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Tom Marin

Building Brands

By Tom Marin

About Tom

Tom Marin is the managing partner of and provides corporate and brand strategy to organizations of all sizes. He has an extensive background in the graphic arts, printing, publishing and media industries. Marin is an accredited member of the national and international chapters of the Business Marketing Assn., is a (CBC) certified business communicator and a past marketing chair of the Chicago chapter.


How to Strategically Drive Customers Through Your Sales System

Anyone involved in the sales and marketing of a company has heard about sales funnels and their importance. What may not be quite as familiar is AIDA. AIDA is a simple acronym that was devised a long time ago as a reminder of four stages of the sales process (“Psychology of Selling” by E.K. Strong—1925). It stands for:
  • Attention—first, get their attention: surprise them.
  • Interest—second, hold their attention: listen to their challenges; you ask the questions and let them do the talking!
  • Desire—third, show them how your product is uniquely suited to solving their challenges.
  • Action—fourth, ask them to take the next step. Be careful here! Don’t push something they aren’t ready for. Maybe the next stage is another meeting, or more information, or a product demo. The key is to keep the ball rolling in the direction they want it to go.

This is a fairly simplistic model, but that does not mean it is no longer of value. In fact, its relevance in today’s flat economy is more important than ever. The key is knowing how to make each of these items into strategic actions.

Just 10 years ago, most sales presentations were made face-to-face. That has dramatically changed in today’s digital marketplace. Most of the time a virtual meeting of one kind or another will occur before a sales representative shakes a prospect’s hand and looks them in the eye.

Getting your prospect though the various AIDA stages leading up to a personal visit is the strategic key to getting an appointment. There are three important customer questions you need to be able to answer in the affirmative with great persuasion.
  1. Do you have what I want?
  2. Why should I get it from you?
  3. Are you the kind of person and company I’d enjoy working with?

Assuming you can convince your prospect on each of these prerequisites, the following is a key strategy that will lead to a purchase decision:

Added Value

Having a lot of knowledge about your product and/or service is great, but if it does not connect back to a direct benefit to your prospect, you may share a lot of information that doesn’t lead to a sale because it’s not worth much. The main mission of a sales representative is to find out what will best meet the needs of the prospect and deliver it with the appropriate specifics they want.

Your value-added solution should address the following:

Correct pricing
  • All inclusive—product/service/support in one package
  • Disclosure of any third-party relationships
  • Guarantees and policies for returns and exchanges
  • Tracking tool that will keep your prospect informed of your progress
  • Customer service plans available at the time of purchase
  • Locations and representatives supporting your products/services
  • Policies governing the use of your products/services including what can be used in multi-locations

Throughout all interactions, the most important dimension to achieve is to build trust with your prospect. That’s because, in the end, when prospects are making the decision to go with your product or service they will heavily factor in their experiences with you on the phone, through e-mail, and the various ways you communicated with them. Have they been enjoyable? Informative? Did you provide them the information they were looking for in the dosage they could absorb?

Chances are, if you can answer yes to all of these questions you are well on your way to making a sale.
Tom Wants to Hear Your Branding Issues:
If you are a printing company or product/services company serving the print-media market and would like to be considered for a feature in this blog, please contact Tom Marin for an interview.

Follow MarketCues on Twitter for branding and social media tips, as well as the latest trends. Tom also welcomes emails, new LinkedIn connections, calls to 407.330.7708 or visit How can he help solve your branding issues?

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