Come close. No. Closer. I’m going to tell you a little secret: Buyers don’t care (not even a little bit) about whatever product or service you’re offering.
The nuts and bolts of your business and bravado simply don’t matter to buyers today. They all have laptops, desktops, iPads and cell phones. They don’t need you anymore. They can do their homework on their own. The bottom line is that today’s buyer/customer only cares about what’s “in it” for him or her; how your product or service makes the problems they face smaller and opportunities they glean easier, faster and cheaper than “the other guy”.
So what does that mean for us small business owners?
In layman’s terms: relationship selling? Meet value selling. Your sales force, and indeed your business, must provide candid insight and new, valuable information at each stage in the buying cycle, and it has to match up with whatever homework Mr. and Mrs. Consumer is doing on his or her own. Instead of “selling” said prospect, you need to place fanatical focus on content creation that is full of insight designed to capture buyers’ attention, spark conversations, offer problem-solving solutions, demonstrate obvious value, and trigger action.
How do you do that? Easy. You follow our five steps to success…
1. Make content fast to find and obvious
Your content should be lean, up to date, and full of useful, little known tidbits that will add value to the consumer. But more than that, you need to make this raw information readily accessible to your sales team to help them overcome objections and close the sale.
Don’t merely categorize information and resources by type, but instead, consider organizing assets by buyer segments, pain points, and stages in the sales cycle. The more lean and mean your content library, the more lean and mean your sales force. Get it?
2. Provide lots and lots and lots of media
Mix your content library up a little bit, straying away from the canned sales flyers and marketing emails. Promote recent blog posts, whitepapers, case stories, videos, competitive comparisons and research reports. Give these to your sales team.
Are you getting the picture yet?
Extra tip: A little levity never hurt anybody; especially since humor is proven to be one of the most effective ways of breaking down barriers. In mathematical terms, it looks like this:
Content humor = Trust and relationship building.
From there, the sale becomes natural.
3. Identify the “right” social media forums
Find two or three product or service related blogs for your sales staff to read and promote. Add in a few LinkedIn groups for your force to join. Give one or two Twitter lists for your sales folk to follow. Find some Facebook groups relevant to your product or service. And finally, pepper in some Pinterest — if appropriate, of course. Train your sales staff to use these resources to supplement the sales process. Have your sales focus to spur discussion on social media. Use that as a lead generation and aid in closing tool.
Social media is the new face-to-face sale (after all, in person meetings are so last year — only kidding…sort of). Thing is, if you aren’t on the cutting online edge, you will be left behind in an era full of fax machines and lost business.
4. Trigger action
Make your content easy for buyers, current customers and past customers alike to share, follow, or subscribe to. Doing so encourages “referential marketing”, or, going old school speak: word of mouth marketing. This sort of marketing has always been (and will always be) the best business building tool around. Because people do business with businesses they know and trust; get a good referral from a trusted source, and your sale is pretty much already closed.
Not that I’m telling you anything you don’t already know…
5. Build in feedback loops
Feedback loops help you capture opinions and leads online, but you also need to pepper that type of marketing into your sales content. Like a general going to battle, you know that your sales team is your front line. If they aren’t effective, you lose the battle. Building feedback loops into your sales team’s material — that goes directly to you, or your general manager — is a great way to gauge the effectiveness of your team and help you adjust accordingly.
Because in today’s high-tech competitive marketplace, business as usual doesn’t cut it..but business as unusual…does.
And of course, if you need a little help, we, here at Provincia are experts in all of this new-fangled techo-stuff. Give us a shout, and see if you like what we have to offer. We think you will. Then again, we’re a little biased.