I Am Number Four (Not The Film!)

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This is not a word-for-word transcript, but is essentially the same content.

Anyone who is in business is automatically in Sales, Marketing and Customer Relations. If you’re not into all these three, you aren’t really in business. Sales and Marketing are closely related. You could call Marketing the Strategy and Sales the Tactics. I’m going to lump them together here and attempt to describe four types of Sales and Marketing approaches, which are:

  1. Number FourFishing.
  2. Slash-and-burn farming.
  3. Sustainable farming.
  4. Trading.

1.         Fishing.

I lump fishing, hunting and trapping together here. The sort of fishing most sales and marketing people do is fishing with a rod, or, more specifically, fishing with a hook. I have been told time and time again to make my offerings sweeter, to use good bait, to use lures that will attract people to my hook. Of course, having good bait and good lures isn’t enough. You have to know the characteristics of the type of fish you want, the time of day or night to fish for it and the weather and sea conditions when it’s best for you to land a catch. Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t appreciate being hooked if I’m a customer or a client. So I tend not to use this sort of sales and marketing tactic. Hunting and trapping are similar to fishing with a rod, just that you don’t need a hook because the prey is more easily recovered.

2.         Slash-and-burn farming.

In slash-and-burn farming, tracts of land, usually jungle, are cleared and burnt so that the soil would be fertile enough for one or two harvests. In a tropical rain forest type of environment, the soil nutrients are washed away by the next torrential rain. Much effort is required to work the ground if one wishes to grow more crops on the same tract of land. In this type of sales and marketing, lip service is paid to developing relationships with clients and customers. The level of relationships developed is good enough for only one or two transactions, after which the clients and customers tend to leave for other providers. The sales and marketing effort similarly moves on to find other clients and customers.

3.         Sustainable farming.

This is what an increasing number of people tend to think of when they think of sales and marketing. Farming is non-threatening and brings pictures of bountifulness for everyone, including the farmer. However, in real life, farmers tend to become exploited and taken for granted by everyone else. I used to think that this was the sort of sales and marketing that I do. Is this your style? Do you keep producing good stuff but get paid peanuts for your goods? Well, all of us need to go a step further.

4.         Trading.

A logical extension to the concept of farming is trading. Trading assumes that two parties involved in a transaction are producing entities, and that each is producing something that the other needs or wants. There is a fair exchange of value, and the value of that exchange is impressed upon both parties in the transaction. Both parties actively look out for what makes the other successful and contribute to that success in the full knowledge that it contributes to their own success as well. One other aspect of a trader is that he is constantly on the lookout for great value and constantly brings in goods and services that he himself may not be producing, but which he is able to procure, offering them up for trade as well.

So, if you ask me what sales and marketing style I adopt, I would say I am Number Four – a trader. Aspects of each style do overlap, of course, but since words are important in influencing our thoughts and actions, I choose to be a trader. What about you?

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