Do you serve or sell?

Think about a business philosophy that embraces “serve more" versus "sell more". First, let’s assume all businesses, regardless of their product or service sell something.

 

If you take a print magazine with a million person circulation, and a blog with a devout readership of 1 million, for the purpose of selling anything that can be sold online, the blog is infinitely more powerful, because it's only a click away.

Timothy Ferriss

That being the case, it would seem that selling more of whatever you sell would equal success. Simply put, stop selling and start connecting.   Adopt a "we exist to serve you" philosophy, and watch the sales happen.   An attitude of serving the needs or desires of consumers is portrayed in your positioning, branding and communicating. It is apparent in the brand's personality, tone, graphics and communications.   It is human nature to be more attracted to a proposition of serve me rather than sell to me.   Can you think of any businesses that give you a “we exist to serve you” impression?

Are you selling or serving? Do you hear the heart beat of your consumer?   Do you know what they need?   Do you know what moves them from "I don't really need that" to "even though I don't need that, I'm going to buy it"? Where is the tipping point? Learning this could be the turning point for your business.   This idea is not limited to businesses that are typically considered in the service industry like hotels, restaurants, and salons. It applies to every type of business.   There are ways for every product or service to fit into a service space with consumers.   Find it, and put that learning to work in your product or service design and marketing.

Economic – realizing how and when your target audience is comfortable (or not) with parting with their expendable income is crucial if your product or service is non-essential.   The paradigms have changed and so should your strategy.   Personalization – The one-size-fits-all strategy is less appealing among the young and emerging generation of consumers.   A universally appealing product or service can have customizing elements to it that add attraction and value perception.   Do you know what your target consumers consider those things to be?

Uniqueness – If there are a variety of options for the consumer to pick from, what sets your product or service apart?   What makes them pick yours over the others?   Are you on target with the four P’s – product, price, place (distribution), and promotion?

Indulgence – When are your target consumers most likely to indulge themselves? Is it strictly occasion driven?   What’s tempting?   Emotion drives the majority of purchases.   Let your target consumers tell you what moves them.   Listen and build your strategy based on what you hear.   Get in touch with your consumer. Learn how to first serve them, and then how they want you to sell to them.   If knowledge is power, consumer research may be the best investment you make in your business.

~Cari Pirello

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