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Selling: Know Who Your Customer Is

Published By Kristin DirtyMouth Communications     February 16, 2016    


It’s selling season, in case you haven’t noticed by the glut of marketing materials, the number of trade shows and expos, and the amount of time you and I are spending thinking about how to make our businesses and race teams work in 2016.

And my email box reflects that, too.

The questions I’m getting most right now are about selling – creating offerings, making an effective sponsorship proposal, targeting customers and potential marketing partners, pitching, and the mindset and all of the tactics that go into the many things we need to know to be able to sell.

One thing I wanted to address today are two principles we touched on in my most recent on-demand workshop on creating the perfect sponsorship offerings:

  • knowing who your customer is, and,
  • knowing what you’re selling.
Gone are the days when we can create a product that we think is fantastic and then go out and find someone to buy it. Discretionary income is not the same as it used to be -even if we have extra money for something we didn’t know we needed prior to you showing up to sell it to us, we now need to see return on investment for that extra money. And we need you to prove it to us, whether we’re a consumer or a business.

And how will you do that if you don’t know who we are?

So why do we still sell sponsorship and marketing that way?

“Here is the great thing I have, and here is why you need it.” – Doesn’t work anymore.

The more effective sales strategy today is a relationship building strategy, in which you learn what your prospect actually needs and then offer a solution that solves that problem.

Flip that script. And stop calling it a script, even if it does rhyme.

Solving a problem starts at the most basic of principles: you have to know who your customer is.

And, by the way, there’s no secret, right answer to this. Not all race fans are male, ages 35-52, blue collar and married. You and I both know that. So why do we act like that’s what we have to ‘sell’ to advertisers and marketing partners?

When you know who your prospect is, you can learn what their wants and needs are. You can understand what problems and challenges they face. You’ll learn what their business goals are, and what hoops they’ll have to jump through to get a program or expense approved.

All of those things can help you build a program that fits their needs, is easy for them to get internal buy-in on and, at the end of the day, will provide value that outweighs their investment and, in turn, makes them look like geniuses.

People who invest well in motorsports doing more than just well. They reap huge rewards. They are smart cookies. We applaud them.

And the better you do your job as the provider of services, the more clear that their smartness becomes to them and the decision makers they report to, even if that’s just Aunt Nancy who does the books every month. (And who doesn’t want a nice-job-cheek-pinch from Aunt Nancy?! You know she’s going to call your mom.).

How do you know who your customer is? Take a look around. Find the similarities in those who already support you. Can you see a difference between them and those who support your competition? Ask yourself why that’s the case. What about you and your brand presents differently than theirs, and who will that appeal to? What is your brand?

If you want a little bit more on this topic, here’s a piece I wrote on knowing where your customer is right now. It’ll give you even more insight into the importance of knowing your customer and who they are, and how many different types of customers you actually have.

We all want that silver bullet – the easiest path to selling and earning – but the reality is, you have to build the foundation before you can put the wreath on the front door.

So here’s to building a solid foundation.


About the author
Kristin Swartzlander is passionate about applying business sense to racing 'nonsense' in hopes of growing the sport of dirt track racing. She is a business strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn how to use public relations, marketing and social media to achieve their goals. Learn more about social media, marketing and racing sponsorship on the DirtyMouth blog.

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