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community envolvement 

Guerrillas know well that people want to do business with friends instead of strangers if at all possible. You must have their insight that you dive into an ocean of friends with community involvement. You become involved with the community by helping it. It becomes involved with you by helping you. Marketers needs friends. From these friends come business associates, marketing partners, investors, employees, customers, prospects, suppliers and referrals.

Becoming involved with the community means more than joining clubs. It means contributing your brains and energy to the community. It means working hard to make your community a better place. You get to prove your conscientiousness and noble efforts with the work you do instead of the words you say.

One of the keys to marketing -- keeping it very personal, because the more personal the marketing the better -- is in establishing relationships through networking. And one of the richest sources of networking opportunities is the community. You serve on committees. You go to little league games. You help set up parades, holiday decorating programs, New Years Parties, other celebrations. People see you in action. They see that you’re a person of action, a person who keeps their word. So when you say something in a marketing context, they tend to believe you. When you make an offer, they know it’s not going to be bogus. You’ve proved yourself in the community.

There are wrong ways to demonstrate community involvement as well. If you volunteer to work on a committee but are never available for meetings, or if you sponsor a little league team and don’t show up for games, you’re proving yourself to be crass and superficial, probably sucking up the community to get business instead of working for it for altruistic reasons. Consumers are more sophisticated than ever these days. People know the difference between serving the community and serving yourself. If you’re not willing to devote honest time and energy to your community, you’re better off skipping this weapon and leaving it to the real guerrillas in your community. I just hope for your sake that none are your direct competitors. 

Your community is not merely defined by geography. Guerrillas become involved with their industrial community, though it may reach from coast to coast, or across the ocean. Digital communities are springing up all over the place as the world goes online. Whatever the size or scope of your community, the guerrilla rule remains the same: do unto others as they hope you will do unto them. As part of the community, they are hoping for your help, not your hype.

While you're involved with your community, be sure that you're attuned to their problems. Listen for the ouch. Guerrillas know that it's easier to sell the solution to a problem than to sell a positive benefit. That's why they position themselves as problem-solvers.

A well-known axiom of marketing has always been that it is much simpler to sell the solution to a problem than it is to sell a positive benefit. For this reason, guerrillas position their companies to be ace problem-solvers… especially during tough times.

They home in on the problems confronting their prospects, then offer their products or services as solutions to the problems. Almost all individuals and companies are beset with problems of one sort or another. Your job, as a right-thinking guerrilla, is to spot those problems. One of the ways to do this is through networking in your community.

Networking is not a time to toot your own trombone, but to ask questions, listen carefully to the answers, and keep your marketing radar attuned to the presence of problems. After learning them, you can contact the prospect and talk about the prospect's problems and your solutions to those nasty dilemmas.

You can also learn of problems that require solving at trade shows, professional association meetings, prospect questionnaires, and even sales calls.

As you already know, people do not buy shampoo; they buy clean, great-looking hair. That means selling a benefit. A way that some shampoos have achieved profits is by reassuring people that the shampoo cleans hair, then stressing that it solves the problem of unmanageable hair -- a benefit and a solution to a problem.

Right now, products and services that are enjoying success are those that help people quit smoking, lose weight, earn more money, improve health, grow hair, eliminate wrinkles, and save time. These are problem-solving products and services.

You can be sure that some of these can also be positioned as offerings that accentuate a positive, but savvy company presidents saw to it that their offerings were positioned as things that could eliminate a negative. Your biggest job is to be sure your products and services do the same.

Perhaps you'll have to undergo a major repositioning. That's not bad if it improves your profits. Far more doors will be open to you if you can achieve it.

Maybe you know right off what are the major problems facing your prospects. Your marketing should highlight these problems. Then it should offer your product or service as the ideal solution. If you don't know the problems, knock yourself out learning them. Regardless of the benefits you offer, realize that their importance is generally overshadowed by the problems confronting a prospect.

It's really not that difficult to position your offering as a problem-solver. But once you do, you'll find that the task of marketing and selling become a whole lot easier in a hurry. You'll have to examine your offerings in the light of how they affect your prospects. So what if they are state-of-the-art? That pales in comparison with their ability to reduce your prospect's overhead. So what if they are lower in price than they used to be? That's nothing compared with their ability to help your prospects combat loneliness.

Those prospects care about saving money, to be sure. But they care far more about feeling alone and unloved. If you can solve that problem for your prospects, buying what you sell will be very easy for them.

Prospects don't really care about your company; they care about their problems. If you can solve them, then prospects will care a great deal about your company, and they'll want to buy what you are selling.

Guerrillas lean upon case histories to prove their problem-solving acumen. They make certain to include in their marketing plan both the problem and the solution -- to guide those who create marketing materials from wandering off in the wrong direction.

Salestraining in guerrilla companies involves a discussion of problems, problem-spotting, problem discussing, and problem-solving. Sales reps learn the nature of prospect problems from one another. Sharing their insights helps the entire company.

Amazingly, even though this all makes sense, many companies are unaware of the importance of problem-solving. They're so wrapped up in the glories of their product or service that they are oblivious to how well it solves problems. So they sell features and neglect benefits. They sell the obtaining of positives instead of the eliminating of negatives.

Keep the concept of problem-solving alive in; your mind, your marketing materials, your sales presentations, and your company mission. Be sure your employees are tuned into the same wave length. Once this happens, I have a feeling that you're going to be one happy guerrilla.

Action Steps:

  1. Make a list of the community organizations where you live -- or online communities where you can become involved. Then, list the things you can do for the community. Don't offer to do anything that you can't accomplish with excellence.   So be selective.
  2. Make a phone call, send a letter, or send an email volunteering your services. Take the time to actually do it after you've completed this lesson. He who hesitates is not a guerrilla.
  3. Make a list of the problems that your business can solve. The longer your list, the more profits you'll earn during an economic downturn.
  4. Examine all of your marketing efforts, online and offline, to be sure you address your problem-solving skills. Make the necessary changes to ensure that you're putting those skills in front of your audience. Don't neglect the positive benefits you offer, but highlight your ability to solve problems.

About the Author

Bruce Doyle

Pioneer of the Business Coaching Industry in the late '90's, Guerrilla Marketing Master Trainer (personally mentor by Jay Conrad Levinson)

Global Business Coach of the Year Hawaii 2003, Author of 4 Business Books, Entrepreneur and Founder of UnlimitedBusiness.com

Bruce has worked with 1000's of Business Owners over the past 20 years plus he's owned and operated over 30 Businesses across a range of industries. His focus is teaching business owners how to dramatically GROW PROFITS and GET MORE FREEDOM IN THEIR LIVES. 

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