Got Smarter Customers? No Problem
If you’re in sales or marketing – over the last few years you’ve heard loud and clear some version of the phrase –
“Buyers now are now as much as 70% farther into the sales process by the time they contact a vendor because they can learn so much about your product and service online”
I don’t disagree.
But I also don’t give a hoot. Neither should you.
Instead of lamenting this truth – sales people need to adapt and do things differently. Complaining that every lead you get “just wants pricing” or “already knows exactly what they want” is a sure sign things need to change. Most important however is realizing that sales people getting involved early (and sometimes way early) in a sales process lessens the likelihood that your product or service is perceived as just another commodity. People influence. People persuade. People add value.
Here’s what you can do.
- Your customers have better tools to help you now. Bring back the focus on asking for, (and if you are a company) – rewarding, referrals. This gets you in the lead gen game before the lead “genee” even knows he or she is playing in the most powerful of ways. And don’t lead gen for “someone interested in the service” but rather someone who “wants to know more”—Education first is a real step in the selling game. Referrals have been afterthoughts and underinvested in for years. The customers now have easier ways via social media to brag about you and feed you referrals. Leverage that.
- Remember that the successful people and companies rarely are the “one trick pony” types and have rather a suite of upgrades, products and services to cross sell into. Real selling there begins after the sale. Who better to teach (and to be the source of education like that darn internet!) a new client than a sales person in say, those first 60 days? You should have as many touch points after the sale as you did pre-sale and in the inverse frequency.
- Sales people need to be more like marketers. They need to be comfortable not just living and dying responding to a lead (where the prospect may already be down the path 70% of the way) but if they can, they should be entertaining (and educating) prospects with videos on their YouTube channel, conducting webinars, guest blogging, guest speaking at any and all trade shows or events they can either as an SME for your company or for yourself if you are independent. It’s OK if a buyer is looking for information online, to bump into you out there.
- Sales people need to “out-teach” the internet. Sales people need to litter their inbound conversations, outbound conversations, email contacts, their LinkedIn pages, their Twitter feeds, Facebook Posts and more with compelling content that “creates needs” ( and leads) not just “solves needs” (where it may be too late to be found) . Buyers are looking for information from credible (and that’s key) resources. Be one of those.
Till next time,
Grow The Business.