How do you feel when a dear friend rings your doorbell? Now imagine how it would feel if a stranger rang your doorbell, interrupting your family dinner at the same time. What makes them different? The first is welcome to your home, because it is a person you know and meet, while the second is a real pain. You’ve never seen it, you don’t know where it came from, and above all, you’re not at all interested in what it has to sell you!
If you are welcome, you bring added value; otherwise, you are only there to disturb people. Wouldn’t it be great if you could approach a prospect while being welcome, instead of being seen as a nuisance? Selling suddenly becomes easier and more fun when you are welcomed with open arms and the prospect is genuinely interested in what you are offering. This is the transformation I would like to see you undergo in your business and your marketing: from being a nuisance to being a welcome one.
Establish a climate of trust
Most companies try to sell even before building trust. They canvass or advertise using outdated methods that no longer work. The problem is, you are asking your customers to make a decision when they have no idea who you are or what you have to offer them. They don’t know you, don’t like you, and don’t trust you yet.
It’s a bit like proposing on the first date. It sure works every now and then, but do you really want to risk your business for a strategy like this? You’re going to end up with a sales rate of one in ten or one in twenty, and spending a lot of time, energy, and money on unqualified leads. Plus, you’ll waste money on bad publicity.
When your ad is pretty generic, people call you and you answer them: “Of course, I’ll come see you” or “Of course I can help you”, the problem is, they don’t know you and are only interested in the price. Your conversion rate therefore may be much lower than it should be.
Educate your customers
At this point, many business leaders become addicted to the “hope drug”. It is a drug that travels through your body and mind when you “think” you have an interested prospect sending you positive signals, but who actually has no intention of buying. The drug is usually activated when your prospect tells you: “Tell me more about your product” or “Send me a quote”. For example, someone calls your office and shows interest in what you are offering; you instantly feel a sense of euphoria and excitement about what your next sale will be.
But after days or weeks of chasing after him, it’s radio silence. Yet you had some interesting conversations with him, and he showed interest in what you had to offer him, but suddenly you didn’t hear any more. You try to call back once or twice; you even send a follow-up email, but nothing helps. He just disappeared. You realize you’ve lost the sale, but you don’t know what might have happened. Selling then becomes a difficult and painful process.
The “hope drug” is dangerous because it is not really based on what your prospect thinks about you or your product. The sooner you “detox” from this drug, the sooner you will stop chasing prospects who are not right for you. Over the years, prospects have become more and more skeptical. They’ve been scalded too many times, and they just don’t believe you anymore. The problem, again, is that you’re not even starting from zero, but from a negative number. And the old strategy of making a sale at all costs no longer works.
Potential customers end up looking elsewhere because they don’t trust you. You must rather take an approach to educate your customers. This is how you will gain their trust, position yourself as an expert, build relationships and simplify the sales process, both for you and your customers.
Prescribe a solution
Instead of trying to sell directly, you should first come up with something interesting that will help your customers to solve the problem they are facing. Offer them a free report or video, audio testimonials or an online webinar; these are all great educational tools that you can use.
The interest of delaying a sale is twofold: first, it shows that you are willing to give before receiving, which breaks down any resistance from the buyer; and then, it positions you as an educator and an expert in your field. Think about it! Who would you prefer to buy from? To an aggressive salesperson who only thinks about his commission or to an expert who takes your interests to heart and wants to help you solve your problem? You need to stop selling and start educating, help and advise your prospects on the advantages of your products and services over those of the competition.
Read this passage again, as it can cost you a fortune.
Admittedly, no one wants to be seen as an aggressive salesperson who arouses mistrust. Now imagine that you are a doctor who diagnoses a problem and prescribes a solution for his patient; I’m sure you would be more comfortable selling under these conditions – as a trustworthy, educated, knowledgeable, skilled and confident advisor. And that’s how you need to be seen in the minds of your prospects: as someone who educates them and provides solutions to their problems.
Stop selling, start educating
At this point, it would be wise to share with you my definition of an entrepreneur: “Person who solves problems for profit. ” In summary, don’t let them believe for a second that you are in the sales. For this, the best option is to make consultative sale using a loyalty system. You must see yourself as an agent of change, a creator of value, advantages and benefits in the lives of your clients.
You need to become an expert in your field or industry. Quite honestly, everyone is trying to become an expert, but without having any marketing skills. The local cafe may try to make the best coffee, but its marketing is worthless.
Consultative selling is the most economical, sustainable, effective and powerful marketing strategy that a business leader can use. The power is in your hands, as long as you choose to advise and educate your prospects and existing customers on the benefits of your product. This is the only way to regain power over the buyer in this chaotic world in which we live. So stop selling and start educating and counseling. Your customers will appreciate you more, and so will your banker.
Allan Dib is an Australian entrepreneur, speaker, marketing consultant specializing in new technologies… This text is taken from his book “Your marketing plan in 1 page: Win new customers by organizing your marketing plan on a single page”, published by editions Pearson, 264 pages, 24.90 euros.
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