Salespeople have an affinity to be trendy. Yes, they must follow trends and infuse trends into sales strategies if the trends are judged to be relevant. Unfortunately, and too often trends are “spotted” after it is too late to do much about them. We have witnessed trends grounded in “trivia,” “yuppies,” “do-it-yourself,” dot.coms. Some capitalized, but most were too late to reap the real benefits as they appeared like the last cookie to come through the cookie cutter – no different than any of the other cookies. So, what can salespeople do to avoid “cookie cutter” strategies?
- Swallow pride – wonderful ideas may not be so wonderful. Don’t let egos become so large they become impenetrable and incapable of thought.
- Caution — over-reaction here – salespeople must respond to changes, but which ones? Imitative, “seat-of-the-pants” reactions rarely are effective. Ask this question: “How can a strategy that simply imitates be viewed by customers as new and exciting”?
- Do homework – ask questions like “How does a trend really impact the market, my products, how I do my job?” to tailor strategies that customers will find new and exciting.
- Avoid complacency – be willing to make change if the homework tells you do to so. New ideas must be continually developed to keep customers interested.
- Do Practice – when salespeople make changes, they should test them against how well grounded they are with respect to customers’ needs, wants, and preferences.
- Do not Act Like Hungry Mungry – Hungry Mungry was a boy whose appetite was so insatiable that he ate everything in sight. He finally ate himself. Salespeople and sales companies act like Hungry Mungry when they see the “big idea,” then someone(s) else in the marketplace makes a splash in that marketplace, so others quickly load up on effort, people and product to fuel market expansion. Too often, this effort is followed by over-zealousness and over-expansion, resulting in the reduction of people, and products, and markets.
- Empathize – Customers will ask “What’s new?” They will ask “What is so different about that?” Unacceptable answers will lead to resistance and their resistance will lead them to be unaffected by “cookie cutter” strategies and tactics.