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You’ve created the greatest thing since sliced bread and you’re ready to take the market by storm. Only one problem remains: Where are all your customers?

Unfortunately, customers won’t magically realize their need for the product and head your way. Instead, learn to appeal to a customer on his own turf. The number of ways to do this is now so vast it can be overwhelming. However, figuring out the right – and the wrong – ways to develop a successful sales channel may just lead your company to success.

Wait, who’s my customer again?

One of the biggest mistakes companies make when developing sales channels occurs when the companies fail to truly understand their target demographics. It’s crucial to step back and ask, “What type of person is going to benefit most from my product?” Once you realize who that person is, put yourself in his shoes:

  • Does my customer listen to NPR in order to stay sane on his daily commute? If that’s the case, then use radio advertisements or billboards.
  • Advertising on Facebook might be a beneficial route to take. Your customer already has it bookmarked so he can quickly check in once, twice, maybe ten times throughout the course of the day.
  • Should I look at creating T.V. ads and infomercials (if the budget allows) because my customer unwinds at night by watching “Dancing with the Stars?”

Whoever your target customer is, you have to understand not only what he wants, but also how he lives. You can then decide on the correct sales channels. If you need further help understanding your customer, sites like Quantcast.com can help you determine the size of your customer base and who’s a part of it. It’s crucial to understand your customer, so use the resources at your disposal.

Is it 5 o’clock yet? The wrong sales team

When it comes to your sales team, passion is everything. You need people who believe in the product, have the right attitude, and can think quickly on their feet. If your reps aren’t excited and ready to defend your product, then it’s unlikely that they’ll get anyone else excited about it anytime soon.

There are situations, when delegating, when you may want to consider someone else’s expertise. It can be extremely helpful for your company to outsource certain parts of the business to individuals who are more skilled than you are. This allows for you, as a business owner, to focus on the part of the company that makes it unique and special. However, be aware that in order to automate through outsourcing, you may lose a bit of control because you are entrusting a part of your business to an outside company or consultant.

You’re losing me here

Once you’ve decided on a sales channel, it’s not enough to just show up where your customer is; you have to get him to take notice. In order to do this, follow AIDA:

  • Attention: You must do something that’s going to make your audience stop and look. Be bold and take chances so you grab their attention.
  • Interest: Once you have your audience’s attention, show your customer what the benefit of the product is going to be for him, as well as the advantage it has over competitors’ solutions.
  • Decision: Leave no room for doubts in your customer’s mind. Convince him that he wants and needs your product.
  • Action: Compel your customer to take action and purchase your product.
  • But this is how we’ve always done it: Underdeveloping your sales channels

A solid sales channel is everything when it comes to your company’s success. “If you build it, they will come” doesn’t really work for most businesses. You have to tell them about it, too. A consistent way to funnel in new prospects, along with a great sales team, is crucial to converting those prospects into sales. However, be careful that you don’t get stuck by using only one sales channel. Think outside the box, test your channels, and try new ones in order to appeal to new prospects.

Our products are perfect!

It doesn’t matter how great your sales reps and products are, people are going to have questions and concerns. By not addressing and preparing for these questions ahead of time, you’ll quickly lose your customer. Ask yourself what objections your customer may have. Then, address the most common of these problems ahead of time within your messaging. Your chosen sales channel is the perfect place to address these concerns. People don’t like to wait around on answers. By doing this, you’ll have prepared yourself ahead of time when these objections arise, and you’ll make the decision to purchase easier on your clients.

You can’t be afraid of trying new things if you want customers to take notice of your company. Put yourself in prospects’ shoes, train your team to understand the customer, and prepare your campaign around him. In order for the customer to always be right, the sales channel has to be, too.

Published on August 28, 2012 on Business2Community magazine |IN BUSINESS, INTERNET MARKETING |BY PETER NGUYEN