Sales and Marketing Common Sense

By: Thomas Young

The most successful sales and marketing approaches are based on common sense. There is genius in their subtle simplicity. They may at first appear to be common knowledge and easy to implement, however, do not let this fool you because common sense is not so common. Here are a few basic marketing and sales principles often ignored by businesses.

Let Your Market Lead
It is very common for entrepreneurs, or established businesses, to approach their markets with an idea, product or service they are sure will be tremendously successful. They may have performed focus groups and other extensive market research that appears to give them the green light, only to find their idea, service or product goes nowhere. Market research is only a measuring stick, not the final outcome. As you develop this new idea, make it flexible to market changes and follow the lead of your target market.

How often do companies attempt to push a product on their customers? The wireless Internet is the latest of these attempts. Do people really want to access email and Web sites from tiny screens on their mobile phones using a telephone number pad? This may be true in Japan, where the PC is not as common in the home, but probably not in the U.S. Wireless Internet providers are better off following the lead of their markets for ideas on how to best make use of this new technology.

Give Away Your Secrets
Competitive advantage is a critical component of marketing and sales success. Yet, many companies keep their competitive advantage a secret! They do this out of fear that competitors will steal these ideas and take away market share. In fact, the opposite is true. A clearly stated competitive advantage increases your market share and drives more customers to you. Operational secrets are one thing, but the benefits of your business that separates you from your competitors must be shared with customers.

For example, if you were looking for a chimney sweep, wouldn’t it be nice to know what they do that makes them better than their competitors? If you are the chimney sweep, you might be thinking, “If I give away the secrets that make me a great chimney sweep my competition will steal those secrets and put me out of business!” The rewards you gain from sharing your competitive advantage overwhelms any minor gain to your competition.

Love Your Customers
It is so hard to acquire, foster and retain loyal customers in today’s competitive markets. Never take this for granted! Treat every customer like gold and remove any obstacle for him or her to do business with you. I have met with business owners who do not want to place their phone number on their Web site because they do not feel they have time to answer calls. This is an example of a hurdle customers have to jump to do business with you. If someone wants to give you money, please make it easy for them. Do not let operational issues make it difficult for customers to buy from your business. Have a passion for your customers and make it your passion to understand how they think and why they buy.

Sales and Marketing is About People
The people who implement your marketing plans are key to success. They must develop the skills needed to understand customers and keep the company moving in the direction of meeting target market needs. Teamwork is critical to marketing success, as everyone in the company sees themselves as a marketing professional. This includes making things easier for the customer, before making operations easier for the company.

Marketing Takes Time
Never give up. Marketing takes time and if you are committed to your project you will succeed, as long as you give customers what they want. You may remember the line, “If you build it they will come.” I’d like to add a reality check to this quote, “If you build it they will come, but only if you tell them to and give yourself enough time.”

Be confident, ask for help when you need it and keep your focus on meeting the needs of prospects and customers. In this way, you implement common sense sales and marketing that is not so common, and you will be on the road to higher levels of success.

Tom Young, MBA is president of Wood-Young Consulting, an Internet marketing and sales training firm helping companies increase revenues on the Internet. He is the author of Intuitive Selling ( and can be reached at 719-481-4040, or e-mail at [email protected]. For more articles like this one, visit his Website at Call for a free consultation.