In this blog I am delighted to be able to award the badge of Marketing Expert to all the nurseries that attended a big gardening show at the NEC in Birmingham in June. I decided to treat myself to a day out, looking around specially designed show gardens, collecting ideas and inspiration for my own garden.
As well as the show gardens to look at, there were also stands and displays from plant nurseries that had come to the event, from all around the country. The displays were wonderful – cleverly designed and packed with top quality plants. All the plants were labelled so that I could identify ones that I’d not see before or wasn’t sure of the name, or growing conditions required. These nurseries had set out their stalls to show what they could do.
Nothing special about that, you might think. The reason that I have awarded them Marketing Expert status is because each nursery also had a very well stocked stall right next to their display, where I could buy any, or all, of the plants that they were showing off in their displays. I could see a plant combination in a display and then go and find the exact plants to buy. As with the displays, all the plants for sale were clearly labelled with their price and there were many tempting show offers to be had. I could have spent a small fortune and come home laden with trolley-loads of new plants for my garden. In fact, many people where leaving the show with trolleys packed with plants. The nurseries where all very busy with customers.
Set Out Your Stall
If you’re a coach, consultant or trainer, what you sell, in the main, won’t be physical products. You might sell some books or workshops, but the majority of your sales and your income will come from selling a service. This means that you can’t set out your physical stall, as the nurseries did at the show, to let clients see exactly what they can buy from you. However, you still need to think about how you display and promote what you do. How easy is it for potential clients to see what they can buy from you? How enticing is your ‘stall’? How easy do you make it for prospects to actually buy from you?
When you’re selling a service, there are a number of elements to your ‘stall’. Your website needs to tell people not only what services they can buy from you, but also how they can buy from you. Too often I see websites where the contact details are hidden rather than on all the pages. I see others that are full of flowery, beautifully written marketing copy; and yet they don’t actually tell me what I can buy. Do you offer packages of coaching sessions? Can a prospect book a ‘discovery session’ or a ‘Planning Day’ with you as the first way of working with you? Or do you just sell ‘coaching’ or ‘consulting’? What does that look like and what will your clients really get from you?
Without showing prospects exactly what they can buy from you and how they can buy it, many visitors to your website will leave without buying from you, or without even contacting you to see if you can help them.
Your stall is also you – how you come across at networking meetings, what people hear from the stage when you’re delivering a talk and how you are when you’re speaking to prospects on the phone. Do you look and sound consistent? Does your sales table (the plants for sale) match up to your display (how they are presented)? Do you actually deliver what you say you’re going to deliver, or is your display just for show?
An effective way in which you can use visual marketing when promoting a service is through your personal branding. Do you have a specific style that people will recognise? You could choose a colour palette that matches your company branding, or just your favourite colour. You could decide to always wear a particular tie or style of shirt or jacket. I usually wear a short, tailored dress and a pair of boots when I’m out and about for business. It’s become the style for which I’m known and it helps me to stand out from all the other Marketing Consultants.
Show and Sell
Coaches, consultants and trainers will always find that word of mouth is one of their most effective marketing tools. When someone recommends you, they want to know that you’ll treat your prospects in the same way that you treat them and that you’ll look after that prospect. You need to live up to whatever hype they’ve told about you. You need to be consistent in your words, actions and deeds. If you’re not, or you start treating people differently, your clients will stop recommending you.
When you sell a service such as coaching, consulting or training, take a leaf (sorry!) out of the books of the successful nurseries and look for ways in which you can show off what you do, making it really simple for potential clients to do business with and you and become clients.
Who will be the Marketing Experts for O, P and Q? Get in touch if you have any suggestions or if you’d like to be featured because of the great marketing that you’re doing. Click here to email me or call me on 01635 578 500.