“You can be the juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”
– Dita Von Teese
Imagine for a moment you are a dog in a pet store. As time has gone by, you’ve watched the dogs next to you get plucked away into loving home. To have a chance, you taught yourself useful skills, such as using the litterbox, sitting when told and you can even play dead.
However every time a potential owner comes over, you just sit and stare at them. As the other dogs pull cute faces and do tricks, you realise it truly is a dog eat dog world. And while you sit and doubt your ability and sell yourself short, are wearing a sign that says bite me.
The sad truth is the difference between the losers and winners is not always quality and performance. It is the perception of quality and performance. There are some top quality small brands that get snuffed out eventually because people perceive well-known brands as the highest quality.
This is where personal selling should come in. But it doesn’t. People neglect the sheer power and importance of personal selling. This means that your brand suffers whether it is cutting-edge real estate or owning the best pie store in town.
Although personal selling is vital in every industry, it holds a special place in service industries. The life blood of service is the reputation of it’s people after all. Because of this, these five questions revolve mainly around service industries. Without further adieu, here are the five questions to ask about your personal selling:
1. Do the People Even Want Peaches?
Sure you may be the juiciest peaches on the market, but does your target audience even want peaches? If not let them eat cake. Let them eat whether they really want! That is, if it is within your company’s means and abilities.
So if you notice a market gap in manufacturing shoes with strong soles, but you own a car repair business, ignore the gap. You need to learn to pick your battles – some you are completely unequipped for. Snag the ones that are within and close to your market.
2. Are Juicy Peaches Best?
So now you have determined your audience likes peaches, determine what about peaches your selected target audience likes. This is through vigorous customer analysis. However since this is selling of your personal brand, don’t treat it like customer analysis of a product.
Differentiate it by asking what aspects of the service they enjoy. Do they want fast, pin-point accurate service? Or do they want a nice chat while you work? One of the most tricky aspects of personal selling is working around very different customer bases.
3. How Juicy are we?
Now you work out your unique value proposition. I cannot tell you what yours is – it is unique after all. But here are a few examples to guide you. For real estate sales consultant Shaun Cosgrave, his unique value proposition is over 20 years experience and awards to his name. For a small town electrician, it is his locality and community connections.
4. How Future Proof are Juicy Peaches?
Juicy peaches may be all the rage now. But what about in five years time? Will crunchy apples take over? What about sugary donuts? Work out when juicy peaches start to rot. Have a plan for this time.
Also ensure your plans align with your teams goals. And ensure they align with your personal goals. In personal selling, motivation is key. And when plans don’t align, motivation is incredibly difficult to uphold.
5. Check for Rotting Peaches
By now you should have a good idea about analysing your competitor’s marketing strategies. But what about checking how healthy they are? Are they falling out of the business? If so, is it by choice or by market pressures?
Ask these five questions regularly. That way you can continuously refine your personal selling strategy.