Let’s get something out on the table. No one is buying anything until they feel like they’re making a safe purchase decision.
Your prospects have problems and pains they need remedied. They are anxious about this pain; after all, there is stress in challenge. Maybe their boss is yelling at them. Maybe there are financial ramifications if they don’t remedy the issue. They might even run the risk of losing their job.
You and your business need to solve these pains and do it in a way that reduces concern.
The sooner you understand this inherent human behavior the sooner you can adjust your marketing and sales strategy to match. Stop trying to interrupt, pressure, sell, convince, or trick people into buying your products or services. It doesn’t work, it never worked, and it’s not going to work in the future.
Instead let’s figure out how to create a marketing and sales experience for your prospects that gives them what they want, makes them feel safe, embraces prospects who are ready to buy, and positions your salespeople as advisors.
First things first. In terms of marketing practices, I advocate inbound marketing as a way of making prospects feel connected with your company, and allowing them to choose their own path for engaging with your brand. After the prospect finds you through a website page or blog post, they begin to download content that speaks to their pain. Eventually they become comfortable (and curious) enough to request a call with a salesperson-turned-advisor.
At this point, they don’t feel safe enough to buy from you -- yet. Here’s how you can carry the remarkable and 100% educational marketing experience you already given prospects into a similar sales experience.
- Immediately after they request a call, send a wonderfully written email offering to help them set up the call, giving them a few times to pick from, and explaining who they’ll be talking with and what the call might include.
- Twenty-four hours before the call, the salesperson who they’ll be talking with should send an introduction email that also shares a blog article specifically pertaining to the issue they’re going to talk about.
- The call goes down and there is no selling. For 20 minutes the prospect and salesperson talk about the situation, brainstorm a bit, toss around solutions, and discuss options. At the end of the call (no more than 10 minutes), talk about how your company helps people with similar issues.
- A few hours after the call, the salesperson sends another well-written email with a link to a video that provides even more helpful information on how to deal with the prospect's exact challenges.
As a result of the call, the emails, and the marketing education, the prospect is feeling safer. They’ve gotten to know, like, and trust your company a little bit more at every step. Instead of selling them, you’ve been helping them.
But in order to truly help this person, you’re going to need to get to know their business much more intimately before you can make any recommendations. At this point, the salesperson should offer to spend even more time with them, but this meeting is going to be all about them -- a deep dive.
During the deep dive session, ask questions and discuss the relevant issues so that you can come up with a set of recommendations. People love talking about themselves and their businesses, so this step helps get them to feel even safer and more comfortable with you and your company.
Then, take the following steps:
- After the meeting send an email, thanking them for the time and explaining the next steps in the process, which includes you getting together a set of recommendations, price guidelines, implementation specifics, and all the details they need to see to make a decision. In addition, include a link to an infographic that provides more information on a topic that was uncovered in the session. Note that it’s important to include your prospect in the program recommendations. We call that co-creating a sales plan. You want them to have a sense of ownership. You want them to invest time with you to create the perfect set of recommendations. You want it to be a collaboration. Typically a call or two to discuss different elements of the recommendations with the prospect will achieve this end. Let them make some of the decisions with regard to what goes into the recommendations.
- Next schedule the recommendations unveil. Never send recommendations to prospects without the ability to discuss them in real time. Questions make people nervous. Nervous is the opposite of safe. Don’t give anything to anyone unless you have the ability to answer questions and walk them through it -- either on the phone or live in person.
- Before the unveil, get proactive and forward a link to a reference reel. Instead of slowing down the sales cycle and delaying the purchase while prospects stall and check references, get ahead of the game and send this out in advance. This video allows the buyer to see and hear from five or six clients thrilled to be working with you.
- Finally, schedule the recommendations reveal. Don’t rush this. People get nervous when they feel rushed or don’t get enough time to ask questions. Go through your presentation slowly and stop deliberately and ask for questions. Make sure you note the areas where you’ve already collaborated with them. There should be very few surprises and when you’re done, your only question should be, “When would you like to get started?” Provide them all the paperwork and any other details they need to make their final decision.
If you’ve made them safer than any of the other competitors, you’ll be celebrating your newest customer or client in no time. To learn more about helping prospects feel safe so they say yes, click here to download a free eBook titled Inbound Sales vs. Traditional Sales: What’s The Difference?