What eating a sandwich in front of your dog can teach you about marketing

Ever sat at your kitchen table, about to take a bite out of a yummy sandwich worthy of Dagwood, only to look over and see those eyes?

You know the ones I’m talking about.  They’re big.  Dark.  A little watery.  And they don’t blink.

They’re the dog’s.

And you know what he’s thinking (assuming he does it in actual words): “Wow. Look at that. You’re gonna share some of that … right?”

(As uncomfortable as this scenario might be for you, though, think about how the dog feels.)

So, what does this have to do with marketing?

When you’re cold-calling prospects, mailing them your brochure, assailing them with your elevator speech at networking events, you’re the dog.  Your prospects have something you want — their time, attention, contacts, money — and there you are with your puppy dog eyes, begging for a bite, a scrap, anything.

If they’re reluctant to return your calls or give you face time, is it any wonder?  Rather than be confronted with your need to make a sale, they’re going to hide.

But what if you could be the one with the sandwich?

What “the sandwich” is not.

The sandwich in this analogy is not, contrary to popular belief, your product or service.  It’s a harsh truth, but it’s truth nonetheless: nobody cares about your “solution.”  They don’t care about your awards, your industry accolades, or your certifications.

They just need help – help with tough decisions, uncertain times, and demanding bosses.  And, if you’re smart, you’ll provide it.

Marketing that “pulls” rather than “pushes”

Now that prospects have taken to hiding behind email, voice mail, and assistants, you have to find something that attracts them to you.  Your marketing collateral has to deliver real value to them, whether they ever buy anything from you or not. (Some people say that’s not fair.  But, like it or not, it’s how things are.)

What do I mean by “real value”?  Here are some examples:

Case studies. Prospects in virtually every industry crave “success stories” from customers like yours.  This isn’t just feel-good fluff — properly targeted, these stories serve as ammo managers can use to justify your solution to their superiors.  There’s also a psychological explanation for their popularity: prospects reading the story of how your client successfully used your product or service can’t help but imagine themselves in your client’s place.  That puts them that much closer to becoming your client in real life.

White papers, technical briefs, etc. At some point, decision makers will ask their subordinates to research and evaluate potential solutions.  Demonstrating thought leadership and attention to detail with people at this level may mean the difference between getting your foot in the door and being left off the short list.

Blogs, press releases and e-newsletters. Don’t be naive: someone curious about your product or service isn’t going to pick up the phone and call you for details.  They’re going to Google you first.  Be ready for them with search engine optimized web content.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but it’s enough to illustrate the point.  Nowadays, you can’t just state your value proposition.  You have to demonstrate it — over and over and over again.

Doing this takes a whole new mindset.  A different tone.  And a lot of determination.

It also takes some knowledge.  And that part I can help you with.

Reaching the Marketing Resistant Prospect is a free 13-part e-course that will teach you to create marketing content that prospects not only welcome, but demand.  Armed with these tools, you can position yourself (and your product/service) as a trusted resource, rather than an unwanted interruption.

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Photo credit: CarbonNYC via Flickr (Creative Commons license)

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  1. I love this analogy Deborah. “You’re the dog” 🙂

    Your examples are great. Giving clients things to help them understand return on investment is always a good way to increase authority and to shorten the sales cycle.

  2. Perfect Analogy!! I love it!

    Once you teach a company how they are actually going to “make money” on their investment by using a product or service that you offer, they are much more responsive as you introduce them to new products or services.

    It’s similar to the Pavlov’s dog response – only in business. Great Post!!

  3. Absolutely! YOU need to be the one with the sandwich. It’s challenging, because there are some folks out there offering some pretty stale sandwiches, and some that have shiny wrappers but not much inside, but if you provide REAL value, folks will take notice.

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