8 Potent Strategies to Drive Sales Through Others
One of our listeners, John, is in a pickle. He is starting a new business, but that isn't the problem, although I am sure we can all agree that starting a new business is fraught with pickles. John is up for it, though. He needs help with getting other people to help sell his product. Some of you have that same problem, so I decided to share eight ways he can make that happen here in the newsletter.
Before we get into that, let's remember a foundational element of success in marketing and sales tactics: before you plan and execute, think about what you want to get out of it. For example, if you are advertising, that's one type of communication, but it can have different goals. Maybe it's awareness or education. Perhaps you want to remind them that you exist or persuade them to make a change. Knowing what you are trying to convince them to do gets you started with a tactic that works.
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Knowing your goals helps you choose the channels for those communications successfully. In John's case, it's a new company, so building awareness about his company's brand is critical. Of course, education and persuasion are, too, but working everything into one communications campaign is challenging. Trying to do so usually means that you will take care of everything at once without doing a very effective job at any of it.
Therefore, as we present these ways to get others to sell for you, some of these channels will be better than others at various communications and tactics. Moreover, you might skip a couple because it doesn't do anything for you or the brand you want to build.
For example, I've had my own company since 2002, and I've considered each area. I avoided a couple of them, particularly the first one, affiliate marketing. In that case, my motivation for skipping it was to remain independent. In other words, my strategy was to communicate about my company and maintain my independence, so the first tactic wouldn't work for me or my goals. So, I encourage you also to consider your goals as I present the options below to determine what will work best for you.
#1: Affiliated Marketing
Affiliated marketing is where somebody sells your product for you. So, for example, if I had a relationship with a pen company, I could tell you how wonderful it was, and then I could have a link to it that you could click on and buy it. I would then get a cut of all the pens sold via that link. This type of affiliated marketing relationship works pretty well, particularly if you have a relationship with a sales partner with contacts in high-value areas.
However, there are other types, too. For example, awareness is another goal that affiliated marketing can facilitate. Some people use social media to link to products on websites and earn a commission that way. So, they are selling your product by making people who follow their Pinterest board aware of it.
Therefore, affiliated marketing can work for many things. Just not Beyond Philosophy, it seems.
#2: Referral Programs
Much like an affiliated marketing scheme, a referral program incentivizes your customers to refer their friends and family to use you. The idea is that you leverage the credibility that your brand receives as a result of your customers' recommendations to people they know.
You will see these offers everywhere. We subscribe to a vegetarian meal service that spends considerable resources attempting to recruit me to tell my friends and family about it for $25 off. However, most of my friends are dyed-in-the-wool carnivores, so it's a fruitless effort. (#punny)
#3: Influencer Marketing
This area has grown in popularity over the past few years. Here, you get key opinion leaders in a given area to talk about (i.e., sell) your product or service for you.
So, for example, the vegetarian meal service that is wasting its time with my circle of influence could try this one. The company could go to a social media influencer that specializes in helping people improve their vegetable intake and could promote the meals as a convenience food that serves those goals.
One of the strengths of this tactic is that in these key opinion leaders' following base, they have credibility in that area. When the influencers say you have a good thing, that's enough for many followers.
Getting into the business-to-business area is Co-branding. Here, two established brands collaborate on an offering, which could create a synergistic relationship for both brands. In other words, it has to benefit both brands. For example, Nike and Apple have a few collaborations that associate the two brands.
Another example is Intel Inside, a campaign that builds brand awareness by highlighting its presence in another product. Without those stickers on the PC, would anyone outside of a small, specific group of technology enthusiasts know what the microprocessor is? If you are like me, you probably don't know what a microprocessor does anyway, but you know that Intel is a good one, so having it inside is a good thing, too.
Remember, for this one to work, each brand needs to be credible in its respective areas, and the relationship should benefit each brand. Ford co-branded with a clothing designer, Eddie Bauer, for their car interiors a few years ago. The collaboration built upon Ford's more extensive reach for the outdoorsy clothing designer, which benefitted Eddie Bauer, and the coolness factor of using a well-known clothing designer for their interiors aided Ford. If Ford had co-branded their interior design Bert Scroggins, no one would care…except maybe Bert's mom.
#5: Joint Ventures
A joint venture follows along the same lines as a co-brand with the distinction of having a higher level of integration. For example, Sony and Ericsson had a successful joint venture in the early days of the smartphone. Another is the integration of AOL (America Online, for those who didn't know) and Time Warner, although that was a disaster.
Joint ventures require each entity to contribute expertise from a business perspective. In John's case, this can be tricky because the business is new, so they don't have as much to contribute to the brand space. However, if the product or service is innovative and leverages expertise that a competitor doesn't have, it is possible if improbable.
Also, the organization's size entering the other side of the agreement can facilitate this relationship. So, an established brand and company—in other words, a big brand—might not see the value in a joint venture with John's new company, but another small or new company might.
Whether it's sponsoring the local soccer team shirts or sponsoring events, you're paying somebody else to advertise your product. In return, they lend you credibility.
Sponsorship is effective for awareness campaigns. Also, these contributions can enhance people's emotional connection with the company. For example, by sponsoring a sports club that people like, they'll tend to like you, too.
However, sponsorship might not be great for persuasion. Your logo on a shirt makes people aware you exist and that you are a legitimate company. But that logo neither persuades nor educates them about you. So, if those are your communication goals, skip it.
#7: Testimonials and Reviews
Asking somebody to give a testimonial or review is an excellent way to get others to sell for you. We do that all the time on our podcast.
Reviews are essential for many shoppers, mainly if your product or service is new. Having a customer share their experience can be the thing that motivates others to try your product or service.
#8: Strategic Partnerships
Strategic partnerships are similar to joint ventures and co-branding but less formal. For example, Spotify and Starbucks have a strategic partnership where you can download playlists you heard at Starbucks. The two parties gain something out of it.
Strategic partnerships create win-win relationships. All too often, organizations present a win-lose.
I hope that this list helped demonstrate the possibilities. There are many ways to encourage other people to sell for you. You can even combine some of these ideas. However, it is essential to remember that if you want this to work, everybody involved needs to get something out of it; anything else leaves you on the wrong side of a win-lose situation.
Colin has conducted numerous educational workshops to inspire and motivate your team. He prides himself on making this fun, humorous, and practical. Speak to Colin and find out more. Click here!
Colin Shaw is an original pioneer of 'Customer Experience.' LinkedIn has recognized him as one of the 'World's Top 150 Business Influencers', where he has 291,000 followers.
Shaw’s Customer Experience consulting company, Beyond Philosophy LLC, has been recognized by the Financial...