Advertising & You
Most, if not all information about advertising and marketing available today is targeted towards businesses making Minor Sales. As you’ll see, there is a huge difference in the two types of sales, especially from the buyer’s perspective. As a result, in the Minor Sale, your advertising plays quite a different role than it does when making the Major Sale.
One of the reasons Neil Rackham took the business community by storm when he published his book “Spin Selling” is that Rackham is not a salesman turned author but rather he is a respected research psychologist whose primary focus is upon human behavior.
Rackham’s research focuses on how the differences between Minor and Major Sales affect the sales presentations made by outside sales people. His classifications have also provided an easy to understand method of defining your expectations from that important member of your outside sales force: your marketing and advertising messages.
Understanding the difference between Major and Minor Sales is essential to creating successful marketing messages.
So before you begin to create your next marketing or advertising campaign, you should first determine what kind of sale your business is making when customer purchase your products or services.
Your business is making Minor Sales if:
- There is a single decision-maker.
- The buyer’s financial or emotional investment is low or insignificant.
- The purchase does not warrant the time/energy necessary to research alternatives.
- There is little interaction between you and the customer
- The consequences of a purchasing mistake are inconsequential or insignificant.
When you create the advertising message for the Minor Sale, you do not need to spend a lot of time convincing the customer of the need for the product. The reader/visitor already knows whether s/he wants or needs the product. The only question that remains is why s/he should buy from the product or service from you. Often, in the Minor Sale, the final decision about where to buy is based on price or convenience.
In the Minor Sale, you don’t have to try to build a “relationship” with your potential customer. It’s important to note that there is an EXCEPTION to this rule: when that Minor Sale is acting as a “gateway” purchase for a Major Sale, then you must invest time and energy into “building” a relationship.
On the other hand, the stakes are higher when you’re making a Major Sale. According to Rackham, your business is making Major Sales if:
- There is more than one decision-maker
- The buyer’s financial and/or emotional investment is significant
- The purchase warrants significant time and research into alternatives.
- There is the potential for a long-term relationship between you/the business and the customer.
- The consequences of making a purchasing mistake are high.
The marketing and advertising messages for the Major Sale must first to function to build trust with the customer. This is more than just a sale… it’s a relationship! The more “checks” you can place next to the criteria above, the more trust you must establish before a customer will be able to do business with you.
By nature, the buyer involved in making a Major Sale requires a lot of information. As a result, the advertising message for the Major Sale needs to provide as much information as possible. If your client needs “educated” before he or she makes a purchasing decision, then your business is making a Major Sale.
When you’re making a Major Sale, you don’t have to worry about “information overload.” If someone isn’t interested in your product or service then s/he isn’t going to bother to read or listen to your advertising message anyway. When it comes to the Major Sale, too much “information” isn’t going to “scare away” an interested potential customer… which is why blogs are a GREAT communication tool for businesses engaged in making Major Sales.
A key element in creating successful marketing messages for the Major Sale is to find a way to join the internal conversation going on inside your potential customer/client’s head. That’s one reason why blogs are especially well suited for businesses engaged in making the Major Sale. Blog readers (another name for “potential clients or customers) can comment and communicate with you in a much more “relaxed” manner than they might if they were speaking to you face to face.
Another key factor to creating marketing messages is to take in consideration the time involved. The buying decision in the Minor Sale may be measured in as little as a few seconds, while the buying decision process for the Major Sale usually spans a period of days, weeks or even months.
Every day finds your target customers at various stages of the buying process in a Major Sale. Some are just beginning to realize they need (insert your product/service here). For example it’s important for the owner of an auto repair shop to recognized that today may be the first day a customer has heard the familiar cry of a brake pad wearing thin. Meanwhile, another customer is realizing that the brakes have moved beyond “squealing” and have begun “grinding.” Customers in the second category are further along in the process of making their final decision and are further along in the process of gathering information and analyzing options.
Still other customers have found themselves sailing through an intersection with their foot plastered to the floor. If those customers haven’t begun researching their options before, they will quickly find themselves sorting through the information gathered previously and are finally ready to make an appointment.
Which brings us to the importance of Testimonials when it comes to the Major Sale. Testimonials are an essential part of the marketing message for businesses making Major Sales.
There are a lot of fun and fruitful way to gather testimonials from customers. One way to do so is to hold a contest in which you offer prizes for the best testimonials in each category. Be sure to offer a small incentive for every entry and a nice prize for the “winners.”
While the entrants to the contest may consider themselves the winners, in the end it’s your business that is the big winner.
Studies have shown that when current customers are encouraged to write such testimonials, they actually develop a stronger attachment to the product, which results in greater use and recommendation to family and friends. Not only will your “testimonial” contest help you to build stronger ties with current customers, you’ve also gained valuable information into the reasons why current customer chose your business.
Finally, when you’re making the Major Sale, you need a thorough understanding of what needs the customer is trying to meet by using your product or service. When you’re aware of the underlying problems and needs, then you can develop advertising messages that will tap into your target customers’ emotions to move them to buy.