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Clear Away the Fog to Achieve Sales & Marketing Success

By Joel Sussman
Posted Saturday, September 4, 2004

Confusion, in the minds of your prospective customers, can be the biggest obstacle to increasing your profits in 2004. Not only do they need to know exactly how your product or service will make their life better, and how it's superior to what the competition offers, but they also must fully understand how, when, and where to respond to your offer.

You would be surprised at how many direct mail pieces, sales letters, brochures, newspaper ads, and commercials do not spell out what people need to do next to take advantage of a marketing promotion or to get more information. The sequence of events that must take place to produce a sale may not happen if you don't give them a phone number to call, a street address to go to (with directions or a map, if necessary), a deadline to meet, a website to visit, an email address to write to, or a compelling reason to respond quickly. And if the potential client feels even a little unsure about whether you're reliable, honest, experienced, or trustworthy, then there's virtually no chance that you'll gain their confidence and business. That's why it's vitally important to build trust and remove sales barriers by offering guarantees of satisfaction (when possible), emphasizing your many years of experience (if you have it), using glowing testimonials of satisfied customers in your marketing materials (which you've gotten permission to use), having current references available to prospects who request them, and becoming a member of the Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, and appropriate trade and professional organizations (and making that known on business cards, brochures, plaques in your office, your web site, and anywhere else you you can think of). That's one way to demonstrate that you're not a fly-by-night operation and that you have high professional standards.

If you're starting to realize that your marketing messages and strategy are not as crystal clear to your intended audience as you might hope, or if YOU'RE not exactly sure who your target audience is, then you've identified a major, but easily solvable, problem: You need to create a marketing plan!

Your chances for sales success in 2004 will increase dramatically if you do a so-called "SWOT" analysis, which takes an in-depth look at your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You'll find that your marketing messages will be much more effective and "on target" if you have an understanding of your goals, what your action plan is to accomplish them, who your customers are and what they want, what trends are taking place in the marketplace that could impact your business in the future, and what your strategy is to make your product or service stand out and be noticed.

By doing a little research and spending some time analyzing your customers, the competition, and yourself, you'll in a much stronger competitive position for achieving greater profits and more success in 2004!

About the Author:
Joel Sussman, president of Optimal Marketing, has created an online resource for small business owners called "Marketing Survival Kit". In addition to featuring informative articles on web marketing, salemanship, advertising, and public relations, the site offers a variety of professional templates, manuals, and software for sale. Visit (


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