The Ten Commandments of Marketing

5th Commandment

Don’t Sell... Solve.


Like many of you, I live with a persistent underlying hum of fear. Salespeople: from Willie Loman to Crazy Eddie, to insurance agents, stockbrokers and car dealers, we have to steel ourselves for the occasional unavoidable contact.

And while we try to hide behind the anonymity of a smartphone or a computer screen, they still find us. Between programmatic digital ads and sophisticated demographic marketing tools there is no escape.

What is it that we fear? We don’t want to be coerced into buying something we don’t really need, for more than we want to pay, or confront the possibility of missing the better deal around the corner. The business world recognizes this and has eliminated the concept from the vernacular. There are no more brokers, only advisers; no more salespeople, only consultants. But it’s a rose by any other name.

So how, if we are, after all, in the business of selling something, do we turn what can be an adversarial relationship into one of alliance?

Don’t sell… solve. We need clients to see us as a resource and a valuable partner in the realization of their business objectives.

We have to pull ourselves and our self-interest out of the equation. We have to put in the time to understand our clients’ personalities, the products/services they offer, their points of differentiation and, most importantly, their marketplace’s expectations. Only then will clients believe that we have their best interests at heart and that our talents are being leveraged to solve their problems. Make that happen and clients will spend all their energy figuring out how to say yes, instead of why to say no.

Sell and you have an adversary, solve and you have an ally.

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Living by the 5th Commandment

Know your clients and know your prospects.

It seems obvious, but marketers truly need to understand the challenges clients face and what it takes to solve their issues in order to be accepted as valued business partners.

The Right Point of View Comes With Experience

For over 40 years, Adler Branding & Marketing has been advising clients about all facets of brand strategy, communications and design.

“The Ten Commandments of Marketing” series is the distillation of our decades of experience, epiphanies and, of course, mistakes into something useful. We welcome your thoughts and comments.