The philosophy of the marketing concept teaches that to succeed in any business, the customer must be the center-piece of a business activity. The saying that “The customer is king,” The customer is always right,” The customer is a dictator,” or that “The customer is god” are all borne out of this philosophy.
In whatever way it is defined, one glaring point remained – all businesses/organizations are intensifying efforts to satisfy the needs of their customers in a profitable way. And so marketing is an activity which is directed at satisfying the needs and wants of customers through exchange processes which occur in the market.
Creative sales and Marketing, therefore, has to do with strategies of attracting people to take a closer look at your business and in the process they do business with you. Friend, the things needed to promote your business are already within your disposal no matter what product you offer or how small your business is. All you need to do is to be creative and use your imagination. Your creativity and imagination, when used in sales and marketing, would put you ahead of others especially in a market where completion is high.
For a long time businesses in Liberia has placed customers at the receiving end, a situation which has not changed and still continues today. Why? Because businesses in Liberia have not appreciated the need to put the customer at the center of their activities except that we see this change gradually occurring within banks activities in Liberia, but that these banks need to do more in term of the services they provide customers and the attitude of their employees to the customer.
A survey was taken among customers to discover why they quit buying goods from certain stores. Here is what they discovered: 1% die; 3% move away; 5% other friendships; 9% competitive reasons; 14% product dissatisfaction; and 68% because of an attitude of indifference shown to them by an employee.
You must establish customers needs and thrive to satisfy their needs in the most expedient and profitable manner. Customers are not interested in services that make them boring. They want express service (needs). Understand that the most important task within the management of your business is that of understanding the needs and wants of your customers and potential customers and adopting your business to deliver the right goods and services more effectively and efficiently than your competitors. You will need to understand what the customer needs and at the same time, your business operational procedure must be designed in such a way that this can be easily met.
Give the market some excitement. There are so many ways that you can change the rules of engagement and make the market do what you want. There are so many cheap gift that you can give to your customers. When you begin your sales and marketing plan, it would be very beneficial to consider schemes and strategies that will make people talk about you or your product.
Instead of sending messages on the air waves, spend your advertising dollars on gifts that will bring much more effect. Today, in Liberia, people want and need a free gift and the person who will give it to them will win them over. The reality of life is that people don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care. When people get free things they tell others about it. This can make a great deal of difference in your business.
Being creative is not about high tech marketing or about the most expensive advertising spots on the television or the radio. Friend, be nice and make it a habit to be kind to people and you will win them over. To care about people or to be creative you do not need a college degree. All you need to do is to change the rules of engagement and dare to care more about your customer’s interest than about your own. It is a fact that as long as you focus on the needs of the people that you serve, they will give you what you want.
And so friend, let me ask you this again: “When was the last time that you were able to get more than ten percent from any business here in Liberia if you were able to get a discount at all? How did the people in the business treat you? Did they act like they were happy that you came into their store or bank, and did anybody show appreciation that you were there to pay their salary? Did the store workers or owner or the bank employees give you anything extra that made you feel special? Did they give you any reason to go out and advertise the business for them? These are questions I want you ask yourself.
Let us review Kunle’s story and his creativity which made him to stand out among his friends and made him successful in business. Kunle is in the sales of computer products and other electronic equipments. He sold more new computers and electronic equipments, each year, for six years running than his counterparts. In fact, Kunle sold more than twice as many computers as whoever was in second place. In explaining his secret of success, Kunle said, “I send out over five thousand cards every month.” As the customer is preparing to leave my store I have already made up a thank-you note.”
Meanwhile, I would keep the communication flowing. In this manner, my customers won’t forget me. At the end of every month they get a letter from me. I care genuinely for my customers. They are not a burden to me. Kunle said. Friend, this is simply service. Here we see that Kunle has changed the rules of engagement and has dared to care more about his customers.
Friend, you must abandon your traditional ways of thinking. You must not let tradition bog you down but be ready to revolutionize your thoughts. When you are restrained by tradition, you will find yourself unable to change and become stagnant. You must always be willing to accept new ideas in your heart and mind. You must always have a progressive way of thinking. It is only those who develop and improve themselves with a progressive way of thinking can stay ahead of others whether in politics, economics, education, culture or business.
As a businessman, never stop thinking of new ways to improve and enhance your business. Be confident that your business will grow even larger. Although it may seem quite impossible for your business to serve all, be positive that there will be a way to do so if you get out of the traditional ways.
Don’t give up easily under any circumstances, but go forward with a progressive way of thinking. Don’t let traditions and old ways of doing things become a hindrance. You must abandon them and let new ideas and creativity become your new wings. When you do so, you will find your business bearing abundant fruit.
Don’t try to be like everyone else. The size of your business and finances has nothing to do with creativity. As a matter of fact, the lack of finances or a limited amount of available cash should be all the more reason for you to use your imagination and creativity.
(Chealy Brown Dennis is a marketing and business development consultant. He is also a much sought after motivational speaker and offers training in leadership, personal and organizational development, creative sales, strategic planning, team building and wealth creation. He can be contacted through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on phone at: 0886-264-611)