CREATE A FREEBIE FRENZY: HOW GIVING AWAY FREE STUFF CAN MAKE YOU STAND OUTWritten by Meredith Pond
In order to increase sales and help your business succeed, you need to put your name in minds of customers. You need to create a relationship with them so that next time they need products or services like yours, you're first one they think of. These ideas sound simple, of course, but they may be easier to talk about than to implement.
So how do you create customer relations that everyone talks so much about? Well, there are a number of ways, including giving great customer service, offering customers a good value, and building a fun, down-to-earth, or warm and fuzzy image.
There is another way, however, to solidify your image as a customer-friendly business that you may not be thinking of. Like other methods, it's not very difficult, but it does involve one four-letter "F" word: FREE.
Giving away free stuff, even if it's just your advice, shows people that you're willing to help them out-- that you're more of a friend than someone vying for their business. Free information your customers can use, free samples of your product, or vouchers for food or travel can make great incentives that help your customers remember you.
Part I: Sales, How Revolting! Part I: Sales, How Revolting!Written by Wild Bill Montgomery
From time I was old enough to grasp concept of sales I knew I wanted to be involved. My dad was in sales, I wanted to be in sales. At tender age of 17, I was still under false impression that sales and marketing were same thing. Eventually I went to school for a specialized degree in business/marketing, while working part-time selling home fire safety systems and found out a very distressing fact. I'm not a salesman. I enjoyed observing them in action but when it came right down to it, I found act repulsive and still do today. I gave up on my dream of being another J. Paul Getty and discovered an even bigger love; "Computers". Big Mainframes, Cobol, Pascal, they were my true desire now. I was still fascinated by Sales and Marketing, but believed it was only a pipe dream, because I just didn't have what it takes to be a salesman. You see, even with a formal education, in back of my mind I still believed sales and marketing were one and same thing.
Eventually, I started doing programming on side, but still had an extreme phobia about sales and selling people on my services. Then in 1991 I picked up a book on vacation called "Marketing Your Services". I rediscovered fact that marketing and sales are not same and I don't need to be a high-pressure salesman to market my talents. I found something called "relationship sales". Sales is sales, right? You have to convince customer to buy what you have to sale. Wrong!
You know high-pressure sale is hard on everyone involved. The "burnout" statistics are so high that only 5% of high-pressure sales people stay with it for life. But it's not only hard on salesperson, it's hard on customer too. Have you ever sat through a home vacuum cleaner demonstration? Most of these people are hardcore pros. They have to be to last even a year. I know, my father was one for most of my childhood, and he was good, I'll give him that. But, eventually even he burned out, and went into construction.
For potential victim, and I say that with all sincerity, it's just like being lined up for firing squad. You know it's coming and feel completely helpless to stop it. This is how I pictured marketing until I read book. It's not like I didn't study difference in school. I can't remember whether I just didn't believe it or I just didn't get it. No matter, it was what it was and I wanted no part of it anymore.
In 1997, I discovered Internet. Some small part of me was still crying out for dream. The "J. Paul Getty" dream. I saw an opportunity and I wanted to get in on it. With time constraints, two jobs and a family who demands my attention, I very slowly got into HTML, Perl and eventually Flash and SQL. But what good is it going to do me. I already had a great job that I wouldn't leave for another. So I decided I would set up a website and sell what I have learned. So I wrote attention getting headlines and hard selling copy. I figured Internet sales was a lot easier, because there was no face-to-face pressure. I could sell my services on my web page. Too bad it's not that easy. People are inquisitive, curious and skeptical. I found myself getting emails about this and that, getting telephone calls asking me why they should pick me. The problem was I couldn't back up my hardcore sales pitch in a more personal manner. I just couldn't figure it out, even with reading all about it. How can this be happening again? What is answer? I went back and read that book that I had read years before, just one more time to refresh my memory. It clicked, "Relationship Sales".