Posts Tagged ‘Values’

Selling Versus Marketing

by Jim Noh-Kuhn, Dream Business Coach

I have noticed a tendency of small businesses to market by selling, and to sell by marketing. It’s important to remember that these two activites are different. Marketing is the attraction of potential customers to your business; converting a target audience to become potential clients. Selling is the act of converting those potential clients to actual clients by understand their needs and meeting those needs.

As Ron Willingham points out in his excellent book “Integrity Selling for the 21st Century“, selling is about the personal relationship you have with a potential client. It’s about solving their problem, whether that solution involves your product or service or not. If the potential client sees that you have their best interests in mind, then they are much more likely to reward you with business and/or a referral.

Ah – the referral. That brings us to the best business strategy for marketing: word of mouth recommendations. It may not be fancy or sexy, but it has always been more effective towards getting more new paying customers than anything else. And in this day and age of social media and electronic connections, that word of mouth can spread quickly.

But word of mouth is not something controllable, and your marketing plan needs to be controlled (and measured). If selling is about solving a potential client’s need, then target marketing is about reaching people whose needs could be solved with your products and services (if they only knew that you existed). For example, if your business is installing kitchen cabinets, then your target audience is everyone who needs new cabinets.

An important question at this point is whether your marketing plan includes those people who don’t yet know they need new cabinets. How comfortable are you in “creating” a problem, where perhaps a potential client can’t afford new cabinets. This is where your company’s values come into play. That’s why it is so important to articulate and know your values upfront, before a marketing plan is defined.

The next time you’re faced with a potential customer, ask yourself what their real need is, and help them solve that. And the next time you’re faced with spending marketing dollars, ask yourself two questions: what are my values, and who is my target audience? Then, satisfying their needs will feel truly fulfilling.

Define Business Success

by Jim Noh-Kuhn, Dream Business Coach

How do you know if your business is a success?

Without thinking about it, most people think they know what business success is. Coming up with a definitive answer is one of the most important things that you can do for your business.

Well-meaning managers often define it in financial terms. While those are certainly important, the financial numbers are just that – numbers. They do not tell the story of how it feels inside, whether there is fulfillment, or an emptiness that even strong financial numbers can not fill.

In my experience, business success will always be tied to core values. If they are being expressed, then there will be a feeling of success.  The more conscious one is of the values, the stronger the feeling of fulfillment. It’s important to identify a definition of what each value means. Two people can have the same value of “family” but it may mean something completely different to each of them. These kinds of details are integral to defining what success is for your business (as well as for your life!).

Finally, the way I advocate to find out what your values are is not to brainstorm with a white board and a few of your top managers. Instead, it’s to look at what is most important, for example, why you started the business in the first place; or look at your conflicts, because your values are showing up there.  Often times, it’s far easier to identify your values using support. That may come in the form of a coach, or someone else who you have hired; it can also come from a colleague, friend, or family member.

Once your values are revealed, you can articulate exactly what success is. Specifically, when what you are doing is a manifestation of a value, you will feel successful. Therefore, define business success in the terms of your values. Then, look to see how they feel, and if you feel more successful.