Marketing from the Pulpit

Our pastor at church today made a comment in his message that marketing people only want to sell you stuff. He said, “They want to make you buy even if you don’t want it”. Initially I thought well that is a bit cynical but on reflection, perhaps that is the way most people see marketing.

I see it in a slightly more noble light of helping match customers with a need, to the right companies and products that will fill that need. I believe people love to buy but hate to be sold. In fact trying to sell somebody something they don’t want will eventually backfire as they will not want to buy from you again. We all know it is much cheaper to keep a customer than to constantly replace lost customers with new ones. It is more effective to help people uncover their needs, build trust and help prospects conclude that your product or service is the right one.


Marketing from the Pulpit — 2 Comments

  1. A lot depends on what’s in it for the seller — not just the business owner, but the employee who actually conducts the transaction. The challenge for management — and it’s often a huge challenge — is to figure out a way to get their employees to see the lifetime value of a customer.

    Sometimes the self-interest of the employee (as he or she perceives it) conflicts with that of the business, and that affects the way the transaction goes down.

    In a recent interview, author/speaker Chris Widener related the story of a bad experience at a car dealership. The salesperson told what Widener believed was an outright lie, causing him to walk out and buy the vehicle from a competitor.

    When the manager of the first dealership called to ask what had happened, Chris told the story and suggested that the salesperson was costing himself future business with his behavior — even if he makes a sale, the customer will eventually figure out that he’s been had, and will shop elsewhere next time.

    The manager sighed and said, “Most of these guys don’t think they’ll still be here the next time you’re in the market.”

    In car sales and many retail businesses, turnover is so high that many salespeople think they can’t afford to take the long view — they’ve got to make their sale right now.

  2. Phil, that’s a really good reminder that employees are a consideration in business performance. It is not always easy to successfully align employee behavior with business objectives. A lot of it comes down to how employees are rewarded (not just financially) which influences their actions.

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