477443825"Consumers have changed the way they buy."

Unless this is the first marketing blog you've ever read, it's likely you've heard this line as many times as just about any Katy Perry single ever released.

We all know this. 

But let me ask you this: while you may have changed the way you market to the modern consumer, have you also changed the way you sell to them? 

Inbound marketing isn't just a means for generating business online, but rather a holistic methodology for building and nurturing relationships. 

So if you have a ton of inbound leads in your system...great. But what are your plans post-conversion? Business as usual? 

Not quite. Instead, try this. 

Drop the Pitch

Inbound leads already have an idea of what you're all about. They've entrusted you with their contact information, the holy grail of online currency. No one wants to be spammed, so the fact that they've converted on your content means they don't expect to be. There's a certain level of trust already built in to the relationship. 

Don't ruin it. Spam can take on many forms, including an in-person or over-the-phone sales pitch that's more infomercial than it is helpful.  

Inbound leads are more educated by default. They don't need to hear a salesperson drone on about specs and features. Instead, prove the value of your product or service and help them understand the benefits. 

In order to do this, you need an open, genuine dialogue that gets to the heart of a prospect's challenges. It's hard to do this when you're too busy delivering your well-rehearsed pitch. 

Listen More. Talk Less.

Inbound leads are self-educated, so chances are they know most of what you already have to tell them. 

Let them dictate the conversation, and you'll hear much more about what they need rather than what you'd like to sell them on. 

Remember, this isn't about you. It's about learning more about what challenges people are having, what their goals and aspirations are, and most importantly, whether or not you can help them. 

This is only achieved by active listening. Rather than listening passively, active listeners analyze what they're hearing and respond by teaching. 

Ask Questions 

Most traditional sales processes execute a barrage of aggressive word vomit in order to close a deal. If talking doesn't work, they simply talk more. And then some more.

This is the practice of a self-serving salesperson looking to cash in on commission.

What about the prospect? Are they even a good fit for your company? Can you actually help them in any way? 

Any business partnership should be a great fit for all parties involved, not just the one cashing the check. 

Obviously there's plenty more that goes into nurturing an inbound lead. Click on the button below to access our free kit. 

This post originally appeared on the Impact Branding and Design blog. Impact Branding and Design is a HubSpot Partner located in Wallingford, CT.

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Originally published Aug 11, 2014 4:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016

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Social Selling