What the big guys teach us for free about sales
Observation is something that can be trained. If we want to become a better writer, just take the extra effort to observe how the writer forms his sentences in addition to just reading the story.
Asking good questions can also be trained. Just find yourself asking more questions on a single day and soon enough, it becomes a habit. We become more curious and inquisitive. And those who seek will find.
So what does Apple know about sales that others don’t? Is it just about having a good product? What did Blackberry miss out compared to Apple? Why did Samsung sell more when HTC had a better made phone?
Put the power of observation and the ability to ask good questions together. What we get is a rather powerful combo in learning - quite often for free.
The late Peter Drucker mentioned that companies just have to focus on innovation and marketing. I did not read his books. But I read this line and it stuck with me. Why “innovation” and “marketing?” You might notice that product development and sales wasn’t in the equation.
Here’s my interpretation.
A culture of great innovation produces great products. And a culture of great marketing produces great sales results. So instead of focusing on product development and sales, a company should focus on creating the very things that create great products and sales - and not the results itself. The result is the by-product.
The same things that work for the big guys are also applicable to small and micro businesses - including the lone wolf sales representative. Instead of wondering all the time ,“how can I sell more?” we should focus on what goes on before the actual sale, which is marketing - what I call the sale before the sale.
This might even sound unreasonable to begin with. “How to even sell before I meet my prospect for the first time?”
Have you observed that all the people who queued up to buy the iPhone on release day were not going into the shop to be sold. They were already sold. They were queuing to buy. And if they asked too much questions in the shop, the stock might just run out.
How did Apple sell to millions of people even before the product was launched? How was it even possible? The answer is quite visible. Tremendous efforts and money was spent in marketing, which by academic definition are the 5 Ps, and by a more powerful and insightful understanding is simply “the sale before the sale.”
The amount of effort we make to help a prospect form an opinion about us before the first meeting have a profound impact on the first meeting itself. If we take this for granted, then we risk suffering the same fate as Blackberry.
Apple have a powerful marketing engine. Blackberry have too much pride for too long, only to realize it when it was too late.