Puppy Dog Selling Still Works

puppy dog selling

Creating word pictures is a writer’s stock in trade. Everyone knows the difference between a pushy used car sales pitch and a low-key “let me know if I can help you” approach. But, what about the “no sell” tactic?

Marketing techniques have changed drastically with the digital age. Everyone knows that too. It’s all about conversion rates, traffic to the site, time spent on a page, color and graphics. Customers are more savvy, buyers are more discerning, price point is all important, online checkout must be fast and easy to navigate. It doesn’t matter what the product, if the online experience isn’t good, there will be no sale. Buyers already have their minds made up before they visit a website; it’s all about the extras that the company offers.

Really? Is that all true? Is any of it true?

In today’s digital marketplace, sometimes it’s difficult to know what motivates a buyer to proceed to checkout. It can be subtle. Oh, we know that certain colors, and placement on the page, and specific words can push a buyer in the right direction. And, digital shoppers are savvy; they are often in a hurry as well. Sometimes they are ready to buy even before your logo appears on the screen. Occasionally, shoppers are browsing and will buy only when they’re good and ready, thank you very much!

What’s a business to do?

Maybe, just maybe, adopt the puppy dog philosophy.

Don’t sell. 

No blazing lights, no banners, no specials, no discounts, no sales. None of it!

Sydney Barrows, writing for Entrepreneur Magazine, suggests modeling the Puppy Dog Close of the old days of sales and marketing techniques, when sales staff met customers face to face. It may be more difficult to introduce puppy dog selling to online customers, but some principles can apply, and SMBs can adopt other techniques to establish trust, to generate interest and to confirm buyer intent.

Customers have always been interested in service. Customers like reliability, straight talk and clear information. If, as a small business, you hire a freelance writer to “tell your story,” consider concentrating on these aspects of your business. Instill confidence. Show potential customers what their life will be like when they buy your product, use your service, or sign a contract with your firm. Give them good reason to buy, but don’t talk about buying in a blatant fashion.

Customers also appreciate general information, and many studies have shown that they trust other customers, often to a greater extent than the company itself. So, enlist the help of satisfied customers. Tell their stories, and highlight the benefits.

Marketing may have changed with the advent of computers. But, people have not changed so much that they won’t respond to some tried and true marketing practices. Puppy dog selling is not a step into the past. Instead, it can be a path to a better future for you and your company.

Adrienne C says that she probably couldn’t sell a sandwich to a hungry millionaire, but when it comes to trying something for free, she’s a real pushover. Just don’t offer her a puppy because she knows that trick!


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