It is harder than ever to build trust today, thus, you have to focus on positioning. Bring value through content first. How you are perceived by your prospective buyer can be affected by the work or the lack thereof you do before you meet with them. While many salespeople are trained in outdated ways of prospecting, there are new approaches which resonate with how we like to be approached as buyers today.
How We Regard Content
The internet has placed the power in the hands of the buyer. We instinctively search, research and self-service with regards to educating ourselves about products, services and people. As a salesperson, you are a product as well. How you are displayed, perceived and positioned is entirely up to you. The hard work comes in building the appropriate systems and carefully thinking through every mouse click and experience your prospective buyer will have.
If you are outbound in your sales process, here is a simple framework for connecting with credibility rather than low trust. Trust is the key.
Focus On Your Prospect
There is something you would like to say with your prospect. Typically, a salesperson would rather pick up the phone rather than write. Second, it’s expedient to email. Both tactics lose the strategic value which could be captured in building a system.
Your prospect has some kind of problem they are seeking to solve or are not thinking about. Your job is to engage the discussion around the problem. Thus, write an article which is housed on your professional blog system. The article should be optimized for search engines so that it has lasting value. Every article you write becomes an asset. You are able to be found in the future and your authority and relevance will rise. Contrast this with every email you write. Every email becomes disposable and only consumed by one or a few people. Though it is convenient, it does not have the same positioning.
Ensure your article connects both specifically and broadly. Having a specific person to write for helps you focus the content. In the meantime, there should be a dual tract in your thinking to allow it to serve multiple people like the person you are approaching.
Connect With Your Prospect
Social Media has evolved to become a new collaborative inbox for people. Use Twitter and LinkedIn to make a connection with your prospect. Review their tweets and posts. Find something which connects and you are able to have a discussion around.
In Twitter, you can make a Mention of the person. Simply use the “@” symbol before their Twitter handle, such as @ascendworks. An example would be, “Enjoyed the article by @ascendworks on #positioning.” Note the “#” symbol. This makes the following word a tag in Twitter and anyone searching on that term will find your post.
The Mention will show up in the respective person you are trying to connect with. They will likely comment back and follow you. Once you both are connected, you have an avenue to open a dialogue. In this go slow. You are a stranger. Send a message which delivers value by pointing them to the article you wrote. Be sure to shorten the url at http://bit.ly. An example message would be “AscendWorks, thanks for following. I would love to connect. I think this article would be valuable http://bit.ly/g66Mn4”
Thus, you have positioned with value. This is a path to building trust. Next, you want to watch for their digital body language.
Digital Body Language
A marketing automation system which gives you intelligence about what your prospect is doing with your content is critical for your approach. You can see what they are reading and be alerted on the timing. This allows you to have a personalized and timely engagement with your prospect. Furthermore, you can see if trust is being built. We call it a breadcrumb trail. You may have several trails. The goal is to entice your buyer into further engaging your content and get to know you.
The consumption of your content builds trust. It positions you as an expert. We trust and respect experts. Our guard goes up with salespeople. The work you do in driving a strategic approach will classify you as one or the other. Experts work within strategic systems. Traditional salespeople play a numbers game and abuse others time. It’s better to approach fewer well-targeted prospects with value and precision than guess and interrupt many people. You lose your credibility and are only building mistrust with no systems.
Syndication And Metrics
Your work is never wasted. You are building a sales system rather just being a salesperson. It revolves around content which is produced and proclaimed.
Within your blog system, be sure to have a search engine like Google Custom Search implemented. This will allow you to quickly Google your own content for future one-to-one sales engagements to repeat the process.
Ongoing, you should syndicate your articles by posting on Twitter and LinkedIn to drive further inbound traffic. Metrics show you who is coming and when to engage them. Thus, your system creates a process for a person desiring to engage you rather than a process of interruption.
The process to be executed again is:
- Identify and research your prospect
- Write a personal, relevant and timely content piece
- Post the content in your professional blog system
- Connect via Twitter and LinkedIn using Mentions
- Provide value with followers using your article as a positioning piece
- Monitor digital body language
- Repeat the process with Step 2 or searching on your past content to recycle
Make it a goal to avoid risking mistrust through interruption and disregard for other people’s time and attention. Instead, build and focus your value system. You will not only be within the stream of the new economy, but you will be building an asset which has exponential value as you become found, recognized and regarded.
One thought on “Inbound Marketing Strategy With Value And Content First”
This article really resonated with me. I am a firm believer that people want to associate with, engage with, work with, employ, purchase from and deal with only others in which they have built a relationship of *trust. *Typically, salespeople launch right into a diatribe about what they are selling and why the person opposite them should buy it.
I have always preached that before one can even start talking about what it is they want to sell, they need to establish a platform of trust. Once in place, the platform will support any presentation and result in a much greater likelihood of the hoped-for outcome. Like a stool, the Platform of Trust needs a minimum of 3 legs in order for it to stand.
The basic legs that are required are: 1. Trust in you as the person presenting the product/offer 2. Trust in the company you represent 3. Trust in the product/offer that you are there to discuss. Once a person has thought these items through, they become intuitive and a good trust-builder will easily incorporate all three legs in a 2-3 minute welcome introduction. Once that has been successfully delivered, there is a firm platform upon which the presentation may be set upon.
I must confess that I am guilty as charged! I often reach out with a phone call or even schedule a phone call to discuss something that could have been just as easily communicated by writing an article. I am equally (if not more) guilty of the email interruption methodology. These methods risk possibly reaching the intended target at a time that they are not ready to hear from me. Plus, once penned, an article is available to re-visit, it can be passed to others, and the intended recipient can go to it when they are fully ready to engage with it. The added benefit is that the article can be viewed and read by others and at any time in the future -it lives indefinitely.
The real test is to publish and start to watch the results. It will be both interesting and gratifying to know that others, who i have never even met, want to read and hear what i have to say. With the viral aspect of the web, who knows who my words might reach!? This is an exciting feeling to know that at any time, the world could be reading my thoughts! I look forward to seeing who will become a follower of my writings….