Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Time to Sell Something

I just read the morning paper and my horoscope says, "Keep goals relegated to the short term and make a quick sale or two. The generous and tolerant mood of those around you will help you make acceptable presentations."

I'm not a believer in horoscopes and just read them for fun.

But as a seasoned sales person I'm just superstitious enough keep the horoscope in mind today. I'm signing off now so I can go try to sell something.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jazz Up Your Sales with Free Publicity

I've been on a book review kick lately. And I promise this is not one.

But I recently heard Martin Lindstrom being interviewed on NPR about his new book and ran out to buy it. (I then saw him interviewed recently on the Today Show.) His book is called Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy and introduces a new concept called neuromarketing. Using brain scans scientists can monitor brain responses to certain products and ads. And what the brain indicated people like and what people verbally say they like don't always match. And, interestingly, our brain response reflects our actual behavior more so than what our mouth says. So, in a nutshell, people don't always buy what they say they will buy. Focus groups may be a waste of time!

As a marketing and sales junkie I'm intrigued by the concepts of this book. And notice how I found out about it... through his interview on NPR.

A great way to jazz up your sales is to use PR to get a little free advertising a.k.a. publicity. We can't all get our product or company featured on a national radio or TV show but we can get a little buzz going to stir up interest and create celebrity around our business.

Here's a few ways to jazz up your sales with free publicity:
  1. Write a press release and send it to local radio and TV news program producers and/or your local newspaper. If you need help writing a press release, click here and read more tips here. To find out who to contact call the station of the radio/TV news program you'd like to pitch and ask who the producer is for the program. Get his/her phone number and email address. For your local newspaper simply email the editor or the writer of a column where your info is a good fit.
  2. Think visually. When sending a press release to a local TV news program think about what the audience will see. Can you take props with you that are interesting, provide photos of interest or even talk to them on location somewhere? Radio show host will be interested in telling the story behind your information and the visuals that can be created from the conversation.
  3. Write articles and submit them to local magazines and newsletters. Make sure the article provides newsworthy information and include your contact and company information at the end of the article.
  4. Public speaking. Speaking to audiences helps position you as an expert. There are tons of associations and clubs who enjoy speakers at monthly luncheons and would love a free speaker that is informative. Rotary clubs meet weekly. Remember that your speech needs to provide valuable information that helps the audience and not be a sales pitch for you or your company. If the audience likes what they hear they'll remember your expertise and seek you out when they need your product or service.
  5. Send letters to the editor of a magazine or publication that reaches your client base. I read these all the time. A letter to the editor might have a better chance of being printed initially and it helps the editor begin to know who you are.
  6. Remember it's not about you. To maximize your chances of getting free publicity the information you provide has to provide value to others and be newsworthy. Blatant self promotion is not PR - that's advertising. If you own a lawn service, your PR campaign might consist of information on "The top 7 ways to keep a green lawn all year long" or "How to sell your house with your front yard." If you own a auto repair business your campaign could say, "How to Keep Your Car out of the Shop."