Trevor's Reviews > The Contrarian Effect: Why It Pays (Big) to Take Typical Sales Advice and Do the Opposite

The Contrarian Effect by Michael Port
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Feb 21, 10

bookshelves: business, 2010
Read in February, 2010

Michael Port and Elizabeth Marshall team up to share insights into typical sales tactics and they skillfully illustrate why the old school ways are not necessarily the best approach.

The typical old sales tactics we're all familiar with no longer work. Cold calling gets you nowhere, door-to-door selling is a nonstarter, and today's consumers are too savvy for most traditional scripts and closing techniques. New technology and instant communication have put customers firmly in control of the sales process. They don't answer calls from unknown numbers; they demand honesty and transparency in the sales process; they are well informed about your product before they deal with you; and they have no patience for pressure tactics like closing questions. No wonder traditional sales methods no longer work.They demand more. They expect more and they deserve more than a stale sales pitch and antiquated, canned attempts at "the close".

The new marketing model is all about relationships and meeting the ever demanding expectations of today's consumer.

Two of the most important tips I hope readers take to heart are:
1) Identify and target specific groups of individuals rather than the mass market.

This may seem like a no-brainer to most contrarians but I am amazed to hear people today say "I want to speak to those who are even remotely interested in my product or service." This broad approach to marketing, advertising and sales is not cost effective. With this approach the messages created are often watered down and don't connect with people who may actually want what you're selling. Why don't more people understand the narrower the target the more qualified the consumer and coincidentally the more likely people are to buy from you?

2) Collaborate with strategic partners who share the same target market.

Collaboration is the key to your success on the new business playing field. Gone are the days of bitter competition, back biting sales strategies and unauthentic attempts to make the sale. These out of date techniques hinder rather than help both sales and the economy. Odd as it may seem there is more than enough business to go around. In fact, I regularly collaborate with other professional copywriters. We have a referral network and we send business to each other based on our specialties and who we like to work with. It's a win-win situation.

Another vital component to being a contrarian is following the Contrarian Primer. Port and Marshall created a list of 9 fundamental contrarian traits (this chapter alone is well worth the small investment in the book). I'll list them here but please note the book elaborates in the importance of each.

1. Build relationships and make connections
2. Respect your customers and honor their wishes
3. Target specific groups of individuals and the people with whom you do your best work
4. Make relevant and timely offers
5. Increase your likability factor
6. Practice radical transparency
7. Establish yourself as a trusted advisor
8. Collaborate with strategic partners to leverage your efforts
9. Think bigger about who you are and what you offer your clients
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