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Want to Grow? MARKET!

By Alex L. Goldfayn

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 7.13.04 PMHere’s a simple, tragic truth about the vast majority or distributors and manufacturers: not enough prospective buyers know about your company and the wonderful things you can do to help them.

And people deserve to know, because your work is excellent.

I know this because you’ve probably been in business for years, maybe a decade or longer. You probably have customers who have been with you for just as long. They could have left, taking their business and their trust elsewhere. But they haven’t. They’ve stayed with you. You have relationships. You deliver on what you promise, often going above and beyond.

Why don’t more companies come calling? Why don’t more people know about you and your company? That’s the tragedy here. People in your target markets deserve to know about you, because you can really help them. Why don’t enough people know, then? Why are you a best-kept secret?

Because you aren’t telling enough prospective buyers about how you can help. You aren’t marketing enough.

The Low Hanging Fruit

My average client grows by 20 percent in the first year we work together. Through my marketing and consulting business, I help companies quickly increase revenue with good, fast marketing — from the Fortune 500, to the publicly traded, from the closely held mid-size family business to the start-up.

I can tell you from experience that there’s nothing you can do that will grow your organization as quickly, effectively and dramatically as improving your marketing. Ironically, sales improvement won’t grow your business as quickly as executing more marketing better. That’s because sales is one-on-one, but marketing is one-to-many.

You can’t have sales meetings at multiple buyers’ offices at the same time. But you can market your value directly to thousands of highly-qualified buyers with the click of a mouse. And so, if you want to grow, market.

A Mindset Shift

What are you marketing? When you communicate about your organization to prospects, what do you focus on?

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 7.14.01 PMIf you’re a distributor, you probably present your products and services. You detail features, specifications, systems and processes for implementation, installation, delivery, setup, etc.

If you’re a manufacturer, you probably dive deep into your products. You present what they do and how. You detail how they’re made and why that matter. What’s wrong with this approach?

It doesn’t resonate with your buyers. Worse: most of them don’t care very much about the above, because it doesn’t address the value of your work to them.

At the end of the day, all people really want to know when making a buying decision is what’s in it for them. How will they be improved? How will your products and services increase your clients’ revenue, decrease their costs, increase their profit or save them time, increasing their productivity? How will your product and services increase warehouse safety, maximize their satisfaction or make them feel good (ego is one of the six major value consideration b-to-b buyers use to select providers)?

This is the mindset shift that must occur before your marketing can improve.

You must stop thinking of yourself as a product distributor, a service provider, or a manufacturer. Begin thinking of yourself as a company that improves the lives and companies of your customers.

Focus on how you improve them. Market that. It’s infinitely more effective — and interesting — than communicating details about your products and services.

It’s impossible to out-market your mindset. You market your firm exactly as you perceive it. Which is why as soon as you shift your thinking from products and services to customer value, you will begin marketing the latter instead of the former.

Effective Marketing

Value marketing features customers instead of products. Examples include case studies, testimonials, client lists, customer videos and details about your typical project and the value clients receive (and perceive).

The key here is allowing your customers to express what’s wonderful about you. When our customers say it, it’s the truth. It’s real, it’s compelling, it’s believable, and it’s infinitely more effective than when we say it. When we say it, it’s just selling. It’s expected.

As such, we must systematically collect customer insights, stories and experiences. We must make it a part of our routine to briefly speak to our customers. Fifteen minutes, on the phone, is enough here (more on this shortly). Ask them what they think, feel and like best about working with you. Ask them why that is. Ask them what, specifically, has improved since they’ve started working with you.

Then ask this simple question: “Is it okay with you if I use some of your wonderful comments here in our materials?”

I’ve had more than 1,000 of these conversations for with my clients’ customers — qualitative customer interviews are a central component of nearly every project I do — and 95 percent of people respond to this question affirmatively. Sure, you can!

It Comes Down to Action

If you don’t execute, nothing happens.

You can have the perfect mindset, and powerful marketing tools at your disposal. But if you don’t act on them, none of it matters.

Good marketing rarely costs much money. It mostly costs effort and attention. Further, it doesn’t require hours per day —15 minutes per day is enough.

Do one marketing activity every day, for 15 minutes. Put it on your calendar, close your door, turn off all electronic distractions, and execute one piece of marketing. When it’s done, you’re done marketing for the day.

More people will have learned about your value today than knew of it yesterday. And that, in my experience and opinion, is the very definition of marketing.

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Alex L. Goldfayn is the CEO of the Evangelist Marketing Institute, a consulting, coaching and speaking practice that grows organizations through powerful marketing. Get details and a free 11-page white paper on powerful marketing at www.evangelistmktg.com.