Selling disguised as market research

Business development tricks of the trade:

Have you ever tried disguising new business prospecting as ‘market research’?

Finding new customers to discuss your business products and services with is difficult for many people.  Many people have a natural fear of the unknown and ‘cold calling’ strikes a death-knell in many people’s darkest fears.

Let Creative Agency Secrets show you some of the insiders tricks of the trade –

and learn to find an easy way to discuss new business without the fear and pain.

We all need Market Research

Market research is a valid business activity – without it you cannot know what the market and pricing is for your services and products.   What few people realise is that many prospective customers are happy to give their advice and opinion to you, free of charge in the name of market research.  They are frequently motivated by the hope that if your situations were reversed, you would assist them.

Asking questions about how other people view your products is very easy to do.

Email introduction for market research survey

Imagine this – an email asking for 15 minute meeting to get an opinion about a new service offering.

Dear Rebecca, we’re planning a new email list de-duplicaiton service for launch in the autumn,  As a previous customer of XYZ co, we’d value your opinion on the features and pricing of this service.  

Could you spare us 15 minutes on a conference call to give us your views?If you have time next week, I’ll send over a short briefing note explaining our plans. 

Best wishes

Could you send something like that out?  Individually and personally addressed?  You could send it using Linked In using their mass-mail feature?  Maybe add in a ‘poll’ if you want a voting response (though this is less personal).

Case study – market research for affiliate consulting services

One of our coaching clients has plans for a new environmental consultancy around carbon credits. The two partners in the business have found a service they want to sell and asked our advice about pricing.

We recommended contacting prospective customers and seeking meetings or phone conversations with them to do market research into their appetitie for this service.

Not only does this approach allow a direct conversation with a possible decision-maker; it allows you time to explain exactly what your product/service does and how the customer might benefit. They listen carefully because it’s a ‘market research’ dialogue not a sales pitch.

Nice, eh?

 

Additional thoughts

Our client is a busy lady who works in 2 businesses – building up the new one while running the existing one. We discussed how she prioritise her time. Our conclusion was that if she could specify the 3 questions needing answers from the market research, her business partner could do the calls and visits. In this way she can ‘direct’ the work but spend her time on the other, income-generating business while still progressing developments on the new venture.

See other articles about Pipeline development and Opportunity creation by searching the categories on the right.

How to write an awesome creative brief

Getting fabulous creative work from your marketing agency depends on the brand team giving the best possible brief to set up the work.  Writing down what you want from your campaign and collaborating with the agency to agree the full terms of reference for the work you are commissioning is of the utmost importance.

You may be finding a new marketing agency to work with or briefing in new campaigns for your existing agency.

Both require communication of the utmost clarity.

And so whether you are a brand who uses agencies; a brand who has an internal marketing department or an agency wanting to use best practice with your brand clients, here are two slide decks and a blog post which will help you to write the best possible creative brief.

Thanks to Dare who created this slide deck as a training event for their internal staff.

Creative Brief Workshop

View more presentations from Nick Emmel

How to write the brief

Putting pen to paper and getting the desired outcomes by describing accurately what you want to happen from the campaign is where this second slide deck is useful.It starts with a template form which requires answers to these statements and questions
  • Brand Proposition – what is it?
  • What do we want to achieve?
  • What is the one key insight?
  • What do we want  people to do?
  • How should we tell them?
  • Why would they?

In the deck the authors show good, mediocre and poor ways

How To Write A Creative Brief, by True Digital

View more presentations from True

B2B marketing briefing rules are different

Why is Business to business marketing different from business to consumer?  Well the main reason is that although a business is staffed by people (who may be consumers) the language and method of selling by one business to another is not the same.
And so we have found you a B2B example of how to write a brief. Make sure you read the comments below the post as they are also informative.

Guest Post: How to Create a Powerful Sales Presentation – Chris Gallagher

As a business development agency with an involvement in the entire sales process, we help our clients to influence the brands we’ve created opportunities to pitch to.

This article of insightful tips helps you to structure a professional and powerful sales presentation so that you can pitch your agency with conviction, confidence, and clarity.

Tip 1: Define the objective of your presentation

Are you looking to persuade (e.g. sales meeting), inspire people into action (e.g. budget decision makers) or educate (e.g. brands will want to know you understand their industry and target audience therefore new interesting insights will add credibility to your presentation). In a pitch or sales meeting situation, you will be looking to do all the above. The presentation content should then reflect your objectives, which can be measured quantitatively or qualitatively.

Examples of measurements are:

Sales: Did you win the project or progress to the next stage?

Inspirational: When questioned, do the decision makers commit to both the principle and action associated with your presentation topic?

Educate: Did your insights create further discussions?

Tip 2: Understand your audience and venue

Sometimes the presentation title defines the audience.  Sometimes it’s the audience who define the title.

Things to consider on your audience are:

* Who are the people attending your presentation (marketing, finance, procurement)?

* How many will there be, and from what backgrounds?

* How will your audience be dressed, and expect you to dress (ideally the presenter should be aligned in appearance to the audience. In large corporations, shirt and tie is expected. In Marketing Communications, if you are targeting other agencies i.e. white labelling work, it’s more likely to be smart casual. Pitching this wrong can create a barrier to building rapport with your audience.

In terms of venue:

* The size of venue needs to be appropriate to the number of expected attendees.

* Ensure that you know exactly what technology is available to you and take what you need to with you. Even where the venue supplies this, always have a back-up plan. A decade ago this meant having printed copies for all your audience. Now it’s more likely to be a laptop and USB to store your presentation content

Tip 3: Using PowerPoint or video presentations

Using a poorly prepared and visually unattractive presentation can decrease the overall value of your content, as well as the perception of its delivery.

A few simple rules to avoid this happening are:

  • Make the presentation visually interesting. In an ideal world, video should be used, but this can be impractical if you need to edit your presentations frequently (e.g. sales), where PowerPoint will suffice. That said, you can easily embed a mini-video presentation within an otherwise editable presentation. This can be driven by some small headers on the front page of a presentation, alongside your company logo (typical headings for a sales presentation can be “testimonials”, “financials”, and “proposal”)
  • Do not overuse words and bullets. The rule of thumb here is that if I can present or read the content of your presentation without you being there, then it is a poor presentation. Only rely on key phrases or topic headers. Additionally, a thirty slide PowerPoint with nothing but bullets on it will bore your audience to sleep. Imbed “interest peaks” into your presentation (see below).
  • Do not under use or over use animation. Often people feel the need to overuse animation, which can become distracting and over the top. Equally, dropping an entire slide into view means that the audience will inevitably read ahead of where you want them to be. Bring each salient point in as required.
  • Make sure that you know in advance how much time you will have and plan your presentation accordingly. In sales presentations, if the client reduces the time you have to pitch, do not rush through a one-hour presentation in fifteen minutes. Discuss the most salient points or re-appoint to another time.

Tip 4: Create “interest peaks”

A standard presentation is 40 minutes in length. In this time, your audience will be at their most attentive in the first 10-12 minutes, and the last 5. This is because people “drift off” during presentations that are heavy in content, visually dull, or poorly presented. To counter this it is important to continually keep your audiences attention by offering new, interesting stimuli in terms of content and delivery.

Good methods of achieving this are:

  • Anecdote – People like to hear a good, relevant story.
  • Quotes – It is common to open and close presentations with quotes, which make an important point related to the presentation title, or to inject some humour.
  • Jokes – On that very subject, jokes can keep audience energy high, but only if they are tactful, relevant to the presentation, and funny.  Do not stop and wait for rapturous applause, because if it isn’t forthcoming you will look very silly indeed.
  • Video or film – Changing the media you use will inevitable re-engage those lost during the presentation.
  • Using different presenters – A single person for a long period can become dull. If it is realistic, and assuming both are good presenters in their own right, this can help to keep a longer session more engaging.
  • Activities – It is said, “you remember 10% of what you hear, up to 80% of what you hear, see and actually experience yourself”. Where possible get your audience involved in appropriate activities.

Tip 5: Body language

The key mistakes made by inexperienced presenters are:

  • Shuffling from side to side
  • Playing with pens, watches, or anything you’re holding
  • Staring at a single point or at the back of the room. Equally it’s poor etiquette to look at the screen whilst presenting. You should know the content, and even if you do not, use confidence cards for guidance. Remember YOU are your best visual aid in making presentations interesting.

Chris Gallagher is the Strategic Development Director for UpFront Business Development