Sell Without Selling Out

One of the first lessons any successful business owner must learn is how to get paying customers to rush through their doors. Great products, awesome employees and a beautiful layout contribute to sales but they are not the sole determinant of such. If customers don’t know your product or business exists, they will not rush through the doors, no matter how hard you pray.

A great product or service offering is great news to anyone who has a problem that can be solved by that product or service. Even Jesus, who offers the most sought after and needed product (eternal life), commissioned advertisers (disciple evangelists) to spread the word about His solution to the world’s sin problem (Matthew 28:18-20).

So, with advertising being a great way to “spread the word”, how far should a business owner go to get them to rush through the door?

Well, that question depends on the worldview of the business owner. Judging by the increasingly raunchy and classless number of Superbowl XLV commercials, the secular world view is, do whatever it takes to sell something. For an event that advertises itself as a family event, why did I cringe so much during the commercials?

For instance, do we really need to see a buxom Joanne Rivers to get us to buy a domain name from Go Daddy? Actually, this ad may have sent me packing for good. Do we really need to see naked couples looking satisfied after good sex in a Sleepy’s commercial? Will sex sell a mattress? Perhaps, if your target market is the adult services industry but for everyday people like me, I’m not sure I have ever purchased a mattress for its ability to improve sex with my spouse. Why does Pepsi feel the need to sell sex to sell Pepsi Max? The commercial made no sense at all and I am not sure it will convince a young adult Coke buyer to choose Pepsi next time. Finally, is Reebok trying to sell sneakers that are good for women’s physical shaping or their physical sex? I can’t tell with the over emphasis on the rear of Kardashian.

A Christian business owner should work with a biblical world view if they are to prosper now and eternally. In other words, just do what Jesus did.

So, here are three great advertising strategies Jesus used to spread His offering of eternal life:

  1. Personal Testimonials – Everyone knows that the best advertising is ‘word of mouth.’ After Jesus healed the blind man, he spread the word that Jesus was the best deal happening (John 9:11). There is no denying the personal experience someone had with your business. Therefore, ask your happy customers to share their good news with their family and friends. Also, ask them to write a testimonial that you can post on your website, on advertising material or in your place of business.
  2. Demonstrate The Goods – People who saw Jesus heal the sick, returned with multitudes of sick people because Jesus demonstrated His power to heal (Matthew 15:29-31). What most people really want to know is how your product or service will address a need or want. So, rather than sell sex to sell soda, show them you have the best soda!
  3. Give Away Something For Free – People love free stuff, especially in a recession. Give-a-ways are a great way to advertise yourself. Jesus gave away free fish and bread to hungry people and the result was overwhelming – they wanted to make Him a King (John 6:15). That is ancient bible talk for saying, “Jesus, you the Man!”

The point I am making is this, to get customers to rush through the doors, Christian business owners should be honest and attractive. There is no need to sell out all sense of common decency and morals to attract customers unless you want to attract a certain “type” of customer. I guess this falls into the class of Jesus’ warning – what does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his own soul (Matthew 16:26, Mark 8:36, Luke 9:25).

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Categories: Notes

Author:De'Andre Salter

De'Andre Salter is a nationally recognized entrepreneur and senior pastor of The Tabernacle, a fast-growing, non-denominational ministry in South Plainfield, New Jersey. Salter is a self-made success and CEO of Professional Risk Solutions, LLC, the largest minority-owned specialty brokerage firm in the United States. A Jersey native and Drew University graduate, Salter was honored as one of the “Top 40 Black Executives Under Forty” by The Network Journal. In addition to winning souls, he has a vision to build communities through supporting entrepreneurs. His book,Hope in the Hood, is a springboard to helping others who hail from neighborhoods like his in Newark, build and grow businesses in their community. He is offering not just a step-by-step action plan, but also financial resources.

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