Sunday, April 25, 2010

Concept Selling – More Than Just Selling

Wikipedia defines innovator as “…a person or an organization who is one of the first to do something and often opens up a new area for others and achieves an innovation”. It’s a dream of every product development company to come up with a product which is first of its kind in the world. Being someone who has managed product developers for several years, I can say that engineers thrive on developing such innovative products.

So where are the challenges? The challenges are often faced by the sales teams. For the sales person, the challenge is in convincing the customers about buying something which they have not heard of. Customers, most of the times, believe that they don’t need it because they have lived without it for years.

For an innovative product, when it comes to selling, it is about selling the concept. Concept selling involves educating the customers. Here the product benefits and Unique Selling Points (USP’s) need to be used to ‘create the need’. It is about selling the benefits rather than selling the features. It’s different than established products. For established products, it’s about convincing the user in buying a product by telling how it is better than others.

Although referred as concept ‘selling’, this is one step beyond selling. Here, one needs to come up as an expert in the field and true advisor to the user. Although the end goal is to “sell” the product, it needs to go through: educating on the concept --> convincing on the benefits --> explaining the features --> describing the ROI --> and finally selling.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why Should Small and Medium Sized Businesses Care About Online Marketing?

Online marketing has become the most talked about but least implemented phenomenon. Most of the small and medium size businesses talk about it but then lot of apprehensions start creeping in: "Do I really need the online brand?", "I don’t have time for this, I am busy selling", "I don’t think I am yet ready for my marketing plan / strategy", "Which mediums are effective for my business", "social media, SEO, website optimization, newsletter - I don’t know how it can be used in marketing".

Rather than concentrating on the apprehensions, let’s start looking beyond that and identify the value which online marketing can bring in such as: cost effectiveness, can be done from any corner of the world, ability to address the audience worldwide, very effective, huge spread and so on.

Once we are convinced about the value, then it gets into the “how” part. Obviously it is not rocket science. The key is to identify the right sequence of right medium to start with. Identify your audience and then decide on the medium. For example: When your business demands reaching a wide audience, then social media is the way to go. Whereas while addressing a very niche audience, probably a good email campaign with right collateral material will do the trick.

It’s already year 2010, no matter which business you are in, if you have envisioned spreading it and going global, then you NEED to have an online presence. If your business is targeting the young generation, then you need online presence now! Sooner you start the better lead you have. So for me, the right time to go online is "NOW".

What are your views? Have you implemented online marketing in your business? Any success stories to share?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

High price of your products: Do you justify it or cash on it?

Do you represent the rare businesses where low price or low cost is NOT the point on which you can get the lead? In fact, you have relatively high price – compared to your competitor? For known brands, probably high price is easily justified because the consumer gets the brand name to flaunt.

What if your business has not yet established the brand but still, the price is high. What’s your stand in this case? Do you go about justifying the price or you believe in cashing on it.

Let me explain what I mean. When you ‘justify’ the price, you are in a defensive mode. You take an apologetic stance and try and explain (often unsuccessfully) why you have a high price. You get into feature on feature comparison with your competition and start describing how you are better and therefore the why the high price is justified. You are living in a red ocean in this case. Trying to get head on with competition (and not competition as well).

So what does it mean by ‘cashing on high price’? It means explaining the value which your product or service brings in rather than concentrating on price. It means describing benefits rather than describing features. It means assuring quality. It indirectly also shows the confidence you have in your product. It indirectly also means you choose your customers rather than they choosing you.

What’s your stand point for your business? Do you agree /disagree?