Fundamentals never change. But what are the fundamental aspects of sales and marketing, and what are the fads?

The fundamental basis of sales and marketing is relationships. Obviously, no one gets paid until something is sold. There are two ways you can sell: you can manipulate a “prospect,” or you can connect with a human being and explain how your product and service will meet their needs.

The internet has changed sales and marketing. However, they don’t change the fundamentals of sales and marketing: a relationship must exist between the product creator and the consumer. This lack of attention to the fundamental relationship between seller and buyer is the key to the problems in our culture.

The internet is just another method of connecting people in relationship across geographic distance. Because the internet allows people to connect with others who are more suited to their mindset, it exposes the reality of the sales process much more. It makes it more apparent when someone is deepening a relationship, and it makes it more apparent when someone is ripping a customer off.

We see it. We can see the company that only wants the sale who does not stand behind their product that breaks 2 weeks before its warranty. We see the company that sells us a product that doesn’t work unless you buy something else. We can see straight through the marketer who charges too much with the attitude that he’s doing great work if he can convince people to pay more than something is worth.

A recent article noted that tablet users (iPad, etc.) are a very important demographic. The early adopters, tablet users are showing us the way the internet (and internet sales) will be going. And tablet users are more discerning. They research more, they dig deeper, and they become very informed about the products they purchase.

They are leading the way… and the rest of the internet users will follow. It will become harder for the rip offs to continue finding victims.

Psychology Today recently ran this article about The Business of Manipulation. Within the article is a graphic, a matrix of different types of marketers. Unfortunately, many of the marketers in this country don’t know how to be anything more than “dealers” (selling a product they don’t believe in and don’t use themselves) and cannot fathom what it is like to be “facilitators” (selling a product they use themselves).

To the person focused on their own profit above serving customers, the goal of the sales and marketing is money. The mailing list exists to get sales. If a marketer of this ilk talks about relationship marketing, the relationship exists only to create sales.

Markets are made of people

Last week, I ran some metrics on our mailing list. We’re getting XX% opens on our newsletters, and I wanted to learn more about our list. As I am writing the scripts to run comparisons, I realized how wrong that attitude is. In this list made up of thousands of email addresses, there are individual emails… these trees in the forest. These email addresses are PEOPLE. There are a core group of people who open every single email we send out. And there are others who open most of them. We have relationships with those people. They are customers, but they are also friends.

In the internet marketing world, I am encouraged to find ways to manipulate the list to get more opens and clicks. I am encouraged to become a dealer, to focus on improving metrics, and “get the money out of the list.”

While you can break down customer demographics, group them, and learn about them in segments, the primary element marketers seem to forget is that markets are made of people.

Sales and marketing are changing

I can think of a few internet marketers who will think I am insane. They’ll tell me I need to create a syndicate and work with other internet marketers to extract money from lists of targets. I think they’re wrong.

And I think that’s going to change. People are wising up. Savvy consumers are more discerning about where to spend their money. People are researching more before they buy, and they’re demanding more than a product shipped on time. They’re demanding your attention to their needs.

Smart marketers are providing more value. Smart businesses are solving problems that we never knew we had.

Smart marketers are being honest. Truthful. And they’re connecting on a deeper level.

People are changing

As people, we’re changing. We’re becoming deeper and more aware, and the businesses we deal with are being asked to become deeper and more aware. We’re meditating more and exploring more aspects of our consciousness. We’re learning more about our multitudinous aspects of consciousness through deeper dreaming,

The simple act of meditation makes us more aware of subliminals. We’re not as open to manipulation as we were before. We are making conscious decisions based upon what we really need and want, not based on emotional appeals and high pressure sales tactics.

We’re demanding deeper connection in our relationships, in our entertainment, and in the communication that arrives in our home. That goes for all sorts of businesses.

How to succeed in the new landscape

Marketers are scrambling. People are watching less television, reading fewer newspapers, and less magazines. People are turning to online venues for their news, information, and connection.

To succeed means to get back to fundamentals. It means to look less at viewers, subscribers, and readers as a number and more as what they really are: people. It means looking beyond the metrix, beyond the matrix, and connecting with people in a relationship that actually improves their lives.

To develop those relationships, get to know your customers. Find out who they are. Find out what makes them happy, what challenges them, and solve their problems.

Along with finding out who your customers are, find out who YOU really are. What makes you happy, what challenges you, and solve your own problems in an interdependent way with your customers.

You are not that unique. The problems and challenges you have are the problems and challenges your customers have. Solve your own problems and extrapolate those solutions towards other human beings experiencing the same issues.

In The Wealth Diet, I provided some exercises that have worked for me to determine what things make me feel wealth from the inside out. Those also translate into methods of finding business solutions that make you happy as well as your customers.

But above all else, when you start to explore your heart and the energy within your being, you cannot help but expose who you really are. Allow that to flow, and the customers you were meant to serve begin to show up.