Everyone Is Not Your Customer

Not all prospects are equal. Just because someone visited your site or store, does not mean you have permission to engage them. A portion of them will at some point give this permission based on their preferences and requests. The others will react negatively towards unsolicited marketing advances. We should know this because we are buyers, too.

The mindset of the buyer is critical to understand and capture.

The traditional marketing approach is to send a one-size-fits-all message to everyone and hope for a few responses. This is lazy, irresponsible and destroys your credibility. The ability to work with the few who truly are your customers is available today. Depending on the readiness of your buyer, it is wise to deliver the right message at the right time to nurture the relationship with your brand. With a marketing automation system, you can engage in a custom, one-to-one fashion based on the digital body language of your unseen buyer.

Different marketing automation campaigns which nurture the customer based on their digital profile need to be developed and triggered. The strategy and personalized approach with the right timing need to be developed with a sensitivity to effective nurturing.

Most people in that first experience with you are not ready to buy. Therefore, providing value becomes an important component of the marketing automation strategy. Value can take many forms. It starts with the question, “What is valuable to your buyer?” This requires a mindset shift from, “How can I sell?” to “Why does a person buy?”

The exchange of value builds trust over time. This is required in a buying atmosphere where choices are abundant and skepticism is high. Connecting in terms of value often revolves around pain or pleasure. Depending on your value proposition, it is important to get at the root of the buyer’s pain or pleasure and deliver value methodically and precisely, speaking to their emotion. A few examples include:

  • Getting promoted
  • Increasing revenue
  • Overcoming boredom
  • Feeling productive

Your product or service is a means to such an end. Your message must connect personally, relevantly and timely based on the reaction of the buyer through automated systems. When they emerge with a readiness based on your marketing automation triggers, then your sales process will effectively engage with your true customer.

The goal is to design for the few, not the many. This focuses your marketing automation to avoid the drag from irrelevant buyers and deliver value to the ones that truly will reward you with sales and loyalty.

A Bowl of Soup

As a business advisor, the story I am going to share with you is one that I see more often than not. There is a story in the Book of Genesis about two brothers – Esau and Jacob. Though they are twins, Esau was the firstborn allowing him the full benefits of the “birth-right,” therein. In a sense, he had a built-in trust fund waiting to inherit.

Their family had learned to be cunning in their dealings. Jacob learned this skill as well. The story is told that one day when Esau came back from hunting, he was famished and tired. He asked his brother Jacob to relieve his hunger. Seeing Esau’s predicament, Jacob cut a business deal. Esau gave up his birthright for one bowl of soup. He was so focused on his present pain that he could not see value in something far off.

Later, Jacob deceived his own father and received a blessing under disguise as Esau. He received blessings while Esau received curses.

The story is told with a commendation of Jacob’s behaviors. I like Jacob for his ability to see value and pursue it. His methods are questionable; however, he is admirable because he risked everything he had to get what was valuable. He paid a price for the value he sought. It was value that was beyond any instant gratification.

We are around Esau people every day. They would go for the bowl of soup. They are near-sighted. They have a hard time paying a price. It is easy to win against such people. Just pay a price they will not. Working harder, gaining more knowledge, and spending more money are hard for cost-conscience people. They ask how little they can give for a dollar rather than how much. Business becomes about them, not you. Cost gets in the way.

It is obvious why so many business people fail. They are not willing or able to pay a price. They can only focus on what is in front of them and don’t truly go after what they want. They expect everyone around them to pay. They believe business works by investing as little as possible and expecting to get as much as possible at the cost of others.

Today is a great time to separate yourself from people who lack vision and passion and move into opportunities where the value players exist. Think about how you play the game of making money. If your mindset is always focused on cost, then watch out. You are always exposed. The guy who is willing to pay a price you are not will displace you. You may be good at spending other people’s money or using other people’s time, but that is because you can only think about the soup.

If your mindset, however, is to persevere, work harder than the next guy and pay a price, then the opportunities are abundant. Most people do not go the extra mile, much less the extra foot. The story of Esau later comments that his pathetic business transaction resulted in remorse and tears, yet he could change nothing though he desperately tried.

Pay a price. Learn to pay all the time. You will be developing the habits of winning in whatever endeavor you pursue. Peter Drucker reminds people, “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” Your good fortune may only be because someone else paid a price. Learn to pay a price and you will be finding the missed fortunes the short-sighted people around you cannot step into.

Caught Selling

As I was in the waiting room of an office, I could see the inevitable.  A buyer and a seller were missing each other; the same script being played out.  The professional seeking to sell his services is telling the buyer how great they are and what they have to offer.

If you turned the sound off, you could see the buyer going through the same motions as anyone who is being sold.  They start resisting, and the tension feels higher than necessary.  They are set up to say, “No,” rather than salivate for the value the seller has.

Have you ever caught yourself selling?  Once this happens, you start engaging in the ritual which causes the buyer to want to say, “No.”

Today, people are quick to say, “No,” for many reasons.  Imagine yourself peddling newspapers.  A guy is walking down the street towards you but quickly reacts instead of engages.  He kindly declines.  The scenario, similar to many others as well, is set up to fail.  The process, the method of connecting and the system for buying is not congruent with how you like to buy.

If you are caught selling, how about stopping the tape?  Here are likely reasons you are in the sales death roll:

  1. Lack of Positioning: You are not perceived as valuable.  You may be too casual or perceived as a commodity. There are many people, products and services like you. You may have done a poor job of helping them perceive value beyond the commodity in who you are and what you offer.
  2. Your Buying Process Is Boring: If the way you do business is always about a handshake and a smile, then think about how you appear to the buyer who moves through a month buying hundreds of goods and services.  You are competing with the experience each of those companies, brands and products is delivering – Nordstrom, Rain Forest Cafe, Starbucks, Apple – how does your buying experience match up?  They have standards from buying based on the value other businesses have set as an expectation.
  3. You Think About Yourself: Why should someone pick you?  If your answer starts with these words, “We,” “I,” and “Us,” then you lose.  The buyer does not care about you.  They want to know how you help them, make them more money and bring peace of mind to their world.  They want to hear you talk in terms of them, not you.  If you have been in conversations around vain people, you know what it feels like.
  4. They Believe You Want to Sell, Not Help: This is closely aligned with number 3 above.  This is about authenticity, motive and genuineness.  If you are focused on helping, then the buyer can sense this.  If you are focused on selling, then there is a guard that goes up.  Helping has you thinking about what the buyer is trying to accomplish.  They are not trying to buy your stuff. They are trying to solve a problem, make money, connect with people, have more peace, feel good about themselves, and an array of other true motives.  How does what you do help them?  Talk this way to avoid selling.
  5. You Don’t Have Value: What makes you different?  Good service is not different.  It is an expectation.  If a buyer perceives that you are the same as everyone else who does what you do, then they have a valid reason to treat you as a commodity.  Your articulation of value is a ruse, not a reality.  Make it real and communicate it.  No gimmicks. Making it real is hard work.  Do the hard work.

I enjoy watching Jim Carrey perform.  He is remarkable at contorting his behaviors to get us to laugh in an instant.  He also helps us break the scripts.  When Jim Carrey is inside of a social interaction, he is far from going through the motions, he is imagineering.   Why be captive to a dead end script?  If you are caught selling, you are setting up the buyer to say, “No.”  If you help the person buy and you have the business systems and approach set up to create a new script, the possibilities move towards your favor.  Break your script and redesign your approach.  When you are caught selling, it only shows you have to work your performance in a major way.   Want to learn more about how to change your script to attract more customers?  Take action and avoid the insanity of selling.  Learn what it means to hire AscendWorks business consulting to put together the systems and the scripts for attracting a customer, positioning your brand as valuable and creating a connection.  We create the systems which communicate relevantly and on-demand with your prospective customer through marketing and sales automation.  Redesign the script.

The Most Important Commodity

Every day my team fights for one precious commodity. We give money, time, energy and creativity for it. We spend thousands of dollars to get as much as we can. It is becoming more expensive and more scarce. It is your attention.

Remarkably, we have your attention right now. Later today, you will be taking in a relentless amount of text, images and sound. Your brain will be processing and shifting continually. The ability to distinguish between relevance and noise will become tiring and laborious.

Your customer will be doing the same thing. The reality is that your customer behaves differently than they did 20 years ago. They behave differently than they did even two years ago. Everything is becoming relentlessly fast. People’s email inboxes are overflowing and unorganized. Phone etiquette has stretched to the point that people do not even extend professional courtesy by returning calls. Flashy advertisements are ignored and bore onlookers. Everyone has too many choices. Everyone feels rushed. They are not paying attention to you. You look irrelevant and invisible. Continue reading