Selling by Intrusion

We hear a lot these about the negative effects of "intrusion advertising."

Disruption represents the strength of traditional media and by comparison, the largest weakness of social media as an acquisition tool.

They both have their place. But marketers should ponder this idea when developing their marketing strategies.

How many times have you wanted to punch out your TV for intruding on your favorite movie with another lousy advertisement? Even branders who are concerned about their delicate reputations must intrude on both customers and prospects alike to tell their stories.

When was the last time you were interrupted by a sales call at home or by a car salesman when you just wanted to examine that new car.

Are these overt intrusions? Absolutely. Does the customer and prospect generally like them? No, they don't. But they still buy from these companies and these salespeople. And those companies who do not do this exceedingly well die.

Let's face it. You can't sell in a capitalistic society without, ... well, selling!

So as much as we want to remain courteous and welcome in the customer or prospect, there is rarely a welcoming mat when we do so. And to fool ourselves into believing otherwise is being intellectually dishonest.

We are told, "influence, don't educate." Educating is just another form of interruption. It makes the prospects think by deepening their understanding of their need.

That sounds like "don't concentrate on being right, but being effective". The latter I understand, but I must confess the former differentiation confuses me.

How can you influence when the audience doesn't have the proper foundation? This applies particularly to my sales activity as a consultant.

Perhaps we should concentrate on the APPLICATION of the knowledge we are trying to convey rather than the theory. Now that, I understand.

So the way we present the facts takes on the tone of "Here's how this strategy might work in your situation." But when we do that, then we are giving away what we do as consultants for free. The application of knowledge is a big part of what we sell.

I don't mind addressing the process and perhaps a case study. But I resist giving away the store until I get paid.

I must admit that I am reacting to something a pitch consultant told me when I was presenting a direct marketing strategy to a general advertising client. They had no clue that they were missing the boat by spending all of their money on awareness advertising. Their client's sales were suffering. And they needed a different perspective. I was accused of "educating" rather than selling. I was intruding on what they said they needed. But I knew that their solution was improperly focused.

Therein lies the challenge. How to influence in a sea of ignorance? That's pretty tough in the real world.

How can you sell without intruding? Or more to the point, how can you sell without educating the prospect on what they are missing and how a given service can help them?

Posted on July 29, 2013 and filed under Branding, General, New Business.