What? Something more important than making sales or getting new customers? YES! More important than making a sale is to catch prospects in the buying process, establish a reason to start a relationship and to develop that relationship with them towards the sale.
The way to explain this is to look at the whole “Buying Process”. What is a sale? Where does it come from? How do we get from someone needing or wanting a solution to a problem to them choosing you as the person or business who is to provide that solution for them.
Well, at least one thing is true. The ACTUAL sale comes right at the end of the buying process and is the final act. So what happens before then? What comes before the sale is everything you and I both do when we consider making a purchase. You research, compare, consider, ask friends or family for their input, search online for the best price, for local suppliers, so on and so forth. So as a business who presumably wants to dominate the market share of business available, how do you steer your prospect whilst in the Buying Process towards making the decision to use your business?
The answer is you enter the conversation in your prospects mind, build rapport, relationship and buyer confidence with them before presenting your business as the obvious solution to their wants or needs!
In more detail, this involves the following;
1. You enter the conversation taking place in your prospects mind.
Through effective marketing you place your targeted messages, in targeted places using targeted channels, promoting your targeted offers. Did I mention your marketing should be targeted? Good. Prospects generally pay attention to your marketing when its more targeted and when they are considering your types of products or services as something they need or want.
2. You provide a reason to establish RELATIONSHIP with your prospects
Your prospect isn’t ready to buy yet because they are still in the Buying Process – Our goal is to establish a reason to create a bond or relationship in our prospects mind with our business. This is easily done by giving them something for free. It could be a free downloadable report, video, ebook, a free telephone consultation, advice – anything of high perceived value to our prospect, compelling enough to encourage them to take you up on the offer.
3. Develop the established relationship
The prospect has qualified themselves as being interested in what we have to offer by reaching out, finding our marketing messages and responding by taking whatever action our marketing message suggested. Now we develop that relationship with the prospect by becoming part of the conversation taking place in their minds. So remember the Buying Process we all experience when considering a purchase – What colour should I choose? Which model? Etc – Whatever your market is, you will have a better idea than me as to the questions your prospects are asking themselves in the Buying Process (Or you should). Enter this communication and act as a trusted advisor. This way you will build rapport and relationship with your prospect.
Auto responder software is a great solution for the facilitation of this relationship. You can write a series of follow up emails which are automatically sent to your prospects at defined timescales. Alternatively, your follow up process might include you calling or visiting your prospect to enter the conversation with them. Again your market will define your approach.
4. Steer the Prospect Toward the Sale
You place your business in a strong and likely position to get the sale when you become the trusted advisor to somebody considering to purchase your types of products and services. You have delivered value in the form of good advice through your follow up process and now its time to ask for their business. The direction of your follow up process should lead to you asking for the sale. Create a compelling offer for just this purpose, to convert the prospects who have engaged with your business into ACTUAL paying customers. If you have done a good job of building relationship and rapport through a well thought out and robust enough follow up process, you should not have much trouble converting these prospects at this stage.
So what’s more important than making the sale? Its supporting prospects through the buying process, entering the conversation taking place in their mind at the right time and gently steering them towards using your business as a provider of the solution.
Market your business effectively, create a reason for prospects to engage with your business (A compelling, FREE piece of content to support their need for guidance in the buying process). Try to capture their contact details in the transaction of handing over the compelling offer. Then finally, implement a robust follow up strategy which delivers value to your prospect before steering them towards the obvious choice of using you as the solution to their wants or needs.
Take a look at your marketing materials, do they encourage a prospect to enquire for more information or get in touch without obligation. If you do provide a reason, is it truly compelling enough, more compelling than a competitor? Work smarter in your marketing and reap bigger successes.
As always feel free to get in touch to discuss further how these strategies can be implemented for your business. Here’s to your success!