Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Are You Hungry for a Sale?

Some people think “selling” is a dirty word. That’s why a phrase caught my eye as I scanned the posts of an online discussion group: “People are hungry to be SOLD,” asserted Dwight Ingram, an experienced direct-marketing pro.

Business starts with a sale.” was my motto in the early days of my event business. A savvy event guy told me I had it wrong. “Business starts with value,” he piously insisted. But I’ll stick to my guns. Until you get someone to buy, creating value is a hobby.

Selling works. People are hungry for satisfaction. A business advisor who tells you differently is probably selling you something. Watch how the advisor works and watch you own responses. I recently heard a social media expert say, “Never put your URL in a post. Let the prospect find you if they are interested.” But I’d reached him by clicking on his URL in a post!

Social media guru David Meerman Scott discounts advertising, PR and sales as the way to buy, beg or bug people for attention. He advises us instead to earn attention with online social media and “free content.” But Scott is overstating the differences.

In reality, you have to earn attention in any media that is part of your mix. Attention, however, is just the first step. AIDA is the classic mnemonic for a four phase marketing model: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. Attention can be fleeting - only seconds in many cases. Interest must be triggered to get beyond the first step. And interest must be nurtured to progress toward a sale.

Selling isn’t going away. Few products and services sell themselves. Whether you are using personal visits, on-line “meetings” and email, phone calls or direct-marketing media, you can’t wait for people to act, you have to help them decide to buy.

The best online media and marketing advice is essentially sales and direct marketing know-how applied to new information and communication technology. Human nature hasn’t changed.

So if you are hungry for a sale, you have to sell. And if you think events might help you sell, or if you are in the event business and need help with some aspect of generating revenue from your events, I invite you introduce yourself, by email or phone at (866) 271-9450.

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