One day I sat at home in my living room trying to put together a proposal for a church event I am involved in. Suddenly, my clicking of keypad keys was interrupted by “Hello?!” at my door. By the time I got up to see who it was the person had already ‘flashed away’ just as quickly as they appeared. I looked to my floor only to see a piece of white paper with information on it. Apparently the young man who saw it fit to shout at my door was selling cooking gas; appears he has a cooking gas retail business. I took up the piece of paper, looked to see what it was, and made my way to the bin to dispose of the piece of paper. Then I thought, “This would make for a great marketing article to educate on what NOT to do”.
So let’s break it down shall we. Firstly, his approach was completely wrong wrong wrong. You do not walk up to someone’s house shouting at the door, a simple knock would have been more than enough to gain your potential buyers attention. Once you have gotten their attention then you politely introduce yourself, and introduce them to what you are selling, and if time allows why they should do business with you. The first mistake was bad in itself, but then he was in so much of a rush that he didn’t have time to stop and speak to me about the product he was trying to sell; this is a big no no. Already he is telling me the type of business he operates. If he is too busy to stop and take the time to introduce himself and tell me about his business when I am not even a customer, then it clearly indicates to me that he would be too busy for me as his customer. He would be too busy to answer my calls, or to come to my aid should I find a fault with his product or have an issue with his service. To put it bluntly, he would be too busy to give a damn about my needs and concerns as his customers.
Secondly, the ‘flyer’ itself, I put it in quotes because I wouldn’t consider it a flyer, was a piece of cheap printing paper with words and pictures on it. I don’t mean to be harsh but that is the perception I have of the ‘flyer’. It was a square, pocket-sized paper, the typical office paper used for printing; it was black and white, with no appealing graphic or text to it and not even a single bit of colour. This only leads me to one conclusion: that this is the value and quality that he places into his business, low and mediocre. Therefore, I can see that if this is the value he places in his own business, then clearly this is the same value he will be offering me as a customer. Think about yourself as a customer, any of the businesses and companies that you do business with; is your perception of them one of low value and quality? No, I very much doubt it. Why as a customer would you be willing to spend your hard earned money on low quality and low value, especially since there are so many other options available? Whether you realize it or not, customers will choose to do business with you on the premise of thinking you will offer them high value and quality, so your business must depict that. Something as simple as a flyer, business card, or website shows the effort, quality and value you place in your business, so if you want to attract the right customers, pay attention to the things your potential customers pay attention to.
Lastly, the message that the flyer delivered was completely irrelevant to what he was selling, which is cooking gas. He had pictures of two stunt bikes with the stuntmen on each bike. My first thought to this was, “What do stunt bikes have to do with cooking gas? Will he sell bikes that can cook as well?” Not to say it wasn’t eye grabbing, but my point is that it was completely useless on the flyer. As a matter of fact I probably spent more time looking on the bikes themselves rather than paying attention to what was actually being sold, which is a pretty bad thing considering the point of the flyer was to sell me a product in the first place.
So breaking down something as simple as a flyer and an approach to show how even the simplest things you as the businessperson may take for granted are things that may cause you to lose out on a lot of business in the first place.
So to recap:
1. To get potential customers to buy into what you’re selling you have to be willing to take the time to sit with them, speak with them and listen to them; people will feel a lot more connected to you if they think you don’t just consider them money in your pocket, but a person who is a valuable asset to your business
2. The value and quality you place in your business is the same value and quality that will be perceived by your potential and existing customers; high value business = high perceived value by customers
3. Ensure that your marketing message is associated with what you are trying to sell, and brings that across effectively; if you’re selling cooking gas, sell cooking gas and leave out the stunt bikes.