Your customer is rarely ready now. They may be ready in time if you remain relevant; however, this takes work and care. Work is in the way you communicate and deliver what is valuable with your prospective buyer. Care comes in the way you own the problems your buyer has. It has much less to do with your desire to sell and everything to do with what is important to your customer. There is an old saying, “A carpenter doesn’t buy a drill. They are buying a quarter-inch hole.” That is results-thinking not features and benefits.
Assume that most people you first engage with are not ready to buy. You are out of phase with where they are at today more often than not. There is a setup which has to be addressed to prepare them to buy. This setup fosters trust and increases your value proposition. It is made up of the following:
1. Promotion: The marketplace is a super-highway of choices. There are too many good choices out there, and it is hard to distinguish what is valuable and what is not. Value is continually changing based on what is needed by the buyer. If it is not needed, then there has to be promotion to increase desire. Promotion largely focuses on the quarter-inch hole and driving home the message that you are the best way to make the hole.
2. Profiling: You get the wrong messages all the time. When you are marketed with cat food as a dog lover or junk food as a Whole Foods shopper, the seller missed big. They are selling on hope. They are hoping you are the one they are looking for. There are too many available and appropriate systems to make connecting the right message at the right time with the right person happen. If you invest in these systems and make them work, you are connecting. If you are ok with luck and knowing that 95% of your mailers, emails and impressions won’t work, then keep following the masses and keep wasting your bullets. You may not get a second chance to make a true connection.
3. Pain: This is where sellers make the biggest mistake. They have bad manners and start selling. Who cares what you have to offer if you don’t understand my pain? Did you bother to ask, and have you articulated? You must describe the pain concretely and specifically. This is both for the benefit of the buyer and the seller. The buyer feels you know their situation. You need to know their situation to be of value and service. Amplify the pain and spend 90% of your energy understanding and communicating this to the buyer. It makes selling a formality.
4. Proof: If you are telling the world how great you are, your credibility is low. If someone else is saying it, then you are positioned with a stranger perfectly, especially if it is the same pain story. Package the medium to share the story. Make the story the same as each of your prospective customers. It will go a much longer way investing in the stories made alive than puffing up your image.
Your prospective customer wants to buy. The question is whether it is from you or someone else who establishes trust by dating them and helping them become ready. Too many businesses misstep by how they approach and court the buyer. With so many choices, not doing your homework and setting up a one-to-one buying process only helps to strengthen your competitors’ appeal. Help your customer pick you by making them ready. It is all about buying. Leave the selling to the other guys.