by Maria Gracia
A number of years ago, I moved from Jersey City, New Jersey to Brown Deer, Wisconsin. I still remember the process I went through searching for the services of a competent and reliable doctor, dentist, and accountant, etc. I didnít know many people who could give me a referral. So I turned to their advertising.
Looking through the Yellow Pages was of little help. After all, each ad was pretty much the same. They all said, "We care about you," "Weíre the best!," "Providing excellence for 40 years!"
In addition to those meaningless slogans, each ad contained nothing more than the company name, address, office hours, a few services offered and a phone number. Some of the ads also contained a picture of the doctor, dentist or accountant. There was no way I could make such an important decision from these types of self-centered ads.
Not one ad gave me a simple way to learn more about them and their services, other than calling for an appointment. In other words, I would have to "pay" to learn more about them.
With this marketing strategy, I would be forced to select three total "strangers" blindly. I wouldnít have any idea if any of them was competent or could fulfill my needs.
We want to buy from people we know, like and trust
We all base our selection of service professionals on three basic criteria--know, like and trust. We want to know the people or company we do business with. We want to like them and the way they do business. And we must trust that they are honest, ethical, competent and will charge us fairly for their services.
The only way you can determine this is by "trying" their services. Just because they say they are honest and trustworthy in their ads doesnít mean a thing. We all know that advertising can often be exaggerated and self-serving. You determine these things based on how they perform and how they treat you.
The approach all of these ads took was, "I am a dentist (or doctor, or accountant, etc.). You can trust me. Call for an appointment -- and donít forget to bring your checkbook." They all said, "The risk will be entirely on you . . . not on me."
The Give to Get Marketing approach attracts like a magnet
None of these professional service providers understood human nature and my needs as a consumer. If only one of them had understood the power of the "Give to Get Marketing" approach, my decision would have been so much easier--and that provider would have acquired a new client.
Just imagine if I would have received a direct mail letter from Dr. Smart with the following message:
Welcome to our Neighborhood
Please Accept This New Neighbor Gift Certificate
for Your First Visit to Our Office
Dear New Neighbor of Dr. Smart,
In an effort to introduce our new neighbors to our medical office we are pleased to announce we are offering a free office exam, plus basic blood work, cholesterol count, and customized dietary report. No gimmicks, strings or extra charges. There is absolutely no obligation for further visits
Call 555-1234 for your complimentary, New Neighbor, appointment. Ask for Sandy.
Yes, I may check around to make sure Dr. Smart is a qualified and reputable professional, before responding. But, if he actually treats me well, comes through with all his promises, and is willing to give me good value for my dollar on continuing visits, he'll probably get me coming back for the next 20 years. Plus, he definitely will get referrals from me later. Thatís because I would have finally found a professional I could get to know, like and trust. And the risk wasnít on me. We both win.
There are millions of people searching for ways to spend their money on solutions to their problems.
If you advertise just like everyone else, "Come buy my product or service...and the risk is on you," you're missing the boat. There will be no reason for those people to contact you.
Give customers something of value 'for free' that is directly related to your product and service, and you may get them coming back to buy again and again, for the next 20 years.
Give to Get!
If you want to soar head and shoulders above your competition, then donít take the tired and ineffective marketing approach that they do, "Buy my product . . . and the riskís on you."
Understand that your prospects are looking for someone to do business with. But they want to get to know, like and trust the person or company they select. One of the easiest ways to do that is by letting them "Try before they buy." Give a little, and youíll get a lot more in return.
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