I wish I could sell better. A number of my clients are certainly feeling the pinch of the economy and growing competition. Their challenges and concerns are substantial. However, their responses seem almost counter productive at worst and at best unimaginative. A few examples probably explain my point:
The car dealership who is hurting. His lot is pretty sparse, selection is down, and foot traffic on the lot is noticeably light. His solution is to do more traditional advertising via television commercials. So, he uses the coop dollar he receives from the dealership to produce his commercials. Why? It’s cheaper. The result is, his commercials look exactly like all the other commercials and there is nothing to separate him from his competition. In fact, most folks who viewed his commercial couldn’t remember the name of the dealership that was being advertised.
A local charity relies almost completely on volunteers to help communicate their core message. Why? Because it’s cheap. Unfortunately, the story being told by the volunteers is shot in such a manner that what you notice most is that; they are boring, the video is really bad, the audio is difficult to understand (natural sound with lots of ambient noise). I shouldn’t say, “they are boring”. In fact, the story they have to tell is quite compelling. It is a story of life and death, literally. However, the person doing the interview has never interviewed anyone before. The people telling the story don’t know where to look, who to talk to, and stumble through their story. The emotional impact is lost and the piece looks boring.
Another charity is having a fund-raising based almost solely on silent auction items. Not a bad idea but execution is everything. You have to create a means of capturing information on the attendees so you can follow-up later. They are producing a great event using totally volunteers. That is great for the event but then who does the follow-up? What does the event lead to with regards to donor or civic involvement for the future?
Here is the “Better is Better” part. DECIDE what a victory is! Make a decision that says, “If I invest X amount of dollars, I need X amount of Y”. The car dealership would be much better off producing a locally produced commercial with a local well-known spokesperson. Instead of purchasing dozens of balloon looking things that sit on the car antenna, instead of purchasing “commercials in a can”, why not utilize local events/knowledge/personalities/testimonials to build credibility. Even broadcast live from a local High School football game. SOMETHING that sets you apart. Compare the return on the dollar for something like that and see what happens. If you’re the charity that needs a story told. Invest the money necessary to create a story with impact. There is a reason everyone loves a good movie. They FEEL something. As a charity, you have to remember that no one does anything unless they feel like it.
I’m ending this before I start to ramble. As a salesperson, my “Better is Better” is to find a way to communicate my message above to clients that “don’t get it”. Help them see beyond the notion that they have to do it cheap and help them see that effective is always affordable.