One of the major marketing sins is asking for the sale too early. A premature ask kills the sale and aPhotos of two clock for timing in marketingny future confidence your prospect might have in you and your business.

There are effectively two clocks in any sale; the salesperson’s and the prospect’s.  The salesperson tends to think things are happening too slowly; while the prospect thinks they happen too quickly.  By synchronising the two, you can achieve the best results.

Many companies look to engage with a marketing person when their sales are down and they want a quick-fix. I covered last week why this isn’t feasible.  This aspect of asking too early always takes place when someone is looking for a quick fix but it seems to happen often in general.

You can see it occur most obviously at networking events when someone comes up to you and starts pitching their product or service. While they might not directly ask, it is certainly heavily implied. I think it is so apparent at networking events as people simply shouldn’t be selling at all! If this where the case, it would be called a selling event.

However, I’m sure you’ve come across this same phenomena in sales meetings. Partly because many sales courses try to teach the mantra of Always Be Closing! There is nothing more off-putting than a pushy salesperson and while this approach might have worked 40 years ago it certainly doesn’t work today.

This is a blog about marketing and the same thing happens in promotional material although it is less slightly less obvious.

There is a simple rule at work here:

The more money and/or commitment you are asking for-

the more you have to do before mentioning the sale.

Let me explain. I’ve recently been receiving e-mails for half-day workshops on a range of topics. They cost around £149 and each one is given by a different speaker in his or her field.

These are excellent examples of asking for the sale too early because:

  1. I did not sign up for these e-mails.
  2. I don’t know anything about the company organising these events.
  3. I don’t recognise the speakers. The e-mail gives a little biography on them but that’s all.
  4. There are some testimonials but these are all immediate post event ones, i.e. they all say great things about the speaker and the workshop but there is no reference to how well they did after they went back to work and tried to apply it.
  5. There is not much information on the workshop beyond a bullet point agenda.
  6. There is no effort to overcome any objections you may have.

Most companies would find it a costly gamble to give up half a day and £149 for something they know little about. Most people need far more information before being asked to buy.

I think this needed a completely different approach. I find that even for a free event you need quite a bit of justification to get people to give up their time.

I think each of these workshops needed a sequence of short e-mails with links to landing pages which included a full “sales letter” page that dealt with all the objections and gave links to a set of case studies, lots of information about the company organising them, a page of before and after testimonials with photos of people in the workshop and so on.

These could then be promoted heavily using SEO, social media, e-mail and even direct mail and telemarketing.

This would have ensured that people had all the information they needed before being asked for the sale.

Have a look at your marketing and see if you can apply this simple principle.