When I leave a place of business with a product, what have I actually purchased?
I have the product of course that I can see, smell and touch but haven't I also purchased the product idea and the expertise to make the product?
If I had help from a salesperson I also purchased their knowledge to help me make my decision.
The point I want to make in this article is that sometimes you tend to gloss over your expertise and not use it to add value in your marketing or advertising.
Let me give you an example of what I mean.
If I sell auto theft devices in Phoenix, Arizona would the following information be of importance to my potential customers?
In a 2003 auto theft survey conducted by The National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Phoenix-Mesa, Arizona area led the nation in vehicle thefts with just over 40,000.
If I'm in this industry I'm going to include information about this study in my ads and in-store promotions.
I'm also going to try to get an article in my local newspaper about it by sending this study to the editor along with MY "Ten Ways to Stop Vehicle Theft."
One of the best ways to bring in business is to be perceived as an expert in your field.
If you're quoted in the newspaper you must be the expert otherwise why would the newspaper have sought you out?
Never mind that you sought out the newspaper. I'm also going to include a study of the "Top Ten Most Stolen Cars."
Owners of these cars can be a very lucrative market for your business. Are the owners of the top ten stolen cars going to see you as the expert on preventing vehicle theft?
Hopefully they will. Plus does your customer know they're driving the #7th most stolen car? Probably not.
So by bringing this to his or her attention you create a customer where there might not have been one before.
Fear of losing your new car can be a very powerful motivator.
In addition, if you want to carry this to its furthest extreme, you are alerting car thieves of the kinds of cars they should be stealing which will also build your market.
Not every cloud has a silver lining.
Part two of this equation is the knowledge of your staff. One of the most overlooked areas of creating sales is the person who answers your phone.
Every phone call should be logged and how it was handled.
Want an education about your business? Answer your own phone for a week. You'll see how much business you are losing by not treating each and every call as potential sale.
Even if they're calling asking for your hours you have an opportunity to tell them about the weekend sale, or a new product or promotion.
Something to peak their interest and keep you in mind. They are calling you for a reason. They are potential buyers.
They found your business phone number, took the time to call you, I would guess they are interested in much more than just the hours of operation. They called for a reason — find out what that reason is.
Customers are shoppers too. As much as I would like to close every sale some customers walk.
But I would never let them walk without some kind of helpful educational information about the products they looked at.
It doesn't take much to create a handout to educate them and make you look like the expert.
For example, as I mentioned above, "Ten Ways to Stop Vehicle Theft" peppered with benefits of doing business with you.
If they looked at stereo speakers it should be something like "Thirteen Things That Make A Speaker Good," or something similar.
Be creative but let the customer know that you're good at what you do.
You are the Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan of your industry. Don't we want to deal with people who know what they are doing?
You are the expert and your knowledge has value. Demonstrate that value in every marketing message and watch your sales improve.
Based in Bozeman, MT, Tom Egelhoff is the author of, “The Small-Town Advertising Handbook: How To Say More And Spend Less,” and "How to Market, Advertise and Promote Your Business or Service in Your Own Backyard." He is also a seminar and workshop presenter and small business sales trainer. He may be reached at 406-580-1104