Sex Scandals and Marketing

Did I get your attention? Good. They say sex sells, and with the right headline, you can grab almost anyones attention for at least 2 seconds. Here’s what’s been going on recently:

1. The last couple of days I have been listening to the talking heads on radio and TV discussing the latest Washington D.C. sex scandal involving how one of our elected representatives was caught and confessed to behavior that involved hooking up with strangers for the sole purpose of sexual relief, and doing this in public restrooms and other places. On my trip home tonight, the talk show host said he could not understand why someone would do this and put their entire lives on the line for something that could result in humiliation to themselves, their family, their co-workers… It could result in disease, death, etc. I’m not sure what was worse, hearing this guy talk about it on the radio with his callers, or the fact that he is so ignorant and blind to the other side of the society we live in.

Forget all the psycho babble, the answer is simple. People who do this type of behavior, do it because they want the thrill, the excitement, the satisfaction that is temporary, AND THEY DO NOT SERIOUSLY CONSIDER THE FAR-REACHING POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES!

2. Over the Summer, I have been observing, reading, listening to and people in the business world try and come up with the next big solution to all of our problems. It is the I-Phone, it is Networking, it is Windows Vista, it is blah, blah, blah…..

3. Our world wants answers to problems we haven’t even come up with yet. “Find the Solution, then we’ll find a problem it can fix!” Business folks, continue to search for the short cut, the “easy” button, to be successful, to have it all. Look, there are a lot of good ideas and great people, but no-body and no-idea, is going to be perfect for all of us. I have seen business people risk their life savings, their credit, their time and energies, risking it all, AND THEY DO NOT SERIOUSLY CONSIDER THE FAR-REACHING POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES!

Yes, I did repeat myself. I see the blind passion of someone that does not want to see or hear the possible negative side to their actions in both the sex scandal and in the business world.

I’ll let those human behavior experts deal with those caught in the sex scandals, but I want to reach out to those of you in the business world, since my expertise is in that arena.

There are a couple of undeniable truths though, that have to do with both topics:

1. We are all human and we respond to positive human interaction. The smile from the clerk behind the counter, the holding of hands when you are sitting with a person you care about. The positive buying experience can overcome price objections, just as a supportive mate can overcome a bad day at the office.

2. We all need attention, or we die. If we do not get positive attention, then we will get negative attention, just as long as someone, somewhere notices us. I learned this when I was 10 years old and had my first dog. Ignore the dog, and he will do something to get your attention, any attention. He’ll chew up, throw up or crap on something just to get noticed. Same holds true for us humans.

3. As hard as we may try, there is no substitute for good personal experiences in life and in business. The car dealer with the lowest prices on the junkiest cars, will never do as well as the honest dealer with quality cars.

Finally, I must quote something I have hanging in my office:

Investor’s Business Daily 10 Secrets to Success:

1. How You Think is Everything. Always be positive. Think success, not failure. Beware of a negative environment.
2. Decide Upon Your True Dreams and Goals. Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to reach them.
3. Take Action. Goals are nothing without action. Don’t be afraid to get started. Just do it.
4. Never Stop Learning. Go back to school or read books. Get training and acquire skills.
5. Be Persistent and Work Hard. Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up.
6. Learn to Analyze Details. Get all of the facts, all the input. Learn from your mistakes.
7. Focus Your Time and Money. Don’t let other people or things distract you.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Innovate; Be Different. Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.
9. Deal and Communicate with People Effectively. No person is an island. Learn to understand and motivate others.
10. Be Honest and Dependable; Take Responsibility. Otherwise, numbers one to nine won’t matter.


10 Sales Basics

This morning, as I hosted our Friday morning sales meeting, I brought up something that everyone, everywhere, no matter what their profession should know, and that is the following which is from Steve Clark,

Now, I work for a radio company that also has internet marketing capabilities, and has forged a selling relationship with a local TV outlook for joint ventures, plus we have other partnerships available with other media and advertising venues. However, this article can help ANYONE. Read it, Print it, Learn from it, and have a good weekend and excellent Monday!

October 23rd, 2006 by Steve Clark

Even if you think you’re well versed in the selling basics, it’s important to keep your skills razor sharp. Sales fundamentals like listening and asking questions may make the difference between winning and losing, so don’t assume that a refresher course in the basics is beneath your level of expertise. These 10 reminders will keep your skills polished and form a strong selling foundation for career-long success.

1. Listen intently. The 80/20 rule bears repeating: Spend 80 percent of your time listening, and only 20 percent talking. You’re there to serve your customer’s needs, but you won’t be able to if you don’t stop talking long enough to uncover them. Ask a lot of questions, and take notes on the answers to force you to listen carefully and help ensure that you remember important points of the conversation. Sit on the edge of your seat, and be fascinated by what your prospects have to say – a big sale may be riding on every word.

2. Ask questions first, present later. Make sure you understand their needs, wants, expectations and feelings 100 percent so that your presentation hits all of their hot buttons. Ask questions first to ensure that you don’t share all your good news on page one – it may help build your prospect’s trust by showing them that their needs come before your desire to sell to them.

3. Uncover needs – don’t presume them. Just as no competent doctor prescribes treatment before thoroughly examining a patient, you should let your prospects tell you what they need instead of assuming that you already know. Should you make product or service recommendations without consulting them, they may question your competence and intentions. Remember – your prospects know themselves and their businesses best. Give them a chance to share that knowledge with you to benefit you both.

4. Uncover the budget . Once you and your prospects know how much they can spend, both of you can consider a buying decision more seriously. Assure prospects that you’ll do your best for them regardless of the size of their budget. When you’ve proven your honesty and reliability with a small order, your customers may reward you with more and bigger ones. If your prospect seems uncomfortable discussing money, ask for a ballpark figure, and work from there.

5. Uncover the decision making process. Presentations demand a lot of work and time, so make sure you present to those who can reward your effort with a sale. It may take longer to reach all of the decision makers, but trying to sell to non decision makers simply wastes time – yours and theirs. Instead of presenting to the wrong people, spend your time building trust with gatekeepers who hold the key to the decision maker’s office and your next sale.

6. Build rapport without going overboard. Salespeople who try too hard to make friends of their prospects may be doing more harm than good. Most prospects want a salesperson who will be an informative industry resource, problem solver and reliable business partner – not a golfing buddy. Stick to impressing prospects with your honesty and expertise instead of your winning personality.

7. Don’t answer unspoken objections. When customers voice concerns, uncover the real issue by asking them why they raised that point. You never know just how much your prospects know about your product, so don’t volunteer information they may perceive as being negative.

8. Customize the sale. We all like to be treated like the special, unique individuals that we are, so tailor your selling style to suit each of your prospects. To keep them happy and comfortable, observe their personality and character closely, then conduct yourself accordingly. The more your customers feel like the center of your attention, the more likely they are to return for more of the VIP treatment.

9. Go with the flow. Few people really like to be sold, and fewer still enjoy being manipulated. Your desire to close a sale is secondary to your customers’ needs – make sure you can really help the prospects you target. When your product or service truly solves a problem, you shouldn’t have to manipulate the buyer into a purchase. The hard sell usually only raises the prospect’s defenses. Instead, take greater control of the sale by turning some of it over to the customer.

10. Have a selling system. Make sure you have a proven system that helps you generate prospects, set appointments, close sales and provide quality, consistent follow-up service. When problems arise, your system will simplify diagnosing and treating them.

All publicity is NOT Good publicity

Someone, somewhere gets paid to study the obvious:

Study: Annoying Ads Mean Less Sales

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2007 8:45 AM ET
NO BIG SURPRISE HERE–86% OF Americans who are offended or annoyed by an ad are less likely to buy the product. But 70% admitted they were more likely to remember irritating ads. The survey of 1,000 Americans 18 or older was done by Opinion Research Corp. this month. Although what’s considered offensive or annoying may vary based on demographics, the decision not to buy the product was universal. Age, income, ethnicity and location did not affect the responses.

Locally, we have a political brew-ha-ha going on. This town leans heavily Republican. In the primary earlier this year, nearly all the GOP Bigwigs backed a local experienced politician, who then lost in the primary to an up and coming young conservative outsider. Problem is that the GOP then went on what is perceived to be a witch hunt and have been flip-floping over whether or not to support the new kid. Reason is the newcomer followed one set of rules of discloure for campaign financing, and there are other, conflicting rules open to interpretation. A grand jury was called this summer and charged him with several felonies. Court date is not until October I believe, and the Election is November. What a mess. Another example of “All publicity is NOT Good publicity”.

You can read more about it here.

Also here.

Out of the office? Or out of your mind?

For the past couple of years, I have been giving away Jeff Gitomer books to friends, employees, family, just not my enemies. Jeff also does a weekly e-mail. Today I got issue number 300 from which this is taken. Read it, click on the link, finish reading it and subscribe to his e-mail.

One more thing, follow this advice:

Ever send somebody an email and it bounces back, telling you that the person you sent it to is “out of the office”?

How did you feel when you got it?
How about: Why are you telling me this?
How about: I didn’t write you to find out what you’re doing, I wrote to communicate a message, ask a question, or get information that I require.

Do you stay in touch with your customers and contacts any other time than when you’re in the office?

Because email is instant, everyone feels that his or her response needs to be instant. In the old, old days, people sent letters. In the near old days, they sent faxes. When you got either of these documents, you never told anybody what you were doing, you just responded – as it should be with email. But it’s not. And it’s rude.

I get emails every day from people telling me they’re at a seminar, on vacation, out of the office for two days, home sick, or worse, that their spam blocker needs confirmation.

I have three words to tell you how I really feel: Quit doing this. You’re making your customers mad at you. And you look like a fool. Okay, that’s more than two words. But you get the idea. Stop it. There, that’s two words.

Suppose a customer is trying to place an order, and they get your stupid reply that you’re “On vacation, please call Mary.” And they call Mary and she’s “either on her phone or away from her desk.” So the customer decides to call the competition because you are unavailable.

Now you have gone from rude to stupid.

What you’ve effectively done is take care of yourself without thinking of others. And it’s those others that are providing you the revenue that supports your business and your family, namely your customers. And they could care less where you are or what you’re doing. They just want help.

I have forbidden all forms of auto-reply and spam-blocking confirmation requests in my business. In place of that, each person is responsible for figuring out what to do in case a customer emails or calls.

Read the rest of this article here…