I was reading a conversation on one of the better known sales forums today about the advisability of 'assuming the sale'. In other words, using language such as:
"what we're going to do for you is..."
"what colour would you like that in?"
"what address would you like that sent to"
Blogs, websites, Google, and the internet in general have fundamentally changed the nature of the traditional sales funnel.
Consider the traditional model:
1. Prospect responds to a print ad by calling/writing and asking for literature
2. Prospect contacts us for more information.
3. Prospect asks for a demo
4. Prospect asks for more information..
5. Prospect buys
We could track the prospect on his complete trip through the funnel. This is a double-edged sword. On one hand, we can capture great metrics on the conversion rates for each step, but it is also time consuming.
Things are (or can be) very different today. What if your first contact with the prospect was at Step 5?
We can use our websites, blogs, and other tools to provide the prospect with all the information he/she needs. The prospect LOVES it because he can proceed at his own pace without the perceived 'pressure' from a salesperson. (And there is a side benefit in that you are seen as a more open and friendly company that is easy to deal with.)
I am fond of quoting my friend and sales guru Michael Goodman who says that the three elements that must be present before the sale can be made are trust, credibility, and interest.
Consider the way we buy things today. The first step is usually a Google search. We probably locate a small number of likely candidate firms who appear to offer the product or service we want.
Then we perform some additional research to narrow those candidates down to a single selection. When I bought my Bosch dishwasher recently, by the time I visited the local dealer's showroom I had already decided upon the exact model and that I wanted to buy it from him.
Ideally, by the time you hear from the prospect for the first time, you want him to already know three things:
- He has a problem/want/need
- You are supremely qualified to solve his problem.
- You are the kind of person he feels comfortable doing business with.
Done well, your blog can satisfy items 2 and 3. You can, through your blog, demonstrate your expertise and knowledge so well that you are perceived as an expert. (Of course, when someone refers to me as an expert, I usually reply that an expert is nothing but a former drip under pressure.)
And by sharing bits of your personal side, readers will come to know you as a genuine human being. For example, David Meerman Scott collects Apollo space program artifacts. I am an amateur gourmet chef. Our purpose is to help our readers get to know us. They then relate to us and form a connection. We become the kind of person they are comfortable doing business with. Remember:
they to business with you."