B-to-B Insights: The More You Tell, the More You Sell
In an email, I asked Scott for the top three new rules of marketing and PR. His answer:
No. 1: Nobody cares about your products and services. What they care about is themselves and solving their problems.
No. 2: All organizations need to be real-time publishers. A brand journalism approach of creating blogs, videos, podcasts, photos and the like drives action.
No. 3: Have fun. People do business with those they like.
Thinking back over my 30-plus years of B-to-B marketing, I would say that in the old days we followed a couple of these rules only lightly, and violated the spirit of most of them regularly—as many marketers continue to do today.
The New Rules
Let's start with Rule No. 1: "Nobody cares about your products and services. What they care about is themselves and solving their problems."
Everybody gives lip service to this truism, but how many companies stick with it in their communications? Precious few. Most people are me-oriented, and most companies seem us-oriented. For instance, in its annual report, one software company featured the same image every year—a nice picture of its building.
As Scott says, the prospect cares about his needs, wants, fears and desires. He cares about your product only insofar as it can address those needs. Remember the old saying: Don't tell the prospect about your grass seed; tell him about his lawn.
Let's skip over Rule No. 2 momentarily. Rule No. 3: "Have fun. People do business with those they like." Successful salespeople know the importance of building a relationship with customers and making them like you. In his book "The Likability Factor," Tim Sanders writes: "When people like the source of a message, they tend to trust the message or, at least, try to find a way to believe it."
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.