Gravity governs the world of larger objects and is the least understood of the four fundamental forces. Even so, it provides a good metaphor for those that bother to learn about it to improve their sales.
What is gravity?
In grade school, many of us learned that Sir Isaac Newton started thinking about the law of gravity when an apple fell on his head. Although gravity cannot be seen with the human eye, it is a very real force. This becomes obvious when people slip and fall, drop something that breaks on the ground, or get hit on the head by a falling object. While people can perceive these effects of gravity, scientists are not sure what it is. We see objects fall down or toward a large object, but unlike other forces, scientists have not found an opposing force that can repel a falling object. This and other characteristics make gravity perhaps the most mysterious of the known forces. Even so, we can measure it, and make predictions based on it.
Gravitational force equation
The gravitational force between two objects is described by the equation...
F = G(m1m2)/d2, where F is the gravitational force, m1 and m2 are the masses of the two objects, d is the distance between the objects, and G is the gravitational constant.
Selling and gravitation
Relating this concept to selling, m1 is the size or importance of a particular prospect, m2 relates to the impact of your company and products on the marketplace, and d is the metaphorical distance between you and your target audience. The force of attraction between your product and prospect is proportional to the importance of your prospect (m1) and the combined mass of your company and product brands (m2), and it is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between you and your prospect (d2). Since you don't have control over the mass, or importance, of your prospect (other than you can choose to target companies of sufficient mass), you have some control over the mass of your company and products and you are able to keep the distance between you and your prospect as small as possible. As the distance doubles, the attraction is four times weaker. As it triples, it is nine times weaker. If the distance goes up by a factor of 10, the attraction decreases by a factor of 100! This means that in order to make a bigger impact on your target audience, you need to keep the distance between you and your prospects as small as possible while you make your products and company as important (or massive) as possible.
Shortening the distance
Distance can be kept short by staying in close contact with your prospects. You can do this with frequent face-to-face visits. In fact, companies, such as IBM, often assign sales people to exclusively work out of the offices of very big and important clients. Since most companies cannot afford to do this, they can make up the distance with personal visits, phone calls, e-mails, mailings, social media, and advertising. Advertising tends to work well for consumer products sold to very large audiences whereas more personal contacts tend to work better for business-to-business, industrial, and high-tech products. Online and mobile communications have become important for all types of products because they are efficient, convenient, and inexpensive means of communication between companies and the marketplace.
Increasing mass, or impact
You can increase the mass, or footprint, of your business by using the branding and promotion building blocks of marketing. Any activity that promotes your products, especially if done well, will increase your footprint and importance. Coca Cola has a large mass and makes a large impact because of its brand recognition (its familiar logo), longevity, success record, popularity, and large advertising budget.
Creating mass when you are small
What if you are a smaller company or start-up that does not have the mass of a Coca Cola or a Disney? You can create more effective promotional content and place it in free (or inexpensive) media with increased frequency. Lots of little raindrops focused on a smaller area can make as big, or even bigger, impact as more massive drops of water over a wider, less-focused area. Those charged with selling your products can create one-on-many sales opportunities at trade shows, seminars, and industry meetings. If you create more effective branding tools (names, logos, slogans, colors, type fonts, mascots, and jingles), you can multiply the effect of each contact, message, and appearance. When I sold word processors for a small company to scriptwriters, I found a newsletter that went to writers in major media markets. A full-page ad in this newsletter cost us only $40 (1980’s prices). It made a huge impact since we were able to reach important scriptwriters that were members of the Writers Guild – the organization that published and distributed the newsletter.
Using a gravity assist to leverage sales
By creating more effective marketing strategies, businesses can create a gravity assist that significantly boosts their sales.
- Corporate Image. Improving your corporate image will naturally attract more customers, employees, and other important publics. Most want to do business with the “good” companies. Therefore, developing strategies to create, manage, and improve your company's image can increase mass, the force of attraction, and business.
- Positioning. Developing unique positions for each of your products can attract more customers since they will be able to more easily perceive the unique advantages your products have over competitors. They will gravitate to yours over competitors.
- Product. Creating products that meet or exceed expectations can increase the desire to own them. This increased desire attracts more customers, generates positive viral pyramids, and increases your mass (gravity) in the marketplace.
- Pricing. Implementing pricing strategies that lure customers can generate the sales revenues and profits you need to grow your market share and become a more massive factor in the market.
- Distribution. Utilizing more distribution channels and outlets makes it easier for your target audience to find, buy, use, and recommend your products. Furthermore, each distribution location comes with sales people and marketing efforts to attract more customers and increase the sales of your products.
- Promotion. In addition to shortening the distance between you and your audience, promotion strategies can dramatically increase awareness of your brand and educate the marketplace about the benefits of your products. Studies show that promoted products are perceived to be better than those that are not promoted. In fact, the brand label As Seen on TV can boost the sales of brands that are not well-known.
- Marketing Information System. Studies also show that companies that bother to obtain feedback on their performance are perceived to be better companies. This attracts repeat business and more customers. Most importantly, the feedback enables you to improve your products and other marketing strategies – leading to greater sales volume and more happy customers.
If you can apply these concepts of gravitation to your selling and marketing efforts, you are likely to shorten the distance between you and your prospects, increase the impact of your company and products, and exponentially increase the positive force you exert on your marketplace. Good luck.