We all make assumptions in our business lives. Seldom do we have the full picture so educated guesswork helps us make decisions and act.

No harm in this as long as we’re clear what’s an assumption and what’s not.

This week, I saw a few instances where assumptions were problematic in sales and marketing. I thought I’d dedicate this Bulletin to them as they are familiar tropes and worth avoiding.

1. I don’t like it

Also known as an anecdotal logical fallacy, I see this one all the time:

“I never open marketing emails so they don’t work”
“Facebook is just for kids isn’t it?”

You get the idea. While you can only see the world from behind your eyes, it doesn’t mean it looks like that for everyone else.

This can lead you to ignore marketing tactics that would help your firm. Counter this completely natural tendency with data, reading and research and getting to know your ideal client inside out.

2. They won’t like it

Switching to sales, now and again someone in my team will look at the website of a firm that has booked a demo with Bizink and if it looks good, assume we can’t help them.

Big mistake!

Firstly, why did they book a demo if they are happy with their current provider? What you see on the surface might mask shoddy customer service or a hard-to-use product.

Secondly, back yourself that your product or service is better.

To overcome this one, ask curious questions in sales meetings:

“How’s it going with your current provider?”
“What do you feel you are missing?”
“What does your ideal situation look like?”

Actually, one of my favourite ways to open a sales meeting is simply: “Why did you book the meeting?”

You’ll be surprised how often that appearance doesn’t match reality and the prospect reveals a bunch of issues which of course you can hopefully solve.

3. They’ve seen it

Repetition is one of the most important and underused tools in your accountants’ marketing toolkit.

Most firms I chat with have poor adoption (number of services per client) yet avoid sending regular marketing. The reason for not doing marketing is often “we’ve already told clients about that and don’t want to bother them”.

When I dig deeper, the client may have been sent one email many months ago. The assumption is that clients take notice of everything you send. Your biggest challenge is getting them to take notice at all.

Even if they took notice – did they act? People typically take several “touches” before they take action.

Never assume your marketing has hit home unless you’re making sales. It’s important to repeat campaigns, often across different media, to see real results.

4. It must be good

Big brands make lots of money so it makes sense to copy their marketing right?

Wrong – and this assumption will really hurt you. Big brands have totally different marketing objectives. They might be happy to spend millions to raise brand awareness where you might want just one quality client per month. Different goals – different tactics.

Also, don’t assume big brands always get it right. As the famous quote goes, “Half my advertising spend is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

Some businesses do well despite their marketing. They have just built up such huge reputations in the past.

If you’re looking to copy marketing ideas (which I fully endorse!) then following the lead of successful firms similar to yours makes the most sense.

5. Looks good is good

Somewhat related to my last point, when firms have flashy websites and social media, people seem to assume they are doing great marketing.

But it can be a surface veneer that hides a lack of substance.

A lot of great marketing is invisible. For example, a partnership that delivers you regular leads or an amazing upsell process to clients. Most likely you’d actively hide those things from competitors.

The assumption to avoid here is that flashy firms are doing something you can’t with their marketing. I know the client numbers of some firms that have a big social media presence and they are nothing special. On the flip side, I know firms with a bang average digital presence that have big client numbers and profits.

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