Home' micenet eMag : micenet April 2018 Contents I
want you to imagine you’re at the
Intergalactic Legends of Business Events
Summit at a swanky venue in Acapulco.
You’re there as part of your professional
development. You’re at the opening cocktail
function and there’s a huge crowd. But you
only know one person in the room, and you
don’t really like them.
Who do you go and talk to at the function?
I suspect you answered “the person I don’t
like”. And the reason is simple and related to
human nature. It’s much easier to talk with
someone you know, even if you don’t like
them, than it is to talk with a stranger.
Humans are the laziest species on the
planet. We always take the path of least
resistance. Plus, in this example, you can
always find a reason to leave the other
person if the conversation is not comfortable
to get a drink or go to the loo, etc.
Why is it easier to talk with someone you
know? It’s because you have common
ground for a conversation. In this case, you
both loathe each other. You stand there with
drink in hand, bragging how fantastic
business is, while looking over the other
person’s shoulder to spot someone you
know, or a friendly eye.
This principle applies to your marketing
messages too and is summarised as follows:
“One thing you know about your customer
is worth more than anything you know about
your product or service.”
If you know something about your
So says marketing guru Malcolm Auld. We’ll let him explain...
customer, you can start a conversation based on relevant data – what you know about them. If
you only know something about your product or service, then all you can do is talk about yourself.
And we all know what it’s like listening to someone do nothing but talk about themselves.
This is why so many marketers have to rely on the formula of “sex sells”. They have no choice
but to put lipstick on a pig to attract new customers if they don’t know anything about said
customers. Their messages have to paint a bright picture or make so much noise, they stand
out from the advertising clutter and hopefully attract a response or sale.
But if you have a database, you can have a relevant conversation without having to rely on a
heavy sales pitch. Yes, you will eventually ask for an order, but it’s easier to do so as part of a
conversation between two parties than by one party shouting at the other.
Here’s an example I call “The Wendy Baxter Handshake”. For quite a while I spoke at events
run by the Australian Marketing Institute. At one particular event, when I’d finished speaking,
Wendy Baxter from Inoxcrom Pens, presented me with a gift of a fine ballpoint pen. I thanked
her and didn’t think more about it.
About six months later I received a letter from Wendy. She reminded me of how we met and
suggested that although the pen she gave me was good, it does eventually run dry. So she
enclosed six free refills, along with her corporate catalogue, in case I was looking for client gifts
for Christmas. I smiled and sent her a thank you note.
Over the next few months after speaking at AMI events, I collected a matching fountain pen
and pencil from the Wall Street set, as it was called. At an AMI function I told the head of the
AMI my pen collection story.
Shortly afterwards Wendy sent me another mailing. This one had complete refills for my
ballpoint pen, fountain pen and pencil, along with a letter. I wrote about this in my direct
marketing book. Wendy’s CEO in Spain was so impressed he bought 20 copies of my book.
And Inoxcrom became a sponsor of some of my marketing events.
The lesson is simple. From a brief handshake, Wendy took that “data point” and turned it into
a profitable business arrangement. She didn’t have to sell me on the product features of the
pens. Every communication was based on our relationship.
So take a minute to consider what data you hold about your customers or prospects. It will
make your sales task a lot easier if you can converse based on something you know about your
customers or prospects. Certainly it’s much easier than trying to find ways to make your
product attractive to people you don’t really know. m
Check out Malcolm’s blog – www.themalcolmauldblog.com.
micenet | 27
MARKETING | MALCOLM AULD
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