Do you like being “marketed” to? Do you like Ads? Do you like being “sold” to? Do you like some guy selling you stuff?
Thought not. Me neither. So why does everyone persist with Marketing and Sales? Well the same reason everyone persists – inertia. But if “we always do what we always did” … in the 21stC we will not continue “to always get what we always got” – this is my whole point – 21stC business development needs a radically new mentality.
I believe we can all make a leap forward by taking a step back, re-examining the intent behind “marketing” and “sales”, why we resist them and how we can expand our business in a harmonious way that we flow with the Tao rather than swim against the flow. So the recap.
For most of history business was on the whole small-scale and local. Come the telecommunications revolution this all started to change, You could broadcasts messages to people who in the past would never walk past your market stall. Using post-WW2 logistics chains you could get your stuff to them far away.
So the whole Marketing qua advertising era takes off. And fast forward and we have rubbish stuff (junk food, sugar drinks) causing obesity around the world as the advertisers found ways to hack our brains – inserting images into our head in the place of product.
Equally sales in the sense and on the scale we know it now – dedicated salesmen “selling” – is also a 20thC largely American invention. The product department had made stuff, the marketing guys had got customer attention and now the sales guy has to take that attention and closes. His success is “getting the deal”. And that’s “not unnatural” – can you imagine hiring salesmen who never close?
So we continue along the same line of thinking even though we don’t like to be on the receiving end.
Is there a better way?
In three simple points…
Firstly given the speed of interaction and connection this “build”, “spray paint it with gloss and hype”, “stuff it down their throats” chain is too one-way. It comes from an era when, if you had built a washing machine, it was a useful thing and folks would want it. But most of the developed world has too much stuff now. Shortage of “stuff” – be it washing machines or books is not the problem.
Even getting attention is not the real problem if your stuff isn’t great.
So how do we produce great “stuff”? Well there is only one way. Close interaction and iteration with the buyers so we end up designing something that we know folks will really love, a glove that fits the market perfectly. You cannot get that result with metaphorical “different buildings” making, marketing and selling. The making boys & girls need to be face to face with the buyers.
Secondly this whole “20thC American” way is too pushy (which is why we resist – we instinctively feel pushed and manipulated). Marketers push their messages. Salesmen push you into buying. The second key to “beyond marketing and sales” is to replace pushing by attracting.
The third point is to change the vocabulary so we don’t taint ourselves by old think. Instead of Marketing and Sales let’s look at the processes we need:
- make some thing
- make some words – mine and refine the value in the thing you have made and encapsulate its benefit in a short message
- share words – narrowcast message to your network, your tribe [these being folks who will lend you their attention (for a short period anyway)]
- attract and search, seek for referrals to potential buyers, bounce the message off them
- attune to them – understand their world, their problems, ask Questions
- educate – explain the benefits and uses of what you have
- close the deal where there is a good fit – don’t “sell” your stuff to people who need it
So back to where we started. You may not like being marketed to or sold to. But would you object to hearing a message from a friend of a friend who referred them? Would you object to someone attuning to your world and your problems? Would you object to being educated about something that you think might be of relevance.?
How can you get beyond Marketing and Sales? How can you use the principles laid out here to make your business development less pushy and more effective?