Business Cards Galore!
Make sure that you order plenty of business cards with your name, contact information, name of your company, logo and website (if you have one). Try to choose a business card template that best suits your business, yet not one so rich in background color that it is hard to read. You want something that is an eyecatcher, not an eyesore.
Leave stacks of business cards anywhere that they will allow them. Give a few to all your friends to pass out for you and always have plenty on your person to give to everyone you meet. A well designed and informative business card gives a professional impression and people are more likely to take you seriously. Plus, you can pick up new customers from the cards you leave behind. I have even used them as bookmarks in waiting room magazines and just left them in there when I am done.
Ask for Referrals
Don't let it get you down if your customer says no and don't take it personally. They are not saying no to you personally, they are saying no to your offer. If they are not interested, make sure that they have your card and ask them for a few referrals of people they think may be interested in the benefits of your product.
If at all possible, it is good to have a referral incintive for your customers. For example, if they will list 10 people with contact information, they will receive XXX if two or more people buy. You can decide what is a good incentive that is right for your budget.
I truly believe that referrals make the best customer contacts. You can build a great raport with your customers when they know that you have a common contact. They also have the ability to make you another list of 10 that will know them and the cycle continues.
Sales is NOT a numbers business, it is a people business
While there are many different approaches that are successful in your marketing strategies, it is important to focus on the people aspect of your business rather than numbers. Many sales professionals today are learning that if you focus on the wants and needs of the customers rather than on the number of sales that you have, your sales will increase dramatically.
Society is becoming more and more irritated with the feeling that they are just another number in customer service and are looking for the company that will give them personal attention to their satisfaction.
If you aquire a customer and fail to go above and beyond what is expected in customer service, then chances are that customer will eventually fade away. If you want to assure that you keep repeat customers, be willing to "over deliver" in customer service. Many people will pay extra for a product if they know that they will receive excellent customer service with that product.
So always be willing to go beyond what is expected to be sure that you have a satisfied customer. If you do this, those customers will bring in more and more customers who are tired of feeling like another number to other businesses. Concentrate on the people and the numbers will take care of themselves in return.
© 2008 Bonnie N. Ramsey
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