Written by: Ram Parthasarathy
About the author:
Managing Director | Chief Executive Officer | Dynalec Controls Pvt. Ltd. | Automotives | Manufacturing | Engineering
In the hustle to sell, the aspect of professional ethics in marketing is often overlooked. However, this is a critical element if one wishes to achieve consistent success in marketing.
Professional ethics in any field demands that we be honest and truthful with the customer and with ourselves. We should neither overstate the merits of our product nor undermine or run down a competitor’s product.
The customer today is very discerning, has access to a huge volume of data, and can and will verify any statements you make. If it is found that your statements are false or exaggerated, that will go against you. This is similar to the due diligence that companies do when contemplating a new hire.
It is therefore very important that we prepare our pitch accurately and factually. There is no harm in highlighting features of one’s own product, but care should be taken not to over hype it. A matter of fact presentation of the merits of the product will usually be successful. While doing so, it is important to project a feeling of confidence and conviction, without actually verbalizing it.
To illustrate, many of you may have seen an advertisement for a PDF scanner app on Linkedin, where a pretty lady takes photos of documents and converts them to pdf. The major focus of the advertisement is on the pretty lady in the tight dress, rather than on the features of the app. Please scroll down and see the number of trolls this advertisement received. Not one positive comment.
So, focus on your product, not on side issues, describe it clearly and accurately, and, very importantly, spell out what value it will add to your customer. The customer is always looking for value for money. It is up to you as a marketing professional to spell out that value clearly, without exaggeration at any point during your pitch.
Some customers will ask your opinion of a competitor’s product. Your response should be something like “I don’t know much about it but I’m sure it’s a good product”. Even if you want to say that the competitor’s product is inferior, you should let your tone and body language say it rather than your words. This will drive home your professionalism in the eyes of the customer, and raise your esteem in their eyes, helping you to clinch the deal.
Looking at the barrage of visual inputs in the media today, there is always a tendency, especially among younger marketing professionals, to resort to hype, flashy Power Points, snazzy dressing, at the cost of content. Please try to resist this urge. The customer is inevitably going to see through it, and if you lack good content, you are unlikely to win the deal.
Some of the same rules that apply to life in general apply to marketing as well. Values are important, and they should come across to the customer during your presentation.
To sum up, tell the truth, tell it positively, and don’t ever lie or exaggerate during a sales pitch.