Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

The Art of Persuasion

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November 4, 2011 · by Ray · Marketing, Win New Major Accounts

Communication is a fundamental part of business and personal life. We now have many different ways of communicating from face to face to phones, social media, print media and  broadcast media.

With all of these communication channels we are trying to inform, persuade, motivate, coach and manage relationships.

I would like to review a very important element of commuication: the art of persuasion. And I will limit my focus to B2B communication (mainly).

Win:Win Framework

Communication is always within a context or framework which may be implicit or explicit.

For some the word persuasion has ominous undertones and a worry about being manipulated.

I am assuming, in this discussion, that persuasion is used within a framework that assumes a (win: win) or positive outcome  for both parties.

I assume that what I am persuading the customer to do will add value to the customer’s business and result in a (win: win) transaction.

Basic Persuasion Model

A basic persuasion model was constructed by Aristotle and consists of three elements:-

  • Credibility – relates to the character and reputation of the persuader.
  • Emotion or  Empathy – the persuader must have the the ability to identify and understand the other person’s feelings, ideas and situation.
  • Logic – relates directly to the logic of the argument.
This model may simple be but it may be applied to all communication channels. E.g. Advertising, Presentations & Meetings and one to one conversations.
The mixture of the three elements must be right for effective communication.

Appealing to Credibility

In appealing to credibility,  both the individual and the company he represents must be credible in the eyes of the audience. He must emit true sincerity.

Genuine sincerity means that you actually care about someone’s problems or concerns. It creates a certain amount of trust. And trust is the foundation of relationships.

The company builds its credibility on its successes and on its third party references. (In the B2B mainstream market (Early & Late Majority) positive references are key to credibility.)

The individual builds  his individual credibility with integrity, historical success (supported by  knowledge), skills and experience (as required by the audience). Initially the company brand will lend credibility to the individual but the individual must build and maintain his own over time.

In launching new products the phrase “Credibility before Visibility” is very apt. A lot of marketing and sales expense may be wasted in persuading the market to buy products that are not yet credible in the eyes of the target audience.

Appealing to Emotion

This using your heart as well as your head. It’s the ability to read emotions in others. It’s being able to experience from another person’s perspective. It is empathy.

It appeals to the emotions,  imagination and self interest in the audience. In some cases to feel what the presenter feels.

The message evoking an emotional response  may be delivered by words, messages but also by non verbal communication. The words may well be in the form of a story, a vision that transports the audience to understand the presenter’s point of view or to join him in envisioning the a particular part of the world as improved or as a better place. Music, colours,  films, graphics etc. may be used to emphasize and communicate the required message.

Non verbal communication can give wither a positive or negative response. Such communication is delivered via facial expression, eye contact, gestures, posture and body orientation, humour, proximity, paralinguistics (tone, pitch, rhythm, timbre, loudness and inflection of voice), dress sense, attitude & confidence.

Emotion also includes building a relationship and a rapport that can reduce barriers to communication and engender trust which is a foundation of all human intercourse.

Appealing to Logic

This means persuading by the use of reasoning. You present the proofs, or the supporting logic, for your point.
Three, or four at the most, key proofs are all that are required as an audience will not remember more.

Persuasion Techniques

Whilst techniques can be used to persuade they are most effective when supported by the persuasion model above. These techniques include structure, body language, speech, maintaining attention and the darker arts of weapons of influence.

Structure

  • Introduction – Frame the topic. Prepare audience to be receptive.
  • Narrative – a story in a form that is relevant to the audience that tells what you want them to do.
  • Argument – proofs and supporting logic.
  • Refutation – anticipate objections to the argument.
  • Conclusion – appeal to the audience for understanding, its action and its approval.

Body Language

Body language may be used instead of speech, to reinforce speech or when it displays (or betrays) a persons mood.
First impressions are important with impact made in the first few minutes.
We cannot not communicate. But regardless of what a particular expression or gesture means to you its ho the receiver perceives it that is important. Make sure your language is the right language.
  • Facial expressions
  • Gestures
  • Open or Closed Body Signals
  • Spatial relationships  – how close we are to our audience.

Speech

Non verbal aspects of speech are termed paralinguistics. They relate to the tone of the voice ad related cues such as:
  • Volume
  • Rate of Speaking
  • Tone, pitch and inflection.

Maintain Attention

If the audience is not paying attention you are not communicating, there is no communication and no persuasion can occur. Attention is best if it rises over time.

Most people have short attention spans.

Make the message memorable and understood.

  • Say what you’re going to say. Say it.Say what you said.
  • Keep it short 15 mins is optimal.
  • Avoid distractions, interruptions and breaks
  • Avoid large disagreements to what you say by ensuring that key members of the audience have been persuaded before the presentation.

Weapons of Influence

We have automatic behavior patterns that we use to simplify the modern world and enable action and void being frozen by too much analysis. These behaviour patterns make us vulnerable to persuasion by those who know how they work. These weapons of persuasion are part of thee dark arts of persuasion in that they do not always result in a win:win situation if used unscrupulously. In B2B selling , professional buying processes are designed to minimize or remove the impact of these weapons but they are used often in B2C selling.

We live in an extraordinarily complex and stimulated environment, easily the most rapidly moving and complex that has ever existed. To deal with it we need shortcuts. We can’t be expected to recognize and analyze all the aspects in each person, event and situation we encounter in even one day. We haven’t the time, energy or capacity for it. Instead, we must often use our stereotypes, our rules of thumb to classify things according to a few key features and then to respond mindlessly when one or another of these trigger features is present. Sometimes the behaviour will not be appropriate for the situation. But we expect the imperfection since the alternative is that we would be left frozen,  analyzing and miss the time for action.

According to Alfred North Whitehead “civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them”. These are the key weapons.

  • Reciprocity – “One good turn deserves another…”
    • People are more likely to give to you if you have already given to them
  • Commitment & Consistency – “Stay on course!”
    • We have a nearly obsessive desire to be consistent with what we have already done.
    • If I can get you to make a commitment (that is to take a stand, go on record), I will have set the stage for your automatic and ill-considered with that commitment. Once a stand is taken, there is a natural tendency to behave in ways that are stubbornly consistent with the stand.
    • People are more likely to behave the way you want them to behave if they believe that this behaviour is consistent with an existing commitment
  • Social proof – “Monkey see, monkey do”
    • People are more likely to follow a particular course of action if they see other people doing the same thing
  • Authority –
    • People are more willing to follow instructions if the perceive the instructor to have authority or expertise
  • Likeability – “Jobs for the boys”
    • People give preferential treatment to those that they know and like
  • Scarcity
    • Rare items and opportunities are much more attractive than commonplace equivalents.

 

Lead Generation Terminology

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May 25, 2011 · by Ray · Lead Generation

Target Market

The Target Market or Target Market segment is a list of companies  (B2B) or consumers (B2C) that possess the required buyer profile that make them pre-disposed to buy the product.

Territory

A territory is  a part of the target market which has been allocated to a  sales person or sales team.

A Lead

A lead is a  potential opportunity sometimes known as a prospect – For example, a person met at a conference who expressed interest, or someone who filled out a form on the company website.

Lead Conversion (Or Qualification)

If the lead is qualified and the salesperson and decides to pursue it, the lead is “converted,” and becomes an opportunity. ( Note that the term conversion is used somewhat loosely and in many cases in Digital Marketing does not end up with an opportunity but with a (more qualified) lead that still requires further qualification before it becomes an opportunity.

An Opportunity

Opportunities are the sales and pending deals that are tracked in that Sales Pipeline or Funnel. The pipeline is built by adding more opportunities will contribute to the forecast.

Opportunity Qualification

Opportunity Qualification means that the prospect has provided information and performed certain actions that show that they are  at a minimum in the market for the product, have the budget to buy and are willing to do  so within a reasonable timeframe.

Qualification is tailored to the specific sales process which is itself  aligned to the specific buying process in place.

In a simple B2C eCommerce transaction the qualification is a very simple process.

In B2B solution selling the qualification is a process that may be spread over weeks or months that forms a large part of the sales process due to the relative complexity of the buying process.

For instance in B2B solution selling:

  • A Lead may be qualified initially by an internal telemarketing team who may deem it good enough to pass on to the field sales team.
  • The Field sales team would initially qualify the company known as a suspect to avoid confusion with the term prospect. At this stage it would enter the funnel as a qualified suspect.
  • Further levels of Qualification would then take place with the other members of the buying team such as the Sponsor (Person Driving the Project) and the Power Sponsor (Normally at Executive or C Level).

An Account

An account is the company or consumer that makes the purchase. An account may deal with several opportunities.

Use Value to drive Marketing Investment

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May 16, 2011 · by Ray · Marketing
Value

Use Value to drive Marketing investment

Value = Total Benefits-Total Investment.

The description of Value delivered by the marketing department will be much more powerful if  linked to Value delivered to CEO  and company objectives.

For instance the CEO may have a company objective

” increasing the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) from £22 per month to £26 per month”

So a Value chain may be created that shows the Value that each department adds to the creation of this overall Value.

1. The Technical & Buying Departments must deliver a new data product for a specific investment

2. The Sales Department must generate a specific number of new sales by converting a certain percentage of qualified leads.

3. The Marketing Department must generate a specific number of qualified leads.

If you are selling equipment for a data product or a means of generating qualified leads then a conversation with the CEO based on the Value delivered in achieving his objectives will be better received and understood.

Equally, the marketing department will secure its budget easier if qualified in terms of delivering Value towards the company objectives.

 

 

 

 

Creating a High Performance Sales Team: – Sales Model

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May 9, 2011 · by Ray · High Performance Sales Team, Sales Model
Sales Model

Use Sales Model with Leadership to create high performance culture

A High Performance Sales team is created by combining good hiring of sales people with Leadership with a scalable sales model.

The sales model will improve efficiency and effectiveness by implementing:-

  • A Sales Process (Increases efficiency and effectiveness)
  • A Sales Management System (Increases effectiveness with some efficiency)
  • A Sales Automation System (Increases efficiency with some effectiveness)
  • Integrate Marketing (Increases efficiency and effectiveness)

High performing sales people (stars) have a unique combination of skills and knowledge. They excel at building customer relationships, developing successful strategies, managing internal resources and beating their targets every year. A sales model will take the best of these skills and experience and turn an average sales person into stars.

Read more at Sales Model.