Excerpted from the book on mindful business management, Business Black Belt.
The least movement is of importance to all nature.
The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.
~ Blaise Pascal, French mathematician & religious writer
It’s crucial that industry experts endorse you, your company, and your product or service — remember to include a marketing campaign to these important people.
Remember to market to the people who influence your customers. At JIAN, we call this the Influencer Channel and treat it with as much respect as we treat the Retail Channel.
Think of your customer as looking in all directions for assistance
In our business, our customers are influenced by many factors and come in contact with many people. Earlier, I described marketing as “creating an environment where sales can occur.” Respected people who influence our customers are an important part of our environment. Investors look at business plans all the time and are always asked about business planning. Therefore, we promote BizPlanBuilder to them in hopes that they’ll recommend it. We also promote to bankers, CPAs, management consultants, and others so they’ll be aware of our products and recommend them to their clients. Ideally, they’ll outright tell their clients to buy our software because it will make everyone’s job easier. The investor and banker prefer to deal with a business owner who is thoroughly prepared. A business consultant prefers that clients do all the prep work on their own and use the consultant’s time more efficiently for more important matters (besides, consultants want to work on the more fun stuff like strategies and creative tactical things).
Second best is when our potential customer may be considering our software and asks a banker, investor, or consultant if they’ve ever heard of JIAN or any of our software packages. In that case, I’d like to think the expert responds with “Oh yeah, those guys are great. I’ve heard good things about their software. I know several people who’ve used it and were very successful. Sounds like a great idea.” Worst of all would be “I’ve heard of [competitor] and they’re good, but I haven’t heard of [your company], so I don’t know.” I think it’s crucial that you determine who the influential people are in your business and make sure that they are aware of you, your company, and your products or services. Materials directed at them should be more technical in nature because they will be more aware of any requirements in greater depth and they’ll be more interested to know that you’ve done your job right so they can honestly recommend you to their clients.
Support your influencers’ business
Since you want the influential people in your business to recommend you, be careful not to promote your product or service as a replacement for them! We never say, “Buy Employee Manual Builder™ and you’ll never need a Human Resources professional again.” As the saying goes, “It’s not nice to call a witch doctor a sonofabitch.” We want HR professionals to recommend our software to their clients and many of them do because a) they don’t want to have to write the manual themselves, b) they know their client will appreciate their interest in saving them money, and c) the HR pro can invest more of their time in helping their clients with more serious, specific problems that will ultimately serve their client better. We want these people to like us.
Ideally, you want all of your customers’ trusted advisors to be aware of your products or services and recommend that your customer do business with you.
Business Black Belt Notes
- Surround your customer by ingratiating yourself to those who influence your customer.
- Leverage your marketing by promoting your products or services to those whose professional advice your customers trust.
- Promote the professional advisors to your customers.