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Are You Boring Your Customers? Well, Don't!

Sep 5, 2008
Are you boring your customers? When you market by telephone or face-to-face selling, are you approaching your customers from their perspective or from yours? And are you interesting, different from all the other messages they receive?

Napoleon Hill, author of the famous book *Think And Grow Rich* (a must-read for serious students of success) tells how Andrew Carnegie's mother once went into a department store to a buy a little furnace. The salesman started giving her the long lecture on BTU's, energy efficiency, and quality construction. She finally interrupted and asked, "but will it keep me*warm*?"

Sometimes we get so involved in our desire to sell, what I refer to as our Need-to-Sell vs. our customer's Need-to-Buy, we forget to see a buying situation from the customer's perspective.

The question to answer: Is what we are selling or offering going to help them solve their business problems, issues, challenges or help them meet their goals? It's a simple concept, yet why do so many sales and marketing folks in the technology industry, from vendors and resellers alike, do the exact opposite?

This not only occurs in face-to-face selling situations but in the copy written in marketing collateral. We start with "speeds and feeds" too quickly; we discuss product before we even know the customer's situation. Just look at the ads in technology magazines. Most go right for features before even talking about "how it solves a customer's problems." There is so much of this kind of marketing and selling that we simply bore customers, make them numb.

Finally, the customers have nothing left but to focus on *price* and, as a businessman, that is a place I prefer not to live in.

One of my mentors tells me that the worst crime you can commit in marketing is "being boring." For instance, are your marketing pieces generic, unoriginal, identical to the other boring advertising and marketing?

The problem exists because we look at what everyone else is doing to "judge" what is the acceptable "norm" in marketing. Boring. That just causes everyone to look and sound the same.

Why not be different? Why not stand out from the crowd? Here are a few ideas you should consider when getting started:

-- Review industries other than technology. What are other B2B companies doing?

-- Apply consumer marketing techniques. What are business-to-consumer marketers doing? (In the end, all your prospects are consumers as well as potential clients and they respond better to consumer-type marketing applied to the technology industry)

-- Be outrageous. Don't be afraid to make your clients laugh or chuckle. They'll see that you are a real person or company and that may help them warm up to you. Besides, in my opinion, this business is about relationships.

-- Add your personality. Talking about relationships - people do business with people, not companies. Why not use personality in your marketing? I know there are some real characters at the helm of your companies. Why not use the personality of your CEO in your marketing? Use his/her image and expressions when talking to clients in person, etc. This will more closely connect your prospects and clients to your company if they have a personal relationship with you.

Don't hide behind the corporate facade. Don't be boring. Be outrageous, be genuine, be real, and people will respond.
About the Author
Ramon provides more marketing information, especially created for the IT VAR industry but also applies to everyone who wants to improve their sales. Stay up-to-date at StreetSmartVAR.com and while you're there, don't forget to sign up for Ramon's popular, no-cost online marketing course!
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