Sage Advice from a Marketing Expert!

An international hair-cutting chain opened a new store directly across the street from the small town's only barbershop owned and operated by a man affectionately known to the locals as 'ol'Joe'.

Joe and his barbershop were fixtures on Main Street for over twenty-eight years where he had enjoyed the privilege of trimming the hair on every man and boy in the community. Life was good for ol'Joe back then, but the new 'Haircuts-R-Us' across the street was intent on changing all that.

The new store had music, big comfy chairs, fancy sinks, bright colors, wall-to-wall mirrors and they had something else - a proven marketing strategy designed to put little guys like ol'Joe out of business.

Their strategy? Simply undercut [no pun intended] the competition!

Most folks were nervous for Joe as the word quickly got around about the competitions' Grand-Opening price of only $3.00 per cut. Ol'Joe didn't seem too nervous though, in spite of the fact he was used to charging $8.00.

Joe knew he couldn't compete with all the fancy things his new competitor had and he also knew his marketing budget was no match for their new neon sign ? the one that read, "Haircuts Only $3.00!" So he decided to compete the only way he knew how.

On opening day, amid the music, balloons and hoopla, townsfolk were lured to the new store with the fancy sign only to see ol'Joe had put up a new little sign of his own. Across the street from the new store, was a small 10" X 12" piece of white cardboard in ol'Joe's front window that simply said, WE FIX $3.00 HAIRCUTS!

In the end, ol'Joe prevailed.

This story is purported to be true but not new. Its telling serves to underscore the importance of understanding a few fundamental business facts:

? Having the Cheapest Price does not ensure success.

? Bigger and Newer? is not always best? and/or most profitable.

? Huge marketing budgets do not always crush the competition.

? Successful companies ? however basic ? are "Strategic!"

The computer reseller industry is a perfect example of this as both large and small 'IT-Providers' wrestle with new challenges introduced by the evolutionary changes in technology and the business landscape as a whole.

? Do resellers need the latest and greatest machineries/technologies to compete against the larger more formidable competitors?

? Where is the threshold between what resellers really need versus what they can afford / sustain - and still remain profitable?

? Where is the IT industry going to be in five years and do resellers understand how their company fits in? if at all?

All legitimate questions, to say the least. If it helps, resellers can take comfort in the fact, these same questions are being asked by entrepreneurs in just about every industry today.

Nonetheless, the question still remains, Are there any answers?

Successful 'profitable' resellers may not have all the answers, but they do have a strategy.

1- They have stopped trying to be all things to all people.

Successful resellers distinguish themselves by becoming specialists in one or maybe two areas. Simply put, we do not go to the foot doctor if our head hurts.

2- Their investment in technology follows two proven criteria:

a) Technology need only be current / not always leading edge?. Unless

b) The newer technology serves to clearly define their unquestioned expertise or "Unique Value-Add" to the marketplace. That is to say, to be different, one must differentiate. Sometimes ? but not always ? technology is the quintessential differentiator.

3- They offer a wider array of potential solutions to customers in spite of the fact, they specialize in only one or two areas. Their strategy? Strategic Alliances.

Successful resellers address customers' primary need to 'Keep it simple!' by presenting a One-Stop-Shop solution - but they don't go out of business providing it. Strategic alliances with other IT specialists ensure greater long term control and customer satisfaction by offering a "Solution-Sell" approach for all IT needs.

There is no question that in partnered solutions, some profit will be shared, however, some profit is always better than none at all. It is inarguably a small price to pay for the privilege of maintaining a close and mutually rewarding relationship with a good customer.

4- Successful resellers know that it takes, on average, five to eight times more time, money and effort to get a new customer [and/or employee for that matter] than it does to keep the ones they already have. A one-stop solution program designed to keep control of the customer, is integral, especially for building lasting and mutually rewarding relationships.

5- Successful resellers are proactive. They understand we live in a commodity-driven marketplace and the days are long gone when we could simply hang out our shingle and expect customers to beat a path to our door.

Whether it's mail drops, web-marketing, door-to-door canvassing or a blend of all three, a clear, long-term marketing strategy ? emphasizing an unmistakable expertise ? is essential to the success of any reseller in today's more competitive marketplace.

Few can argue the cunning in ol'Joe's strategy when faced with his formidable competition and there just might be a lesson or two resellers that could glean from ol'Joe's elemental approach.

I'm sure if ol'Joe were to pass along to resellers, a little sage advice, it may go something like this:

"Don't ever let yourself get too excited about the competition."

"You don't always need the biggest, the best, the newest or the cheapest, to compete."

"Work hard / work honest."

"Get a reputation for 'Standing-Out' by doing good work at what you do."

"Make friends with people in your industry for the times you need a partner."

"Treat people like they're special!? They like that? and that'll keep bringin' em back!"

Paul Shearstone aka The 'Pragmatic Persuasionist' is one of North America's foremost experts on Sales and Persuasion. As an International Keynote Speaker, Author, Writer, Motivation, Corporate Ethics, / Time & Stress Management, Recruiting Specialist, Paul enlightens and challenges audiences as he informs, motivates and entertains.

To comment on this article or to book the Pragmatic Persuasionist for your next successful event we invite to contact Paul Shearstone directly @ 416-728-5556, 1-866-855-4590, http://www.success150.com, paul@success150.com, or http://www.paulshearstone.ca.

Are Your Brochures Worth The Paper Theyre Printed On?

Brochures are one of the oldest marketing weapons in the business arsenal. And for... Read More

A Look at Color Brochure Printing

Brochures have become vital in today's workplace, serving a wide variety of purposes. Some are... Read More

How To Market Effectively Even If No One Understands What You Do

So how do you effectively market your product or service when one knows anything about... Read More

Directional (Not Direct) Marketing

Those who believe the web is not a direct response medium should think again. A... Read More

5 Great Ways to Reach Your Target Market

There are many ways to reach out and find the people you are trying to... Read More

Attracting Clients With Incremental Marketing

Do you ask prospective clients to go too far?Must your new clients take a "leap... Read More

Unique Gift Items ? 3 Creative Ideas

With promotional items there are standards: t-shirts, mugs, note cubes, calendars, magnets and keychains. Then,... Read More

5 Reasons Your Marketing Communication is Falling Flat

One of my associates sent me a promotional email she'd received. "I know this ... Read More

Niches - The Path to More Profits

Hey, as business owners we CAN'T be all things for all customers. I mean it... Read More

Meaning and Marketing - The Trigger

In previous articles under "Meaning and Marketing", we have learned about the verb "To Be"... Read More

Marketing and Advertising Techniques of Super Bowl Advertisers

Each year, advertisers with super sized budgets sink millions of dollars into Super Bowl advertising.... Read More

Where Are Your Leads Coming From?

Most B2B marketers spend a great deal of time analyzing the performance of their programs... Read More

Contrarian Marketing at Benettons

Perhaps, with apologies to Dale Carnegie, we should call this article: "How to make enemies... Read More

Data Map Charting for Mobile Businesses

As we study the demographic regional variations for small service businesses we see many things.... Read More

A Simplified Marketing Plan that Works!

When I started my first business in 1981, I researched business plans and marketing... Read More

Spring Cleaning: How To Do It In Your Business To Make More Room For Success

With the arrival of Spring, I decided to get outside and into my garden. I... Read More

How to Size an Emerging Market

In developing their business plans, companies of all sizes face the challenge of determining the... Read More

Generational Marketing

Having run a multi-state franchise company with multiple brands it became obvious to me early... Read More

The Easiest Marketing Plan Youll Ever Find

When it comes to marketing there's simply too many choices. I often find clients... Read More

Developing a Contact List- Part One

One of the most essential things to successful networking is your Contact List. When you... Read More

Always On Stage - 3 Quick Tips for Trade Show Exhibitors

Do you feel uncomfortable when you're in the trade show booth? Like folks are looking... Read More

Pre-Cleaning and Updating Addresses in Your Database

When you send a direct mail piece using the Addressed Admail reduced postage option, it... Read More

The Importance of Business Marketing

Business marketing is one of the most important parts that your business needs to... Read More

Mastering the ABCDs of Small Business Marketing & Selling

I believe that small business marketing and selling follows a certain flow. The pace... Read More

Building Credibility for Your Business

Small companies that rely on business-to-business sales often find it difficult to be seen as... Read More

Creating Your Future with a Marketing Plan

Almost everyone who dreams of starting their own business is familiar with the fact that... Read More

Learn How to Market Your eBusiness in Real Time: Dissect, Study, Emulate

Everything you will ever need to know about internet marketing is plainly available to... Read More

How to Take Your Law Firm to the Next Level

How to Take Your Law Firm to the Next Level Third in a series of... Read More

Marketing Yourself and Your Business to Thriving!

We all watch the commercials on TV. We hear them on the radio. We meet... Read More

Guerrilla Marketing in Action

Guerrilla Marketing is using time, energy and imagination to market a product, business or person... Read More

Is It Time To Revisit Your Marketing Strategy?

Small & Mid Sized Business owners, have you revisited your marketing strategy lately? Your... Read More

Fair Measures Corporation

A case study in online "thinking outside the box" The Fair Measures Corporation Web site,... Read More

Beyond the Booth

With the advent of spring, trade shows begin to blossom. Research suggests that tradeshows are... Read More

After Your Postcard Mailing: Follow Up with Finesse

I've heard a lot of people lament the fact that they just sent out a... Read More

Sales Resistance on the Rise

Have you noticed it? More and more marketing campaigns are going over the top.... Read More

8 Ways to Fill a Workshop in a Bum Economy

Yes, you can fill a workshop when spending is down and buyers are wary. If... Read More

Gaining Business Intelligence

A white paper on how companies should analyse customer data to gain better business intelligence... Read More

Marketing And Patience

"Get your positioning and your programs implemented properly, and the numbers will come. But you've... Read More

Direct Marketing: Overlooked, Underappreciated, and Unstoppable

Every business needs customers, but more importantly every business needs to maintain those customers while... Read More

Top 7 Ways to Get Your Products in the Hands of Celebrities

Celebrities are the tastemakers that drive brand awareness and usage. Celebrities drive the direction of... Read More

Principles of Marketing 101

Marketing results should be measured in only one way ? increased sales. Marketing should not... Read More

Loan Officer Marketing ? How Branding Shapes Your Prospects Perceptions

Social scientists have proven that people experience what they come to expect. It's like the... Read More

What Does Your Logo Color Say About Your Business?

And not only your logo, but also your website, your brochure, your business cards and... Read More

Spike TV - Know Your Audience

What do Klingons, giant rubber bands, and monster trucks all have in common? They hold... Read More

Postcard Direct Mail Marketing Works (Its Cheap, Quick, Affordable and More)

Used the right way and with the right audience, postcards often outperform their mailbox "competitors"... Read More

The Silver Bullet For Success: Revealed

Looking for the magic formula or the whiz-bang approach that will unlock your business success?... Read More

Target Market - 3 Big Reasons You Need To Know Yours

Rule Number One when writing marketing materials is "Know Your Target Market." There's a... Read More

Knowing When To Charge More and To Charge Less

More And MoreIt was notable that when I started my business twenty years ago, I... Read More

Newsletters - A Great Way to Build Business Relationships

This is an excellent way to grow your business using your mailing list (which I... Read More

Why Doubling Your Fees Can Increase Business: How Pricing Affects Buyers Decision Making Process

Want to know the simple way to get all the business you could ever handle?... Read More