A key question is whether your goods/services require personal delivery? For non-personal delivery to recipients you need partners/associates to help distribution and sales. For personal services delivery to recipients, you need 1)exposure of your services/goods to potential clients/customers, 2) participation in groups that can help to provide you with leads or that complement your products/services - that provide alternative avenues for client contact and/or distribution and 3) face-to-face performance aimed at client satisfaction and that will serve as credability for future business. Your question needs to be more specific.
Simon - you've gotten some great input from all theses comments which suggests there is no one path or theory to successfully marketing anything. So you have to chose one that "fits" your plan or your culture, and execute it.
I prefer to lead out with a value offer that I know or strongly believe will identify a greater need ("pain point") in the prospect. If they move forward with our solution to there pain point great. We deliver great service and build the P2P (people-to-people) aspect of our business. This is how you create the opportunity to ask for a referral.
However if the prospect chooses not to hire us to solve their pain, or the pain isn't yet great enough for them to act, we want the value offer we gave to have had a positive benefit to them. When that pain point becomes too great to bear they will hopefully remember who tried to help them solve it earlier and call us. You just never know.
Selling somebody anything happens when their problem/need/pain/desire forces them to seek a solution. The solution which is top of mind at that moment, or can get there quickly, will likely get the deal. Therefore your message has to always be in front of them and value always what you lead with,
Check out Amara Rose's post below as a perfect example. She's adding value to the entire group here and specifically to you as her answer to your question. She has given you (and me!) value without any expectation of immediate return. But she's now known to you and anyone who is tracking this thread so if they ever need marketing services she has shown her willingness to bring value early.
Hope this helps...
It is usually known as Sales & Marketing in that order for a reason. Marketing without a selling process is like a can of tuna without a can opener...nice to look at on the shelf but not very useful.
Theory becomes reality when you take action. What's your plan and how does it translate into implementable actions that can be tracked?
Attend and join a mastermind where you have access to strong and positive feedback, and look for the format you need as you will get feedback from -been there, done that, real time information with focused direction all looking to help you. No selling. Good luck. I run one for women, The Moxie Exchange Movement in New Jersey. This is what you need and here we follow a format to get down to biz, masterminds are a fantastic tool for everyone. Gayle
Who is your target and what are you selling? I would be able to help if you gave me a little background of your product etc.
I suggest you start with local Chambers of Commerce and find out about any networking events they host to get your name out there and meet those that you feel would benefit from what you have to offer. I also suggest that you study the correct and most effective way to network. A good read is Endless Referrals by Bob Burg. You may also want to go to meetup.com and research meet up groups that fit your industry or groups that you feel could benefit from your product or service and join those groups to attend any of their events. This is the best way to build a good contact base.
There is no one "best way." There are a bunch of ways. Turn yourself into your own marketing client:
What are you trying to do?
What are the best ways to do that?
Who is available to assist you?
What is your budget?
What is your timeline? (Need a timeline!)
What is working? What is not? (Drop items that are not working.)
What are you metrics for success? (How will you know when you're successful?)
I have been in marketing and public relations for 30 years. Good luck,
Sales conversion, and being present (brand presence/dominance) in the sell-to markets you wish to approach is critical. Engaging consumers of your products, services, or professional services with their intrinsic needs in mind ... not yours.
A scalable platform with social integration is part of your critical path, to gain real traction, engaging those with true buyers intent, versus social 'browsers' etc.
Innovate Products/Services across the entire horizontal value streams of new product/service development(aligned with VOC/Minimum Marketable Value Proposition Model with a competitive edge),fulfillment,post delivery throughout the entire product/service life cycle as a perpetual differentiator. There are no short cuts to perpetual value addition but there are only enablers.
Align & adopt with Technological changes faster than your targeted customer groups/markets/competition.
Use data for strengthening & fine tuning your marketing strategies/approaches.
Of course be cautious as some companies claim to offer big data crunching & munching to deliver ROI.
Just a thought.