So here we are in The Dip.
Depressed over no sales activities and being told by some smug jerk that all of your problems are of your making. Truthfully, if I ended everything at our last Dip commentary, I would indeed be a jerk.
However, there is a silver lining to the swirling bowl of bad, and that is the fix to this problem is entirely in our own hands.
It's time to rebrand.
More than that, it is time for you to take the controls and rebrand into the genuinely remarkable and unique company you are. The challenge is: "How do we shake free of trappings we didn't realize we had fallen into?"
Step 1—Get some new perspective.
My recommendation is to explore the book I'd mentioned earlier – "The Brand Gap" by Marty Neumeier. Or get his next book, "The Brand Flip." This book focuses on examining how a Brand Specialist can use products to develop meaningful messages, which transitions branding through value over advertising tied to cost. While being quick and easy reads, Neumeier's books are targeted to an audience of corporate brand specialists and marketing executives.
Clearly these books won't replace a post-graduate degree, but they will give you a perspective into the thinking and logic used in creating a branding campaign from a multi-faceted level. The goal of this exercise is to have YOU see and understand how YOU fit into your client's broader branding campaigns. Once this is accomplished, you will engage the client in a more focused line of questioning. Furthermore, the products you recommend will more appropriately connected to their marketing efforts – and, as a side effect, you re-define what you represent in your client's eyes.
Step 2 – Take a moment to look at your top buyers.
What may be surprising is running the numbers and discovering who your top buyers are. It never ceases to surprise me with how many distributors have a perception of who their top buyers are but don't really know who spends the most money with them. Beyond that, there is often a lack of knowledge as to what that buyer is purchasing.
After digging into the numbers and examining order history, you will have a better idea about those buyers and what factors connect in their purchases. Do they have a common price range? Is there a seasonality to their purchasing? Do they purchase for outside advertising or internal reward? Is there a common category of products?
After this, do some internet sleuthing into the company's corporate messaging, social media outreach, and recent activities updates. Very likely you will discover the connection the products you sell have in fitting into the brand culture that the client is attempting to create – while simultaneously showing you the sales opportunities you are missing out on.
When your recommendations are informed and in-line with their behaviors and desired culture, you will be free from being viewed as the "Tchotchke Guy" or the "Trinket Woman."
Step 3 – Establish your Personal Brand through a new "Elevator Pitch," and then stick to it.
The notion of an Elevator Pitch is easy: a 30 second, or less, introduction into who you are, what you offer, and what your goal is. An Elevator Pitch's natural design is not to close a deal, but to make an initial connection that sparks interest and creates the opportunity to move a conversation forward. Blah blah blah.
Look, I know this part is boring and that everyone has always told you to do an Elevator Pitch. Problem is, you still don't have an Elevator Pitch regardless of the fact that EVERYONE told you to do one. So yeah, this piece is a lot like taking medicine, but it's time to buck up and get it done!
While there are plenty of examples on the World Wide Web for Elevator Pitches, I would implore you to be very focused – and very specific – on the three main components that make up an Elevator Pitch. This is not an exercise in group-think, because the answer as to why someone chooses to do business with you is not found in what other distributors say or do.
Who are you? Sometimes experience does have more sway than professional certifications. If that is your strength, then it must be put on display. The motivators and drivers for you (that "thing" that made you go out on your own to start a business) are a part of WHO you are and should be a part of your branding.
What do you offer? I would encourage you to explore what you have done in the past to make sure that a product arrived on time for a client. It is often remarkable what a distributor will do to protect their clients, and too few people ever really talk about it. Those are things websites and larger corporate groups fail at duplicating. Now do please note: What you offer IS NOT ABOUT PRODUCTS BECAUSE, WITH THE INTERNET, BUYERS DON'T NEED YOU GET PRODUCTS ANYMORE!... Sorry for yelling, but that was important to get out.
What's your goal? (HINT: This isn't about you). This part is all about the person you are delivering the pitch to. Remember, we are in a Service Industry, so the ultimate goals you express in your Elevator Pitch must spark a connection in the buyer you are speaking with. If your goals don't connect with them, they do not need to continue communicating with you.
Once you have crafted the new pitch, practice it until it is second nature. Branding is all about consistency, so once you've got it down, use it freely and often. Take it to buyers that you have had for a while and begin to engage in turning them into loyal clients.
Will this activity change the world? Nope. But, I genuinely believe that it could change your world. The point of all of this is not to convince you that there is a secret formula that cures all that ails your business. It is to get you to realize that you are no victim to The Dip, that we are all experiencing this mess at the exact same time, and that if YOU want to elevate yourself successfully out of The Dip then the "fix" to YOUR challenges are literally in YOUR hands.
If this can put a focus on an action that engages your mind and supports you coming out of all of this better than you were when it started…Then that was time well spent in The Dip.
Jeremy Chacon, PromoEQP © 2020