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Sales Commandment 7: Market Yourself Creatively
Guest articles > Sales Commandment 7: Market Yourself Creatively
by: Daniel Milstein
'Word of mouth,' relying on your past customers to tell others how great you are, just isn't enough. The sales profession is too competitive to think that you can make it without promoting yourself.
Salespeople spend billions of dollars developing sophisticated marketing campaigns, including a mix of direct mail, advertising, co-op marketing with strategic partners, newsletters, social media, and many other strategies. Early on, you should establish a personal marketing program, one that sets you apart from your competitors. You must let the world know that you exist and that you are different and better than the competition. The world does not beat a path to the door of the best clockmaker and demand his products. Rather, it is up to the clockmaker to let the world know that he exists.
When the market gets a little sluggish, don't stop marketing. That's what a lot of your competitors do; somehow believing that it is wise to reduce marketing-related expenditures, which can quickly slow the momentum of a strong promotional campaign. I remember hearing the simple anecdote about a hot dog salesman that illustrates the need to continue marketing during difficult economic conditions. It is the story of a hardworking man who lacked formal training in business or any other traditional skill. He thought he might be good at sales and started out on a small scale, with a hot dog stand on the corner of a busy street. At first, he didn't do much marketing, other than yell 'Get your hot dogs here.' But people liked his hot dogs and the business slowly grew. He cautiously expanded the tiny operation, adding a larger grill and a colorful sign above the stand. Then he began posting fliers at neighboring shops. The hot dog business became so successful that he was able to begin saving money and even cover the costs of his son's college education.
Several years later, his son graduated with a marketing degree and returned home. The young man was appreciative of what his father had done, but also wanted to share his vast knowledge of how to run a business during what was then a recession. 'I think you need to revamp the business and cut back on your marketing costs,' he advised his dad. The hot dog entrepreneur was worried about the future and believing his son was right, began to make changes. He stopped posting fliers, dropped plans to advertise in the local business publication and reduced the number of hot dogs on his menu.
One evening, he walked in the house with a sad look on his face. When the son asked what had happened, the previously successful salesman replied, 'You were right, the recession has really slowed sales. It's tougher than ever out there.' Of course, the son shouldn't have meddled with his father's basic, but effective sales strategy. The next time you face a business slump within your own industry, consider the value of maintaining your marketing campaign and even increase it slightly to stand apart from the competition.
In the midst of a recession, Gold Star was able to remain relevant, profitable, and even grow. With harsh economic times comes tightened budgets but a creative marketing plan could be an essential competitive factor for your business.
Daniel Milstein is the bestselling author of ABC of Sales. For more information, visit: http://amzn.to/ABCARTICLES.
Contributor: Daniel Milstein
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