Part I: Introductory/listening phase
Last time (link above), we discussed the phase of the sales game where the key question a buyer has is “Why should I listen?” This time, it’s “Why should I care?” Apply that question to yourself: Why should you care about this? A few key reasons: (1) it’s important to understand if you want to make money and have a predictable revenue stream and (2) you want to make money and have a predictable revenue stream.
Here’s the flow chart. You flipped a prospect from “Crazy Busy, can you send me something maybe?” (Read: It will be in my trash folder in 2.8 seconds) to “Curious.” Now you need to flip that same prospect from “Curious” to “Interested.” The action step from your buyer you need now is “OK, I’ll commit to talk.”
Because of the “eat what you kill” mentality we’ve attached to sales, a lot of us within sales believe that once you clear this stage, you’re more than 50 percent of the way there. Once you get them into the call, you’ll close it. Right? Well, it’s not always that simple. I’m sure many of us, sales and otherwise, have gotten someone to the call stage and dropped the deal. It happens. But that’s for later posts.
Right now it’s about getting people to the call (actually “to talk” and not just “to listen”). This is where you move them from “curious” to “interested.”
How do you move them from A to B?
You have only a few more marketing resources at this stage. I’d argue:
- Trade shows
- Print ads
- Improved SEO/SEM
- White papers or eBooks
Out of these, the only ones that we (BizXpand) typically provide for clients are newsletters and blogs, or general email help. Do want to say this about email: there has been a lot of excitement in the last few years about “social selling,” which is cool and can mostly work. But all social media platforms, while they have great reach, are based on algorithms. If you post a few dud things early on, people won’t interact with them — and then your reach on more interesting posts later, when you’ve figured it out, will be low. Algorithms work by driving people to content they like; that’s how “bubbles” are created, because you only see the stuff you like. If you’re good at social media on the sales side, it’s really powerful. Once someone has liked a few of your posts, they start seeing all your posts. You can almost sell directly to them. But … that’s rare.
Apart from above long-tail marketing resources you do have two much more powerful sales tools (honestly, the sales tools are about 10x more powerful than the marketing ones at this stage):
- Discovery calls
- Introductory meeting
Discovery calls only take 5 minutes with the single goal to find out if there’s a mutual interest in having a detailed conversation.
Introductory meetings are the same but on face 2 face. It’s not about your product, not about the value you bring – it’s just about buyer’s actual situation and why changing it would make sense.
This is all the “discovery” stage. Next up is “opportunity.” We’re going to move people from “interested” (“I’ll take the call”) to “active.”