Four Key Principles for Achieving Success in Sales and Marketing
A successful career in marketing involves not only knowing the basics of the sales process, but also being adept at navigating the rocky shoals of human psychology. Here are four interwoven concepts that are often forgotten, ignored, or intentionally avoided by small business owners, real estate agents, and other sales professionals.
1) People prefer to do business with friends, acquaintances, or those to whom they’ve been referred. That being the case, it’s to the advantage of every salesperson, real estate agent, or business owner to network, both online and off line, whenever the opportunity presents itself. Granted, there’s only so much time in a day, and we all need to maintain a balance between work and leisure; so a lot depends on one's individual personality, lifestyle choices, and the demands of our profession and family.
There are many real estate agents and brokers, for example, who seem to live their jobs seven days a week, and are almost constantly on call or in the networking mode. The nature of the job requires agents to be available when their clients aren't working, which is typically on weekends and in the evening. Regardless of the frequency, however, it’s beneficial to one’s business and career to always be looking for -- and following up on -- networking and referral opportunities.
2) Another inescapable fact of successful sales and marketing is that people prefer to do business with companies and individuals that are well known and have a positive reputation. That’s why it’s important to maintain a high degree of visibility in your community and professional circles. Participating in online discussions on Linked-in, for example, could be one component of a visibility campaign, along with pursuing leadership positions in organizations, civic groups, or professional associations.
Another tactic would be to devote at least 10% of your marketing efforts to public relations strategies. A well planned PR campaign could help get your name and picture in the newspaper (print and online editions), regarding your professional opinion, accomplishments, or reactions to a news story about industry trends or economic developments. If you have the time and opportunity to write a newspaper column, a regular blog, or an occasional letter to the editor, then those are other good ways to increase your visibility, your recognition factor, and your personal branding. Seeking out public speaking engagements is also an effective way to gain recognition, respect, and visibility in the community. A guest blog that I posted on my Realtown blog, today, talks about how public speaking can be an effective marketing, branding, and public relations strategy for real estate professionals.
3) The third principle, which can be viewed as either an obstacle or an opportunity, is the fact that most people do not want to feel like they’re being sold to. One of the reasons that consultative selling evolved to where it is, today, is because it focuses more on identifying what people’s needs are and offering solutions, rather than trying to sell them something that may not be the best match to their needs or expectations.
Demonstrating good listening skills and empathy is another way to lower sales resistance and show people that you’re genuinely interested in helping them find the ideal home that meets both their budget and their personal goals and dreams.
4) The fourth ‘eternal truth’ about sales and marketing is that it often takes more than one contact before prospects are receptive to the idea of doing business with you. However, if people have heard your name before, seen your picture, read your articles or blog posts, heard you speak at events, seen your ads, or any number of other ways that you can gain visibility, then the public image and reputation you’ve carved out will help position you as someone who’s respected, credible, and trustworthy. That obviously creates an atmosphere that’s conducive to gaining clients.
Being successful in sales involves a positive attitude, an adherence to known principles, and a systematic approach to marketing yourself and your business. Mastering the basics, and then refining your approach over time, is a simple, but effective strategy for advancing your career and achieving business growth.
Joel Sussman is a freelance writer, Internet marketer, and email newsletter publisher. In 2000, he created the online resource, Marketing Survival Kit, which features small business marketing tips, marketing tools, and a free subscription to his weekly marketing newsletter. In addition to being an entrepreneur and freelance writer, his marketing career has included public relations management, print and radio journalism, business proposal writing/editing, and search engine optimization.
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