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Creating Customer Value Through Proactive Marketing And Selling



Customer value

By: Patrick M. Paradza

  1. In order to ensure a sale, the prospective customer/client must:
  2. need the product/service; or
  3. want the product/service; or
  4. both need and want the product/service.

It is important to note that a prospective customer may take action on a want which is currently affordable, rather than a more important need which he cannot afford and which he considers postponable.

  • Affordability is key in most people’s purchasing decisions. If they are interested in the product or service, they will want to know the price up-front. However, you should strive to settle the issue of value first. On the other hand, if throughout the conversation or engagement the prospective customer never gets to ask about the price, this indicates that there is no interest or insufficient interest in the product or service.
  • It is never the prospective customer’s fault if the proposed transaction does not materialize (it is always useful to assume this). Failure may be due to the marketer’s approach or presentation method. In many cases, the transaction may be scuttled by something that the marketer has done or said to put off the prospective customer.
  • To a certain extent, a marketer is like a fisherman who casts his net wide in the water and hopes that it will bring in some fish, a broadcaster who hopes that his words will be heard and acted upon by as many people as possible, and a farmer who sows seeds and nurtures them until they grow and become fruitful. Having said that, it must be emphasized that marketing is not a game of chance. There is a methodology to it which will always result in success if properly applied.
  • There is always a reason for the success or failure of a marketing effort or a marketing campaign. The marketer should know and pursue actions which lead to success and avoid those which lead to failure.
  • Customer care and customer retention are integral parts of a successful and sustainable marketing effort. The way you treat existing customers is very important in their ongoing assessments and decisions to stay in the relationship.
  • Sometimes in marketing situations a prospective customer’s ‘no’ is not a real no. This response can be an automatic defensive mechanism when the prospective customer feels that his/her private space is being invaded. The response can also be used to avoid having to make an immediate decision on the proposed transaction.
  • Marketing efforts can be boosted by establishing a digital footprint/presence in the targeted segment(s). This can be done through websites or social media. Modern customers value convenience, and the convergence of technology in smart phones can be used effectively to ‘capture’ and retain new customers.
  • Do not make ‘closing’ a do or die issue or exclusively a ‘yes’ or’ no’ affair. It is advisable to give the prospective customer at least two options, both of which are favourable to him. This way he will feel that he has control over the decision that he is about to make, and will not make that decision under pressure.
  • Due to the pressure of budgets, if given the opportunity to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ the default and unpremeditated answer from most prospective customers will be a ‘no.’
  • A consultative marketing approach is likely to be more successful than a ‘hard-sell’ approach which seeks to convince the prospective customer about the features and benefits of the product or service being offered. Educating the prospective customer is important, but emphasis has now shifted to the marketer’s understanding of the situation and how the product or service will solve or ameliorate the problems and challenges that the prospective customer is currently facing.
  • In competitive marketing or selling situations, the biggest question prospective customers usually ask themselves is ‘why should I buy from him.’ This question is a key issue in the prospective customer’s purchasing decision. For the marketer or salesperson, the question poses a big challenge because it is a  reminder that customers are spoilt for choice, especially with regard to generic products or services. It is usually a silent question (i.e. not verbalised) which should still be answered to the prospective customer’s satisfaction. A related question which is usually not expressed verbally by the prospective customer ‘s ‘what is in it for me.’
  • Active listening is a big contributor to the success of marketing and selling efforts. According to Ken Dooley, silence is a natural part of effective listening, and not a space to be filled as quickly as possible. Remember that it is possible to say too much, which can make the prospective customer drawback from a favorable decision he is about to make. On the other hand, it is rarely possible to listen too much.
  • As a marketer or salesperson, you should always plan to stay effectively (meaningfully) busy i.e. meeting or exceeding your targets. An effective strategy is one that produces the intended results either immediately or in the near future. Remember that it is possible to be busy doing nothing tangible.
  • A good presentation should make the prospective customer not only see the advantages of acquiring the product or using the service that is being offered, but also the cost of not doing so. Because most people try to avoid ‘unnecessary expenditure,’ if the prospective customer decides that the current situation is something he can live with, they are not likely to make the proposed purchase. It is therefore the responsibility of the marketer/salesperson to make a compelling case for the product or service. Additionally, if the prospective customer decides that the value of the product or service is less than what he is being asked to pay, the sale is unlikely to occur.
  • Advances in technology mean that prospective customers can now do most of their research on products/services they are interested in online or even from other sources. This means that the marketer/salesperson‘s role has now shifted from that of being a provider of detailed information about their products/services. His main responsibility is to uncover the prospective customer’s specific needs or actionable wants through effective questioning and listening and to show how the product/service can solve the problems, challenges, and other pain points faced by the prospective customer. Remember that the relevance of the product/service is directly related to its capacity to do this. No matter how good or valuable the product/service appears to you, in most cases, it cannot sell itself. Your input is thus the major determinant of the success of your product/service, and ultimately your own success.
  • Depending on the circumstances, what seems to be a lost sale opportunity can be revived. This is because buy/postpone/do not buy decisions are usually made on the basis of the current situation. The reason given for not buying is often not the real reason e.g. the prospective customer may say that the product/service is not a priority at the moment, while the real reason is related to budgetary constraints. On the other hand, the prospective customer is unlikely to inform the marketer or salesperson about any change in his circumstances without being prompted. This means that it is advisable to keep in touch with the prospective customer, and only raise the issue again after a ‘cooling off’ period.

When following up on negative responses, or after an unreasonably long period of silence, ask your contact or the decision maker:

  1. whether the negative response was as a result of something you did or failed to do;
  2. if it could be that you failed to provide some information that was explicitly or implicitly required;
  3. if there is any possibility of reopening the discussion, and if so what you need to do.
  • The multiple-touch strategy recognizes that it may take at least five attempts to get through to a prospective customer or to set up a meeting, but persistence on your part may pay off. When you eventually get to meet the prospective customer, do not guilt-trip them, because this will only show how amateurish you are. It is much better to express your appreciation for the meeting, and get on with the business on hand.

Cold calling involves getting in touch with somebody when you have not met or talked to them before, using the phone, e-mail or another method. It is decidedly more difficult and challenging than other marketing/selling methods, since most people will not take calls from strangers, or will just ignore their e-mails. However, cold calling can work, as shown by the fact that many big companies use call centres to market their products or services. What you are offering may be just what the prospective customer was looking for or considering buying. For example, the prospective customer may be unhappy with his current situation or current supplier, and be prepared to listen to a better offer.

  • The power of marketing communication refers to its ability to evoke or elicit a response from the recipient. The sender hopes that the recipient will respond favorably to the message, and act on it either immediately or in the near future. Most marketers will naturally look forward to a quick, favorable reaction, although this is an unrealistic expectation because the preferred outcome i.e. a sale, will only occur if certain conditions are present an urgent need, a strong want, affordability etc. In the absence of an immediate decision on the part of the recipient, a key quality of an effective marketing message is its residual value i.e. whether it has sufficient impact to be stored internally or externally by the recipient to be used in the future. This is normally related to the message’s perceived value from the recipient’s viewpoint.
  • Related to point no. 18 above, if you are wondering why so few people are opening your e-mails or acting on them, look no further than yourself. What percentage of e-mails reaching your inbox do you open, read and act on? The following are possible reasons for not opening e-mails:
  • Your are just not interested in the subject line, or the contents of the message.
  • You do not have time to read the message.
  • You do not believe that it is relevant to your work.
  • You do not believe that the sender can or will actually do what he or she is promising i.e. the message lacks credibility.
  • You are afraid of being ‘scammed’.
  • You do not think that you are able to do what is required to benefit from the proposed action.
If your marketing activities include e-mail communications, you should note that your recipients may be thinking in the same way about your messages, in relation to some or all of the above points.

Expertise and time, not resources, are the biggest assets in the hands of a


successful marketer or salesperson. The true value of anybody working in these    areas is measured by what he spends most of his time doing. His toolkit should include both hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are the ’technical’ or ‘scientific’ skills which every professional should have in order to practise in any filed. Soft skills are complimentary attributes which in many cases can mean the difference between success and failure, since they highlight differences between excellence and mediocrity.

Patrick M. Paradza is a member of the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe. He is a marketing strategist and sales trainer. He can be contacted at 0773-215 671 or


How To Build A Successful Business: STEP BY STEP GUIDE



Starting off a business, small goings.

It’s quite simple, but yet tricky, as to managing a business you have to be “the business “,   understand it like the way you understand yourself. I just gave you a clever approach, your first step is to be clever, prepare your business before it even starts. Think hard about different possibilities of losing and winning. Think hard about those two and how you will tackle those because those two are the biggest obstacles you will find according to me.

Raising funds

Starting a startup will not be a million dollar business at the word go. I started with raising funds because definitely you have the idea in your head and probably in your heart. What may be stopping you from starting is capital. Raising funds for your startup has 3 key stages.


The first stage is for you to prove that people are going to buy into your business and with the first batch of small money you get you to buy into your own business. If you’re going into an industry that is already existing, for instance, transport, your first step would be to look for the kind of transportation you want; goods or people. I’ll make an example of goods freight: what you would do is to look for a perfect truck for the job, probably the owner won’t be using it, draft a good contract with the owner to get the truck road worthy and ready for business. Once you have used your money to get that truck ready (make sure the contract is a long term contract, for more than 2 years binding) start looking for jobs for the truck, of course, we start small.

Now the second stage after proving that your business idea is worthy to be considered, start saving the money you get from your contracted truck and start your own fully fleshed business. Register the business and if finances allow getting a board of directors, a minimum of 4 people you included. Why a board of directors? You don’t want to run the business like your backyard tuck shop, you need others to tame you. When choosing the board of directors choose professionals, in the law field, logistics field, finance field, etc. How will we pay the board of directors? We’ve been saving to grow and scale the business isn’t, so the Director’s fees can come from those savings as well as profits being made from the continuing jobs. Be careful not to overspend on directors. Now your business is registered, with a contracted truck that doesn’t belong to the business, a board of directors, and a CEO.

The third and final stage is now using the savings to buy your own truck as a business and has an asset within the business. After buying your own truck, don’t throw out the contracted truck, continue with it also. It will also assist in revenue increase within the business.


Simple steps that require patience and zero investors. We’re avoiding investors in the startup stage because this is the most crucial stage where key performance indicators must be realized. And when investors do come into the business, now the scaling model must be for a huge fleet of trucks, not just one or a couple of few trucks.

Breaking into the market

You break into the market by advertising. You can use many ways to advertise/market. Let me suggest social media, your friends, and your family. All you have to do is to make use of them wisely. As people, we have this tendency of using people close to us unprofitably. You come up with a brilliant idea and you are not so sure about yourself and you try to get compliments from those close to you, if you want compliments they will give you compliments, but if you want the real truth ask for the truth.

But normally people around you don’t understand your ideas and eventually, you think it’s a bad idea and let go of Gold. Familiar faces won’t give you help, learn that truth. And that’s how most people out here lose that good idea of product development and service offers they had. If you are going into business just know that you are digging your own grave, but you can find gold while digging your grave. I hope you getting the message in these statements.

Handling finances

 This is where I say the only way for your business to be successful you should be “the business” (when starting off be the business, but later know that as the business grows you should learn to accept what is called a board of directors, here you are no longer the business). Treat your business the way you would treat yourself, say you are starving would you invest in shoes or invest in food?

Exactly, so you realize if you went for shoes you would have starved yourself to death. The same goes for your business. A starting business is hungry and it needs to be fed. So what you do in terms of managing the money flow of the business is to make sure your business always gains more than it loses, feed it first then you after. And make sure it is because it will die because of hunger. If every day your business products and services give you $100, why don’t you take $20 or $30 for yourself at least, the rest give the business.

The business may need things like rent and other problems that may occur along the run. There is a financial management strategy I would like to call the ‘Lesotho finances’, hahaha the name I came up with it because of my friend in Lesotho who gave me this management idea. Of 100% of revenue; use 30% for backup funds, 40% for expenses and future equipment purchases, and lastly 30% for dividends(paying the owners of the business). Exactly, so business owner takes 30% and then 70% you leave out about, 30% as backup money and then 40% you purchase your business equipment and pay your workers’ salaries.

Although I will allude that not all businesses can be managed with this method, know how to construct and deal with an income statement. In your income calculate how many percent of revenue is your working capital, analyze if it fits into 40% of your total revenue. Then why do we pay the business owner only 30%? We are assuming you wish you scale the business and require business savings of another 30%. I’m aware that other may critique that 40% as working capital is too small, but let me say that having more expenditure as a business isn’t the right highway to scaling your business, if working capital exceeds 40% fix the problem and cut down on expenses, you will not go wrong with scaling.

Employing individuals

When your business is still fresh out of the water be your own employee don’t be in a hurry to hire.  Be your own employee so that you see how money comes in and out  and why so that when you have employees you know exactly what happens in the field so they won’t dare to cheat you.

Further more…

In so being your own employee when your business is new it will help the business to gain more than it loses. Yes exactly, don’t hire yet because you are broke and you lack experience of what you are trying to build and with employing you will be cheated. Below is common management table of your skills team:

Human Resource    
Inventory management    

How to charge

Charging for your business products and services; take a look at your products and services and material how much they cost, this will give you the right amount of your charges(break even). Remember, never charge less than what you deserve all because you want to gain customers, not everything cheap attracts customers.

But for a starting business to win the Market. Don’t start off by being too expensive, (I know a lot of us become impatient because we want to be where you dream to be  immediately. But this part here requires you to be patient like super patient), charge so that your business gains enough to grow so that your market grows by your service deliverance.

Then when your product has grown then you can start having your increases, but not too much. Take it step by step. Charge enough to get back your capital back as the time goes

 Like sometimes offer discounts? Exactly!!!

 Discount is another form of winning customers on daily bases, but don’t offer too much.   Offer enough for a customer to find it worth it to buy it. About 5% or so according to how many times the customer is always around buying your products and services, this will encourage them to come back again and again.

Be friends with your customer, like treat them like friends like family make them understand you.  This will give your business a beautiful platform in the community and they will come running. A good Startup first builds the community and makes the community shine. But don’t be too friendly because some of them will take advantage of it.

Be friendly but be observant. Discount for people who buy frequently and those who buy in huge bulks 5% is enough.


When you have a Vision don’t wait for someone to tell you it’s a brilliant idea. When you feel it in you that it’s going to be a hit, when you are totally sure about it go for It, like go down straight for it no matter what go for it chase it until your legs can’t anymore.


 Fundings are tricky because this one requires your communication skills. By communication I mean writing and speaking to present your idea.

 Trust me it’s not easy because the vision you see you have to put it in someone’s head so that they can see it too. If you fail to do that trust me you won’t be getting any response. Harsh isn’t it? 

Plus again to get funds you have to have some capital as well, let’s say you write me a project proposal asking for funds of 90%, I’m going to expect to see you with at least 10% of the money so that I know where my money is going if it’s going to serve a good purpose and that my money will come back to me  with its interest(this is where it’s complicated).

 When you ask for funds…

If you completely flat broke but have a brilliant idea that your completely sure that it will blow. Offer your investor shares as bribery, but make sure you take most shares than the investor  this way if he offers you funds, the you owe him nothing you don’t have. To pay him back his money with its interest it’s much like a loan from the bank. You take a loan you pay it back together with interest same with fund raisers. But of course they can still decide what they want. “I’ll fund you the money and you pay me back quarterly   or monthly with its 10% increase  depending on what you offer”.

 So basically it’s sweet talking funders?

 Yes, exactly much like  proposing to a girl you just want to sleep with, you first have to convince her you love her even though you don’t.

It’s a crazy example ain’t it? It makes learning fun! Doesn’t it? Plus it’s hard to forget.

If I’m employed can I ever acquire assets and soon make money from my assets? Yes it’s possible; by turning debt to income(debt buys you an asset, and assets bring you income).

This story was authored to fit the Zimbabwean situation of a fresh graduate earning an equivalent of US$500 monthly.

Tawanda is a 24 year old young man who after finishing his studies in a Science degree in Pure Chemistry at the National University of Science and Technology got a job at the Solusi High School. Tawanda had a friend who was an entrepreneur and running businesses all around Zimbabwe, Prince. Prince promised to assist Tawanda with financial literacy knowledge of how to make the most out of his earnings and he kept the promise.

Tawanda on his first year of working applied for a bank loan at 25% interest rate over 12months of US$1,000, which ment he would pay approximately US$105 per month to cover the loan. Tawanda consulted a chair manufacturing company in South Africa if he could order a batch of 100 chairs(Wimbledon chairs) and the company agreed to pay for the delivery of the chairs to the Zimbabwean border. With the help of Prince, Tawanda went to collect and pay for the chairs. At first, his parents saw it as stupidity why he would waste money on chairs.

Tawanda used part of his income(US$105) to pay for the first month of the loan, during that month he was creating brochures and social media flyers to alert individuals in Bulawayo that his chairs were now available for hire.

How did he determine how much to charge per chair? Good question. To answer that is a simple mathematical calculation which you can always use to determine the value worth of your asset (cost of asset x 5% x 13 x 80% = monthly revenue target ), with the use of this formula you can determine your daily target by dividing the monthly revenue target by 30. In this instance, if he is to hire all of them out, per day he has to charge US$17.30, rounded off to US$17 per day excluding transportation costs.

Tawanda bought 100 chairs worth US$1,000, directly implying that each chair cost him US$10. Using the calculation above; (10×5%x13x80%=US$5.20÷30=US$0.17 per chair per day) he would hire out each chair at US$0.17/day. Even if Tawanda loses his job to staff indiscipline, hahaha he still has income to keep him going through.

I am saying buy Wimbledon chairs and hire them out? No. All this story is portraying is that the little we have if carefully planned and fully utilized can increase our personal networth and network. Tawanda could have applied for a US$3,000 loan and bought himself a Honda Fit Jazz so to catch the eye of some attractive female students hahahaha, but income must come first before liabilities.

By: Mbonisi Siziba

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3 Ways to Effectively Market Your Business For Free



Marketing strategies

A lot of marketing strategies have been coined and put forward by a plethora of scholars through the evolution of the trade. As sophisticated as most of these appear to be, there are a lot of very ordinary ones that are being overlooked. These can easily be related to the daily social life of businesses and their stakeholders. Below is a breakdown of some of the easiest ways of effectively marketing your business for free

Undercover Marketing

Marketing efforts can sometimes be found irritating by the so called prospects which inturn may act as a jeopardy to the brand. In an attempt to mitigate this, marketers can adopt a stealth approach in their marketing communications.


On this token, prospects are manipulated without knowledge of what’s happening. Marketing efforts are done in such a way that they can be hardly noticed (Stealth Marketing) by the targets of the strategy. Reflecting it to the ghetto life, 2 individuals riding on a 15 passenger commuter omnibus and operating in favor of a certain organization can put up an argumentative act in advocacy for the brand.

They will express their satisfactory experience with a certain brand clearly highlighting its merits over rivals. Normally the rest of the passengers tend to pay attention to “Kombi” dramas and some will be tempted to ask questions and understand better. Moreso they can go as far as making a trial purchase indicating that they have fallen prey to undercover marketing.

Promote Word-of-Mouth

21st-century customers hate being sold to. Research studies show that people have adopted a referral system in acquiring, using, and disposing of goods and services. It is the nature of men that people listen and believe in advice from each other within their societies. It is therefore wise to leverage on such consumer behavior by inducing a positive gospel into talkative, social group leaders and other influential individuals so that the brand becomes a household name in the blink of an eye. Now the question emerges “how”?


Well, it is very simple. Don’t think too much, just start by addressing the little or silliest things that affect the daily operations of the business. In complimentary to Customer Relationship Management, if a customer launches a complaint to a dairy brand that he/she found the 1litr milk to be sour and off-taste, the CRM should contain the grieve such that it won’t spread.

From there the organization should be apologetic and can even offer 2ltr fresh milk as a compensation gesture to the initial sour bottle. Under normal circumstances, the customer will walk away with a smile. He/she will become a secret brand ambassador by standing up in defense of the brand even at public gatherings. That evangelism can work as a good communication tool in favor of the brand.

Taking Advantage of Addictions

There is a common Shona proverb that reads “kwadzinorohwa matumbu ndokwadzinomhanyir”. This means that people have a tendency of falling for something without a rational evaluation of the associated consequences. An addicted customer is just as good as a permanent customer. This is very common in the drug and alcohol industry.

A chain smoker is likely to crave for a pull when he’s treated to a movie that features a smoking gang. At worst the smoker is tempted to buy a cigarette even when exposed to an advertisement on the t-shirt. Upon realization of such, marketers should try by all means to feature a certain reminder of their products to wherever place their prospects are likely to be found. It might be a cigarette-designed key holder, a pen that reads Pacific, or anything that reminds prospects of a certain product but at the same time avoiding irritation.

When a Chibuku truck passes by, it’s most definite that someone out there swallows saliva down his throat signalling a strong crave for the traditional beer (addiction). Marketers are therefore recommend to provide the last push to the dead trees which are staggers in the ordinary blow of the wind.

Desire Munashe
(Founder & CEO of Marketing Network Pvt Ltd).
email –
FB – Desire Munashe
Phone – 0775725109

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How To Start A Business In Zimbabwe



How to register a company in zimbabwe

If you are a local individual or company planning to start a business in Zimbabwe, you need to make certain decisions and prepare the right information before starting the business.

We have put together a checklist of what you need to know or do.

  1. What’s your Aim? Clearly outline the customer pain and problem you are solving. This will help you define your relevance and sustainability in the market.
  2. Define your mission and core values. Your mission is a short statement describing your organization’s overall goal. On the other hand core values are the principles that guide your actions, examples include proficiency, efficiency, professionalism, reliability, confidentiality, etc…
  3. Map your finances. This is where you identify your source of finance. Is it going to be from your savings account or you already have an interested investor. Draw up a financial structure and estimated income from the business. You should clearly know the expected capital costs, recurring expenses, and expected income so that you know when you’ll recoup your capital.
  4. Register and incorporate your business. Most businesses nowadays are registered with different boards and organizations to which they relate, hence the importance of getting registered for quick recognition in the market and compliance with regulatory authorities.
  5. Types of Business Entity.
    There are different types of business entities, go ahead, and choose the best suitable for your type of operations. In Zimbabwe, you can register your business as a Private Business Corporation (PBC) or a Private Limited Company (PLC).
  6. After Registration Compliance to statutes & regulations is a sign of order and a commitment to development. As such compliant persons/companies are preferred by the Govt and other corporates for business.
    Keep your records up-to-date with:
    a. Company Registrations
    b. Zimra
    c. NSSA
    d. Zimdef
  7. Plan sustainably, by defining your target market, product/service, and customer value proposition.
  8. Find help. In everything, you do have a mentor and also hire assistance where necessary. There are bigger operators in the industry with better knowledge than you have, network, and connect with them to share ideas and acquire knowledge.

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