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L.L. Bean Is Making A Big Mistake

L.L. Bean Is Making A Big Mistake

The Fact

L.L. Bean has eliminated its beloved lifetime return policy on its famous boots. The company said that the guarantee had grown too costly. Now it’s going to discover that ending it could cost even more. It’s getting expensive, although Bean charged a premium for its boots, because people are abusing the policy, as people are wont to do, and taking advantage of a successful business. Even usually trustworthy individuals are looking to scam businesses today.

Spiker Insight

The Bean move is short sighted. They have two types of customers: 1. The Lifer, the evangelist, they purchase Bean gear not only for themselves, but their kids, grandchildren and business associates. 2. Fraudsters, by contrast, are the real problem. They are not using Bean products themselves, and they certainly aren’t buying them for family. They find Bean products through third parties and attempt to cash in a refund.

What Bean really needs is a return policy that separates the Lifers from the Fraudsters. I wouldn’t think this would be too difficult to do with their database. So by doing a little more work internally, Bean could save money by eliminating Fraudsters and build their brand evangelists business even more. But by lumping them all together, I’m afraid the opposite effect of making or saving money is going to happen by disenchanting their best customers

Married at First Sight Doesn’t Work

Married at First Sight Doesn’t Work

The Facts

Have you watched Lifetime Network’s “Married at First Sight?” If you’re unfamiliar, the premise is singles yearning for a life-long partnership agree to a provocative proposal and get legally married to a stranger the moment they first meet. The couples don’t meet until they walk down the aisle and see each other face-to-face, for the first time, at the altar. No courtship, no romance, just like the days of pre-arranged weddings between families, usually with a shotgun involved.

Spiker Insights

Marketers, think about this. No second meeting to see if the other party truly meets your needs as an agency partner or a customer you want living right next door to you. Just because they have the money, doesn’t mean they are right for your project and being your next-door neighbor. Would you really go next door to borrow a cup of sugar from someone you don’t know?

Sales is meant to be done the old fashioned way — with courtship, wooing and discovering if you are a match, so you both can move forward in developing a mutually benefiting relationship.

Agencies have the pedigree, and the pretty pictures, but what marketer is going to agree to the provocative idea of conducting one conversation and then being contractually hitched? Just because they are a great brand doesn’t mean it all falls together after the first meeting. Play the field. It’s amazing what you may find out there.

 

How Does Branding Differ From Marketing?

How Does Branding Differ From Marketing?

The Facts

We see a ton of confusion on this issue when meeting with prospective clients, so we thought we would attempt to clean it up here. A “brand” is an expression of the core values of a company, or even an individual, like a politician. A brand reveals the fundamental reason for its existence, and how it differs from others in the category, and the experience you will enjoy when using this product.

Marketing is having your brand seen in the right places by the right people who are a match to your brand based on their past purchasing habits, demographics and psychographics of those whose values match your brand’s values. What is their residence zip code, what credit cards do they use, where do they like to take a vacation, what is their choice of automobile, which media do they listen to or read to get their news or to entertain themselves?

Spiker Insights

It’s relatively simple. A “Brand” comes first and “Marketing” flows from the brand’s reason for its existence. Don’t get this backwards, marketing is promoting your brand in the right place to the right people at the right time so your prospects will identify with it and feel compelled to purchase your brand.

Marketing is where Creativity comes in in spades. You need to be fascinating in today’s cluttered marketplace to even be noticed. So step outside your comfort box and show the world what your brand stands for and how their experiences with you will make it all worthwhile to spend their hard-earned money with your brand, not just today, but in the future.

 

Why Sales Reps Spend So Little Time Selling 

Why Sales Reps Spend So Little Time Selling 

The Facts

A recent article in Forbes addressed this issue on time management in a study they did showing how little of their salespeople’s time is spent in actual selling. Here is the bottom line: Sales reps are only spending one-third of their time selling. This just can’t happen. Creative people create, production people produce, and sales people sell. That’s the way I was trained and educated.

Spiker Insights

Let me put this in dollars and cents. The average sales rep is paid $105,482 a year. If, as they reported, 64.8% of the sales rep time is spent on non-revenue generating activities, the typical company spends $68,352 per rep per year to pay him or her for tasks they were not hired to do. That’s a lot of coin for administrative issues, and it’s got to stop.

It’s not that reps don’t want to spend more time selling, they tell Forbes. It’s just they struggle to get through “the crap.” What is all this crap that is taking the bulk of their sales time? I don’t know about you, but it’s our job as managers and owners to fix this to make it easier for reps to sell. Sales is a complicated profession, and based on this data, the 35.2% of time reps spend selling is leading to just 53% achievement of their quota revenue goals.

We need to be asking our sales reps “How easy are we to work with?” and hear them out.