Sell it like it is

Jim Bierfeldt

Jim Bierfeldt is the founder and chief strategist at Logistics Marketing Advisors, a marketing firm that helps logistics businesses define and communicate their value, and then translate that value into revenue.

Does your logistics business have an inferiority complex?

Any Seinfeld fans out there?

In one episode, the hapless George Costanza believes his life could not possibly get any worse. He concludes that, if he does the exact opposite of what his instincts suggest, things could only get better.  George-costanzaSo when he spots an attractive woman at a restaurant lunch counter, “opposite George” does what real George would never do, he goes up to the woman and says, “My name is George. I’m unemployed and I live with my parents.”

The woman turned, smiled invitingly and said, “I’m Victoria.  Hi.”

George was completely honest in attempt to get the attention of an attractive woman, and it worked.

Why?  Because admitting a downside implies that there’s an upside (in George’s case, self-confidence, frankness, honesty).

Some logistics companies have an inferiority complex. They focus too much on their weaknesses and not on their unique strengths, and they inflate their capabilities in these weaker areas. The rationale: they want to remain open to as many sales opportunities as possible.

My suggestion: Sell it like it is.

Market and sell to your strengths.  Focus on a value proposition you can pay off.  That logistics value proposition can be aspirational (maybe 100% of the pieces are not in place yet), but must be believable.

Then shrink your target market.   Yes, shrink your market.

Narrow your focus to a smaller set of prospects that align best with this value proposition.  And when you talk to “the market,” talk forcefully and directly to just this select group. On your website. Your social media sites.  Everywhere.

When you try to appeal to everyone, your message gets watered down.  And even if you get the attention of a company that wants something you would struggle to offer, it’s probably not business you’ll win anyway.

At the risk of sounding like Dr. Phil (I can’t believe I’m going to say this), you’ve got to feel good about yourself before you can engage in meaningful relationships outside your company.  (Yikes, that did sound bad).

In life, people who try to convince others that they’re something they’re not are called “phonies.”  In business, companies who do the same are mistakenly said to be “marketing.”

Marketing is about bringing the right sellers and buyers together for mutual benefit.  Your company is not a perfect choice for everyone.  But it likely is perfect for a focused group of buyers who want and need things you are uniquely qualified to deliver.

Don’t pretend, in your marketing, to be something you’re not and never will be. Celebrate what makes your logistics business different and then market only to those who appreciate that difference.

Sometimes you need to shrink your market in order to grow.  


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