Is Your Marketing Firing Blanks?
If you are like many companies, you are blasting and blasting your message away. Firing buck salt trying to hit a pinhole. The problem is you are missing the mark, far more often than you are hitting the bulls-eye. The thing you are forgetting that many great salespeople already know, is that sales and marketing is all about timing.
In their book, Shift!: Harness The Trigger Events That Turn Prospects Into Customers, Craig Elias and Tibor Shanto, explain the silver bullet in sales: timing - when you get to highly motivated decision makers at EXACTLY the right time, after they experience a `Trigger Event' BUT before they call your competition.
Most companies need to apply this to their marketing as well. Take a look at your marketing programs. Most focus on people who are already evaluating you compared to others (PPC, or Organic Search), where the margins are ever decreasing. While others focus on people, who are at status quo (Email Marketing, Direct Mail) where there is no need or want to buy at that time.
What you really need to do is focus on the trigger events that causes a buyer to become motivated. We have found that focusing our marketing message on these Trigger Events has resulted in highly productive sales efforts and deeply loyal customers for our clients. We have also found that our clients are able to close sales sooner and have greater margin.
The secret to being successful is perfecting your timing. That means that you are getting in front of the right person at exactly the right time. To do that, you must understand the power of something that has a dramatic impact on the sales cycle, which most salespeople don't spend enough time understanding. Elias and Shanto call this the Path Dependency. Path Dependency is what happens when decision-makers have done the same thing in the same way for so long that it's easier for them to keep doing the same things the way they have always done it/ them. Most of the time, this is your competition--unless there is a compelling reason to change and a Trigger Event that makes them want to change right now.
We all face the same competition: the prospective buyer's predisposition to keep doing exactly what they are already doing. When decision-makers have Path Dependency, the investment of time, money, energy, or attention they've already made in something prevents them from taking a different approach. The real challenge, and the real competition, is that buyers think they don't have a problem. They're happy with the Status Quo. They are too busy doing what they're already doing (i.e., taking care of things they're used to taking care of) to look at what you have to offer. Initially, it seems as though no matter what you do, you just can't get their attention. That's the effect of Path Dependency. Once we are used to doing something, it's a lot easier to keep doing what we've always done.
A great example provided in the book is the following:
You have a car that you like driving, and have had generally good experiences with it over the years. On your way home from work one night, the transmission breaks. You have the car towed to the local garage, and the next day, you learn that it will cost $400 to fix the transmission.
Do you buy a completely new car or do you pay $400 to fix the transmission? If you're like most of us, you'll pay to fix the transmission. Why? Because buying a brand new car is a big undertaking, and it connects to a lot of variables you don't particularly feel like dealing with right now. Plus, you already have a good set of experiences with the car you're driving. So you fix that one.
In fact, if something else goes wrong with the car in several months from now, you'd probably still pay to repair the vehicle rather than buy a brand new one. Sometimes, it takes a pretty dense combination of things going wrong for us to start thinking about the major commitment, such as selecting, financing, and purchasing a brand new vehicle.
Your true competition is not a competitor who provides a similar product or service. It's the path the buyer has become used to traveling. And yet, what would happen if that person decided, for whatever reason, that the Status Quo was no longer sufficient? What would happen if you could get in front of the decision-maker on the day this happened? How would that affect your company’s ability to make a sale and build a rewarding long-term relationship?
In order to achieve this you need to see things differently.
- If you want to improve your conversion ratio, you may work on improving your landing pages.
- If you want to increase your total opportunities, you might spend more on Pay Per Click.
- If you want to increase your deal size, you might target different customers or sell different products and services.
But, if you want to improve all these things at the same time, you would have to improve your timing and focus on the trigger events that motivate your prospects to buy. This means you will need to SHIFT your focus, and SHIFT your tactics, so that you can SHIFT your results.
To learn more, download a free chapter of Shift!: Harness The Trigger Events That Turn Prospects Into Customers.