No one wants to be sold

no one wants to be soldHere’s a truth we seem to want to ignore — no one wants to be sold. Ever.

Think about some of your favorite stores.  Beyond the merchandise they have – what do you love about going there?  Odds are your favorite stores became your favorites because of the experience you had.  So you go back time and time again.

Now – forget about your favorite stores for a minute.  If I asked you to describe the ideal encounter with a salesperson, what would you envision?  Is it the salesperson that follows you around on the floor, repeatedly asking you if you need help or interjecting their opinion on every item you look at?

Or would it be walking in the store and having someone introduce themselves and ask how they can help you?  If you say “I’m just looking” which is universal code for leave me alone – do they?  Are they around to answer any questions you might have but otherwise, let you explore?

Let’s translate that to when you call a business looking for information.  Does the operator read from a script, barely letting you get a word in edgewise because he has two specials you need to know about?  Or are you immediately connected to someone who can either answer your questions or get you to the right source for the answers you need?

The truth is – no one wants to be sold.  When you hear the word salesman, what images pop into your mind?  The stereotypical used car salesman with the “you can drive it off the lot today” sort of sales pressure?  I don’t care who you are or what you’re in the market for, no one welcomes that sort of salesperson.  Why do we react so badly?

A bad sales person is someone who:

  • Wants you to buy today
  • Relentless
  • Talks to much about themselves and their product/service
  • Doesn’t listen
  • Makes us feel as they though they only care about the sale

When you look at that list, no wonder we run for cover.  If your favorite store had that sort of sales force, I suspect it would no longer be your favorite store.

Now – go grab your brochure, pull up your website and eavesdrop on some of your sales calls.  See any similarities?  All too often marketing materials and messages bear an uncomfortable resemblance to that pushy sales guy.  We’re so anxious to make sure the prospect knows how amazing our stuff is – we over sell and the reality is, no one wants to be sold.  Ever.

What you love about your favorite stores and your favorite brands is that they’re helpful.  Depending on your needs and the type of purchase, helpful come in the form of convenience or providing you a lot of information.

Helpful might be that you can try as many styles and sizes as you’d like and return the ones you don’t want for free (like Zappos) or it might be a robust website that really allows the consumer to educate themselves long before they speak to a salesperson like River Pools and Spas that has over 800 pages of content and offers it all for free.

You will sell more if you sell less.

Be helpful, be someone I can trust, be approachable without putting your hand in my pocket looking for my wallet and I will come to rely on you.  When I am actually ready to buy – who do you think I’m going to by from?

You.

Dollar cost averaging equals marketing

dollar cost averaging equals marketing

dollar cost averaging equals marketing

If we’ve learned anything over the last decade it’s that the stock market is volatile and difficult to predict with precision. Even Warren Buffet can’t tell you exactly when a stock will go hot or drop like a rock.

Which is how the whole concept of dollar cost averaging came to be.

According to Investopedia.com, it’s a technique of buying a fixed dollar amount of a particular investment on a regular schedule, regardless of the share price. More shares are purchased when prices are low, and fewer shares are bought when prices are high.

Dollar-cost averaging lessens the risk of investing a large amount in a single investment at the wrong time.

That’s how you need to think about your marketing efforts as well. Rather than trying to guess when a potential buyer might be ready to buy – you need to be marketing every day, so that when they’re ready, you’re right there.

Even if you sell a season-specific product or service, that doesn’t let you off the hook. It may dictate that you ebb and flow your marketing – but it doesn’t mean you stop or restrict your presence. With social media and SEO/content marketing – there’s no off-season. An article that’s posted on your website in March may be the search result that drives a sale in November.

Think of your marketing efforts as constant lead nurturing. It’s all about building solid relationships through consistent conversations with your target audience, acknowledging that while you don’t know when they will buy, you know some of them will buy sooner or later.

Here’s a quick overview of how you can build up a lead nurturing program.

Generate leads: You can’t market if you don’t have anyone to talk to. You’re going to want to generate leads on a macro and micro level. Some tactics, like social media and offering something for free on your website, tend to draw big numbers and many of those leads aren’t really quite the right fit. But that’s okay, because you haven’t expending a lot of money or time to attract them.

You’ll also want to generate some more targeted leads. To do this, first you need to define your sweet spot customer. Then create a lead scoring tool, which will let you objectively assess leads and sort them accordingly.

Create a drip campaign: Lead nurturing is all about regular contact. Now that you know who your sweet spot customer is – what kinds of information would be helpful to them? Note – I did not say what kinds of things could you sell them. This is about you offering value over and over again. Make me smarter, more efficient or better at my job and I will be indebted to you. Try to sell me something all the time and I will disconnect.

You don’t have to offer them a twenty-page white paper each time. It can literally be a nugget – a single idea or suggestion. In fact, they’re more likely to keep reading what you send if you do keep it bite-sized.

Test, track and tweak: The beautiful thing about most drip campaigns is that they’re so trackable.   You will be able to test headlines, the types of content you’re sharing, day of the week and a host of other variables.

Let the data help you fine tune your program and keep in mind, even if it needs a lot of tweaking – you’re still ahead of 95% of your competitors who are still trying to time the market!

Don’t expend energy trying to figure out when to market. The answer is now.

 

Are you minding your packaging?

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