That’s it isn’t it? The full circle of making a sale, and perhaps earn a few more leads at the end of it. No complicated marketing or advertising mumbo jumbo; just plain clear and simple.
Whether you’re selling a product, writing copy, pitching for a new client or looking for a girl/boyfriend (minus Refer of course), these steps could help you close the deal or at least put you in the right path:
I remember in college when A.I.D.A. was drummed into my skull. Getting Attention, then creating Interest, which leads to Desire and ultimately Action in the form of a purchase. But for AIDA to work, the prospect must Know You or better still Like You. Would you pay attention to someone you don’t know, no matter how hard he’s trying to get your attention? Even of you do, would you actually buy from him? So for a sale to happen, you must take the effort to introduce yourself to your prospects. And if they want to Know You more, then you begin to work on the next step.
Okay. Now your prospects know who you are. It’s time to develop the relationship and get them to Like You. Freebies are good, but not a great way as most prospects can see through your gimmick. You should instead begin to persuade them in a compelling manner with hard facts thrown in. Anticipate a problem that requires solving or a need that has to be filled. If a prospect likes what she’s hearing, she’ll most probably begin to Like You as well.
Trust is a powerful influencing factor. You can get people to join a cause, divulge their innermost feelings, get into bed with you and of course, spend their money buying your product or service. But just because someone Likes You, doesn’t mean he or she Trusts You. Here’s where the saying “Seeing is Believing” comes into play. Any form of visual representation of your product or service in action could do wonders to alter your prospects perception. Testimonials or endorsements are also good, as others’ trusting behavior could lead your prospects by example.
When someone, on their own accord gets in touch with you, then you’ve pretty much done the job. Your prospects may Contact You for a number of reasons: to enquire, take up an offer and hopefully to purchase. The ball is now at your court to live up to their expectation: either by solving a problem or fulfilling a need. No hard-sell is required at this stage (or any of the previous steps for that matter) as your prospect – believe it or not – Knows You, Likes You and Trusts You. Now, it’s all about turning your prospects into customers by giving them exactly what they want.
This is the bonus round so to speak. You can do without it, but it will be such a waste. Because referrals are great for building trust. More often than not, you can skip the Know You, Like You and sometimes Trust You steps through referrals. If a satisfied customer passes the word to his friends about your wonderful product or service, then your job becomes so much easier. Peer to peer “word of mouth” is still the most effective form of advertising, nothing beats it, nothing ever will.
My previous post got me thinking. Since advertising is among the least trusted professions, what form of advertising would be the most trusted? Yes, I agree that there is a sense of irony in the question, but it is a question worth asking.
If you’ve read some of my older posts, I talked about how the internet is changing the ad game. How what was hard and fast rules are being re-written. And how the advertising of the future may not look like an ad at all. I even went as far as to predict the demise of advertising as we know it in perhaps just a few years.
Recently I stumbled upon this piece of research from Nielsen:
The first on the list, garnering an exceptional 90%, are consumers who trusted recommendations from people they know. Well that’s quite a no-brainer. Peer-to-peer, word-of-mouth communications will and always be the most powerful form of advertising.
It’s the second and third on the list that’s quite interesting. Online consumer opinions and brand websites are the most trusted form of advertising, in an un-trustworthy industry. The 70% score is way better than the traditional TV and print ads. The poll results do seem credible. When was the last time you were convinced by a 30-sec TVC or a FPFC Centre-spread? But I bet you remember the last time you checked out a product or service online after your friend said something about it on Facebook though.
I now have proof that online consumers, especially in a social media setting, will become the holy grail of advertisers in the future. And I can also console myself that I am at least in the positive end of the advertising industry, where people trust my copy just a little bit more.
Like all things Malaysian – such as total disregard for punctuality and being suckers for free things – loafing at Mamak stalls while sipping Kurang Manis tea (which is still manis anyway) is a popular pastime. You could hang out at a Mamak with your best buds, your significant other or just by yourself. It has a universal appeal, quite comforting and always welcoming.
But what separates a good Mamak from a bad Mamak? The atmosphere doesn’t really play a part. Food across all, if not most Mamaks are quite consistent. And prices don’t differ much from one stall to another. When you think about it, it’s the level of service that determines which Mamak stall you frequent. It’s the rapport you build with the servers and how it takes only 10 minutes to tuck into your favourite greasy dish every time, no matter how busy they are. This however may not hold true for everyone, but I think quite a few of us could relate to this observation. Service is important to me anyway.
Now that I’ve some sort established what a good Mamak is, let’s look at the bad ones. Imagine this scenario:
Bang, mari bang. Duduk bang. Maggi goreng ade, mee goreng ade, nasi goreng ade, nasi lemak ade, roti ade, murtabak ade, western ade, tose ade, chapatti ade, semua ade bang. Minum ape pun ade bang, tongkat ali ade, fres oren ade, neslo, horlo, koteh pun ade bang!
Come brother, come. Sit brother. We’ve got fried instant noodles, fried noodles, fried rice, lard rice, greasy pancakes, stuffed greasy pancakes, western food, Indian pancakes, Indian toasted pancakes, all we have brother. Drinks also we have it all brother, ali’s cane (an aphrodisiac), fresh orange, nescafe+milo, horlicks+milo, coffee+tea also we have brother!
Hmmmm… strangely the English version is longer than the Malay version.
Anyway, after this friendly Mamak fellow advertises his offerings, which in fact confuses you further, he leaves you to deliberate while repeating the same thing to the next bunch of walk-ins. While this strategy packs in the customers, it leaves the already seated customers out in the cold. I’ve been to places where they don’t even bother to collect my payment as they are still busy preying on new customers. Needless to say, I’ve never been back.
Now a question. What do many businesses in Malaysia have in common with our common Mamak stalls? Yup, you guessed it. It’s this unhealthy fetish to attract new customers, while neglecting the ones they already have. Even when it’s common knowledge that acquiring a new customer is more expensive than retaining an existing customer. And the new customer may not even be as profitable when compared to an existing customer.
While advertising is critical to attract new business and for brand building, not giving due attention to existing customers could have dire consequences. Because in the increasingly wired consumer world, one unsatisfied customer could deter many potential customers, no matter how good your product, advertising or brand is. For the uninitiated, the process of endearing yourself to existing customers is called Customer Relationship Management or CRM for short. Serve well, keep in touch and reward your customers occasionally. They will show their appreciation via word-of-mouth to their peers, friends, family and acquaintances. And nothing beats that.
Teh tarik kurang kurang kurang manis satu!