Thursday, January 29, 2009

Brush Up....

"Dad, what was that foamy thing the dentist stuck in my mouth?" PJ asked me the other night at bedtime.

"Fluoride treatment," I responded. "It's keeps your teeth strong and prevents cavities."

"It tasted like soap," he retorted. "I thought I was going to throw up!"

I laughed.

"Brush your teeth," I said. "Let's keep you cavity-free."

I thought about the dentist a moment. We'd both had visits that day.

He's a good dentist, but he's not big on explanations. That can be a big problem both in dentistry and in sales.

"Looks like you might need a root canal," he told me.

"Whab dobya mead MIEMPT?" I said, trying to talk with his hands in my mouth.

"You have a cavity here between your molars," he explained poking me with his probe.

"OUTHCH!"I yelled as he hit a nerve. "Ith dere a mudder opthun?"

"See? The dark area is the cavity," he said pointing to my x-ray. "The other dark area is the nerve. See how close together they are?"

I'd already felt that.

Then, he silently continued to clean my teeth.

He may have been silent to give me time to think. But my problem with his silence is he seemed to be avoiding my question about other options. He didn't ask me if I had any other questions.

If he were in sales (which he is whether he acknowledges it or not) I'd tell him he needs to brush up on his closing technique. He should have explained the procedure, calmed my fears, and tried to close the deal. Instead he just probed at my gums until they bled and quietly made notes on his chart. I'm not sure if he was trying to intimidate me with fear or if he really didn't know what to say next.

I didn't make another appointment as I left the dentists office. I don't want to wait until it's an emergency, but I want to consider my options.

His silence wasn't very convincing.

Takeaway: Sometimes as a salesperson you can talk too much. But other times you can talk too little. Closing a deal often requires you to ask for questions, explain alternatives and ask the customer to take the next step. Are you fully answering both spoken and unspoken questions? How can you "drill down" to get to the "root" of the customers hesitancy? (Sorry, bad pun. But I couldn't resist!)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Gain Heft...

In lean economic times gaining marketing heft seems counterintuitive. It seems like time for belt tightening and budget trimming.

Not for Jenny Craig. She's getting fat.

In the Jan./Feb. issue of Inc. Magazine, Craig said while her competitors are hunkering down, she is spending a bit more on ads and finding it a huge competitive advantage.

For more on this see my March 2007 blog on marketing in a recession.

Takeaway: Are you trimming fat -- or your marketing muscle? How can you beat your competition head-on?

Phil Sasso

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Good marketers all want to find the perfect marketing message that sticks.

My wife drew my attention to a different kind of "sticky" ad, recently.

"I want to show you a clever ad that got my attention," Beth said paging through her magazine.

"If it was REALLY a clever ad it would come with it's own bookmark so you could find it again," I teased.

"Seriously. It was very clever," She said slightly irritated. "I know it's here somewhere. Yes. Here it is..."

The ad was for some kind of pod coffee machine. Nothing memorable or remarkable about the product to me.

But what did catch my eye was a Post-it Note printed on the page with a personalized note to Beth on it.

"You mother showed me the same ad when we were there for Christmas," I said handing the magazine back to her.

"She did not!"

"She did." I said. "It's interesting how you both noticed it and pointed it out to me."

"Isn't that great marketing?"

"It would be great marketing if you both ended up buying one," I joked. "But I'd say it was definitely good advertising."

In his book "YES! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways Be Persuasive," Robert Cialdini writes about the power of the personalized Post It Note in a 2005 study.

Three versions of a survey packet were mailed with differing results:

- A printed letter alone generated a 36% response to the survey request.

- A printed letter with a handwritten message on it got a 48% response.

- A printed letter with a handwritten message on a Post-it Note generated a 75% response.

Why did the Post-it Note turbo-boost the response rates? Researchers claim it's "reciprocity".
In essence because of the effort taken to write a personalized note, recipients felt an obligation to reciprocate.

Or maybe people just like Post-it Notes. (Kidding. Just kidding.)

Take Away: As we enter 2009, many of us have smaller budgets that need to do more work.
How can you use personalization and/or reciprocity to your advantage? What do you do to
connect with your prospects and customers? How much more can you do?