The sales process is visual and attractive to manage. It feels like a higher level of control. It is showtime. We are with the prospective customer and get to display our salesmanship. A process helps make this more predictable and fruitful. Otherwise it is random and opportunities are lost.
However, if there is overemphasis on wooing and winning customers based on a salesperson’s tactics, then your process starts with little or no trust. Trust is the lubricant which makes selling a formality for those that work hard before the sales process begins.
Inbound Marketing Starts The Buying Process
Before you ever engage in selling, your customer is buying. They are searching, scanning and learning. They want to feel educated, empowered and comfortable before having a sales discussion. It is the buying process. They are persuading themselves and figuring out what they want.
Here is where you can be of immense value, not necessarily personally, but by offering your expertise. You have what is known as the curse of knowledge. You spend so much time thinking about your product, service, industry and technicalities that you forget that it is foreign for a newcomer to your space. Yet, your knowledge is extremely valuable.
In the buying process, you can help your buyer get what they want:
- Education. Packaging your knowledge in myriad forms of content – audio, video, written – should be easily found and easily accessed. Distribute this in a way that helps a person ask smart questions and feel like a peer when they do decide to engage in the sales process.
- Empowerment. Your buyer needs a framework for making a decision and a way to evaluate what you offer. This helps them feel in control in their decision. Provide such empowerment by helping them ask the right questions and understand your market, competition and even jargon. It may feel awkward if you are not used to doing this, but it will build trust as you are transparent and broaden the discussion to helping them see how a choice is made in context rather than in a one-sided fashion.
- Comfort. Helping your buyer feel competent and confident is important in a strange area. Think about how you feel when the mechanic is overwhelming you. It can cause you to shut down and withdraw. Invite the buyer into the discussion. Help them feel comfortable so that the sales discussion is a conversation rather than a lecture.
If your buying process is set up well in the inbound marketing system and process, then selling becomes much easier. You can tell because the buyer is ready and conversant with you. Trust is present.
Since information is democratized, why not be the leader in providing the right information at the right time before the selling begins?
What could such a process mean for your selling?