The type of reverse marketing I am referencing here can be thought of as indirect marketing. You may also want to think of this method as a reverse approach to generating sales. With an indirect approach, your goal is to attract customers or potential business partners to you, without you having to directly ask them for their business. The desired result is having individuals requesting your service, instead of you making your pitch.
As you probably already recognize, people love to spend, but they don’t enjoy being sold to. Consider this, consumers are making purchases every day, however, not too many like to sit around and chat with a pushy sales person. How frequently do you walk into a retail store, are approached by a sales clerk asking how they can help you? Now, how often do you respond by letting them know, you are just looking? The truth is, you’re not just looking, you are there to buy something, but don’t want to be bothered. You want to buy on your terms without added pressure. This is where reverse marketing becomes a brilliant strategy.
How Does An Indirect Approach Equate To Reverse Marketing?
As I noted, the majority of customers do not want to be pressured into purchasing things. Also bear in mind the fact that people love it when they can claim new ideas. Plus, doesn’t it just feel good when you are the one responsible for making smart decisions and getting good deals? So what exactly am I talking about here? The most successful sales associates are those that understand human nature. Let me share an illustration of a reverse marketing or indirect sales approach.
Result of Not Using Reverse Marketing
You have a product that you market that solves a common problem. The statistics tell you that at least 7 in 10 people are affected by this issue. You not only know the numbers, but you personally know people who complain about this problem openly. The typical sales person will approach that person directly and share all the wonderful benefits of their product. They will also proceed to tell that person how their product will help to solve their personal problem. Lastly, the average sales person asks everyone they know to buy the miracle product. Guess what happens in most cases like this? The sales person is met with resistance, usually followed up with the standard response…”let me think about it.” Now let’s explore the indirect or reverse marketing scenario, using the identical product example.
Result of Using Reverse Marketing
Rather than asking a person to try or buy from you, you reverse the pitch. It sounds somewhat like this. “Hi Mary, you probably haven’t heard, but I just started a promoting a new product in the XYZ field, and am doing some market research, and I was hoping you would be able to help me out with something.” Give her time to answer. Usually if you ask a friend for help, most people won’t deny you that request and will probably answer affirmatively. “Mary, I understand this doesn’t apply to you personally, but my market study is in need of people who are suffering from ABC issues, who can participate in a product test, for the purpose of testimonies. Since this is a pretty common problem Mary, who do you know that has complained about these types of issues?” This reverse marketing or indirect approach eliminates the sale from the process. In reality, you did not pitch anything to Mary, or ask her to test, trial, or buy something from you at all. With this reverse marketing approach, Mary isn’t even a consideration. Let’s get back to the example. If Mary truly is dealing with the issues you mentioned, the door is now opened as she voluntarily provides you with information.
Proceed With Caution – Do Not Reverse the Reverse Marketing Strategy
This is a crucial time in the example. This is the time when inexperienced business owners get excited and their indirect reverse marketing approach unravels. Most people will begin to sell Mary on the product. When you do that, the wall will come up, and Mary will turn cold in a hurry. What you must do at this point is resist the temptation to tell Mary too much about your product. Telling is selling, and selling will reverse this method. Instead, just ask Mary a few questions about her problem in very basic terms. Don’t be dramatic in your responses either. It may sound something like this. “I didn’t realize that Mary, tell me more.” Give her time to expand on her problem, keeping your response limited to mainly confirm for Mary that you are paying attention. Next respond with your intended question “Mary, I don’t know if this will help you at all, although if you would help me out by participating in my test, we will discover together what it does for you and how you respond to it. Will you help me Mary?” Of course Mary will help you out, because she could also be helping herself at the same time!
The reason the indirect reverse marketing approach works so well, is because it is founded on pure human nature, as illustrated, Mary willingly participated. It was her idea, as she brought it to your attention. You didn’t have to sell Mary anything.
The Indirect Reverse Marketing Close
When the person begins to ask for more information about the product or what to expect, reply very succinctly. Avoid getting into a lengthy conversation with her about the details. If you engage in providing more details, you fuel further questions, and more details leads to paralysis of analysis. Giving people too much to think about again reverses your reverse marketing approach. A best practice for this situation is to have a piece of literature with you that you can give with the product. Preparation allows you to address their concerns, without having to get involved with a sales presentation. Respectfully explain to the person that you don’t want to bias their trial with details. It will be of greater benefit to approach the trial without preconceived ideas, so you both can get a true measure of how it is working.
Always follow your reverse marketing approach with close follow up. You’ll need to stay in touch with people in order to document their results. The indirect approach gets the product into your customer’s hands, but the final sale is determined by your follow up.