Every product has a style. The style is going to dictate the market, and to some extent, the salesperson. However, it doesn’t change the rules of selling. Or does it? The goal in marketing and sales is to intrigue the customer, and make them feel things that will incline them to buy and use the product or service.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou, American Poet
Different times in the life cycle of a product dictate different types of sales techniques. As an example, a new product style, or a whole new invention, will be looking for “early adopters”. These are the first ones to buy any new techno gadget, like to be ahead of the curve on style and restaurants, and know all the words to the newest music before you’ve even heard of the band. Offbeat advertising and new marketing techniques are going to get the attention of these buyers. However, it’s not the catchy ads that will sell the product. The pitch and the close will still be about fitting the discovery to the features and benefits the prospect needs. How you present those features and benefits may vary, but people don’t buy what they don’t understand.
Apple is a favorite among early adopters, and they call some of their sales and education staff “Geniuses”. These people are extremely knowledgeable about every product they offer. The company is renowned for their customer service. Non-traditional advertising and non-traditional retail style, with expert and traditional pitch and closing techniques, has been the model of retail success for them for decades.
Remember this ad?
The advertiser is Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. The concept is all style. Seriously, the adrenaline hit of bungee jumping is an excellent way to grab the reader’s attention. (Talk about remembering how someone makes you feel!) The copy (writing in the ad) is all pitch and close. “Trust. It’s what pretty much all decisions come down to. And with 75 years of experience….”
Sounds mighty traditional, but next to that photo and caption, it held the attention of the younger market it was seeking to attract. This brokerage isn’t pitching to retirement age investors with this ad, but the copy reads true to the long term image of the company being a solid foundation of knowledge and financial stability for long term investing. There is no goofy slang or trendy phrasing. You don’t want to invest with your buddies. You want to invest with people you think are smarter than you are. The product hasn’t changed. The audience they were seeking was all that had changed. Style. Not substance.
What’s key is the engagement of your prospective buyer. If you can continue to link the style of your message to the substance of your pitch and close, you’re on the right track.
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