There was much enthusiasm on display at the EL ICC last week when the Daily Dispatch hosted their third annual Business Summit under the title of “The Corporate Disruptor”.
This year’s The 2019 summit examined small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) and how they are were changing the way people do business.
According to freelance journalist Siki Mgabadeli, who gave the in the opening address, the aim of the summit was to “give [businesses] insight that will give you a competitive edge”.
The keynote speaker was best-selling author of Pitch to Win Justin Cohen, who taught the audience about the importance of having a good “pitch” or sales strategy.
“In reality, it’s not the best product – it’s the best pitch. You have to be better at pitching what you do than doing what you do,” Cohen said.
He said that aspiring entrepreneurs should follow a six-step process when working on their marketing.
The first step is to “tune in”, or find out what potential customers are hoping to achieve.
For Cohen, an important part of this step is is getting customers to focus on the specific problems which their your product is able to solve.
“It sounds sadistic but we have to actually get them into [a state of] pain,” said Cohen said.
The next step on Cohen’s list is “team”.
“A pitch is not won by one person.
“Our success in business largely depends on the relationship with the team,” he said.
In order for any team to function effectively, there needs to be a good relationship between the members and this is especially true for businesses. According to Cohen, the number one reason for people leaving their job was due to a is lack of appreciation, so managers needed to be must be sure to “liberally spread the affection”.
“Optimism” is the next step to a successful pitch, according to Cohen.
“People love selling when they get what they want,” he said.
When things don’t work out as planned, the right attitude can make all the difference.
Not only does an optimistic attitude make a business more attractive to clients, it also helps it become more efficient by encouraging team members and making them more willing to work hard.
After that step comes “presence”, which focuses on the way in which businesses communicate their ideas.
“It’s not what we say but how we say it,” said Cohen, using and he used the 2016 US presidential election as an example.
Going by traditional metrics, Hillary Clinton was the more “qualified” candidate having a long history of political work under her belt, he said.
In contrast, Donald Trump was a newcomer with no political experience to speak of.
However, the way Trump presented his ideas was bolder, more attention-grabbing and entertaining than Clinton and so he was able to garner more support, Cohen said.
Businesses must also be clear about their “purpose”, the fifth step on the list.
“A company that exists only to make money is a poor company indeed,” said Cohen said.
The author said that the most successful companies out there made make sure to include programmes that helped their communities, either through setting up initiatives of their own or by donating to existing charities.
Finally, businesses must have a good “story” to tell customers if they want to establish brand loyalty.
As Cohen explained, people responded more to emotional appeals than pure facts.
“When there’s no emotional connection, there’s no connection at all,” he said.
This is why one of the best advertisers a business can have is its own satisfied customers.
These customers talk about your business and other people are more likely to trust their stories than sponsored adverts.
Other speakers at the event included Xoliswa Tini, founder of Xoliswa Tini Properties; Siatik CEO Brett St Clair, and; Caltex Eastern Cape Marketing CEO Clive Berlyn.