3 Simple Steps to Smash Barriers and Generate New Business
So how do you turn prospects into customers? First, you have to get to the decision-maker and he or she needs a reason to want to listen to you. If you have been in sales you have experienced prospects or their gate-keepers who tell you they are happy with their current suppliers’ quality, service, and price. They may even tell you they have no room for an additional supplier.
But you know better, because your product is superior, or performs differently, or benefits the customers in some way that the prospect hasn’t experienced yet.
Generally speaking, subordinates to the owner will not allow a new source to compete for their business. If the boss is happy they aren’t going to do anything to upset that balance. But if the boss is made aware that a competitor has an advantage that he could be using to make his business more profitable or more productive, suddenly the door is opened.
What would it take to open their eyes and change their mindset?
When a person’s life is made simpler or richer, there is always room for one more opportunity. If there wasn’t, we would all still be driving horse-drawn buggies.
Step 1. Exposure
The prospect needs to be made aware of what you provide that he needs or wants. That’s where exposure or advertising comes in. Think about the automobile. When it first became available people were perfectly happy with their horse and buggy.
But when people saw what it could do and could associate its practicality with their life, there soon became a demand. They didn’t have to feed it and it was low-maintenance. It occupied less space and was simple to operate. As it improved the demand grew.
As the value increased in the mind of the consumers, the popularity grew and sales surged.
Today, most auto manufacturers are clamoring for something unique to offer customers. That is why they now have electronics and entertainment systems in many of their vehicles. They actually created a demand for a segment of the population that they could meet with communications and entertainment capabilities that ten years earlier were never thought of. Now they are developing driverless cars.
Where do they find out about your products and services?
Online articles and blogs are today’s fastest news that gives examples addressing the wants and needs of companies just like them. But these articles and blogs must be written in a way to get the Internet search engines working for the benefit of your prospects and customers.
They are busy people and don’t want to spend any more time than necessary finding what they seek. Your marketing material must be optimized so that search engines can easily find it and display it prominently on the first results page, preferably at the top. And that is where paid search comes in handy.
Once posted to a website, for example, share the blogs with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media.
Step 2. Establish the Why by giving examples
Only after people are aware of your advantages are they able to make the decision to act. That is primarily an emotional decision. But in business (especially a young business) a purchase also has to be practical and justifiable or others (such as co-owners and partners and shareholders) may have a problem with their CEO making such purchases.
You’ll be able to show prospects the variety of unique solutions you can offer with several case studies for every segment of your products and services.
To do this, and this is where an experienced copywriter can be of great help to a business, you must state a problem and then describe why that problem needs to be addressed. You need to describe how big of a problem it is and what will happen if that problem isn’t corrected. And you need to differentiate your product.
This steady feeding of case studies to prospects can usually be enough to change the mindset of people that want and need solutions to a problem or challenge. Or, they want the same advantages that others are taking advantage of by purchasing the same things from you that they are finding out about.
It usually takes a certain amount of time, but it’s well worth the effort to build a base of credibility to establish the reasons your prospects will want to do business with you. It also makes the salespeople’s job easier when they have examples to share when presenting to their prospects.
For example, a manufacturer of parts we will call widgets had salesmen out in the field that were getting discouraged because they were competing with foreign companies and their cheaper widgets. They were unable to sell to the same companies because they did not understand the problems and challenges their prospects were experiencing.
Their employer explained that their more expensive widgets were made of superior grade material, and engineered in a way that they would operate better. These were mere features. The promise made was that they could produce higher-quality parts because the tolerances would be more consistent over longer production time.
The benefits (or the Why, as in, Why should I buy?) revealed to the prospect that the more expensive widgets would last longer and perform better which means that there are fewer costly production disruptions due to widget fatigue and work stoppage for widget replacement.
These were all valid reasons and a headache for the prospect who was always on the lookout for better ways of being more efficient and gaining an edge on his competition. The sales force benefited by addressing the needs of the prospects and having more reasons to share how their widgets were able to make each prospect happier and more profitable.
Be sure to include a clear call-to-action in every communication you provide to prospects and customers. You may get more sales than you might expect, and even if a sale doesn’t happen this time, it sends the signal that the prospect should be a customer because there are logical reasons to be.
Step 3. Share the knowledge
Do not make the mistake of boring the customer. They don’t really want information and statistics, although statistics do help in supporting the content, as in “71 percent of B2B companies use email marketing for customer acquisition, and 68 percent use it for customer retention, according to Act-On and Gleanster research.”
Customers ready to make buying decisions want knowledge, not information, so give it to them, and keep it coming. They want to do business with thought leaders and people that they perceive as authorities in their business.
Create how-to brochures and e-books to share valuable wisdom and offer it for free to receive for anyone that provides their name, email, and company name. Then use that to keep sending more offers and case studies to further entrench your presence.
Use email to keep them informed about other benefits of your products, services, and developments.
Just ask good questions
Ask them questions of what they would like to see happening that hasn’t happened yet, or would make them more profitable or would simplify their work.
Ask them to do an interview for one of your blog articles or even a podcast about a specific topic. Videos are easy to make and pretty cheap. Just be sure you use good audio equipment because without it the video is enjoyed less if not quickly abandoned.
Videos are gaining in popularity because they are fast and easy to understand. Your emails can invite prospects to hear what another person in their business sector has to offer and how they are benefitting from a product or service of yours, although not necessarily.
The point is to get in front of prospects and make believers of them before trying to sell them anything. By earning their trust you establish a bond of respect that enables all other business to ensue.
Does this mean that writing blogs and articles and case studies will change minds and open doors? It certainly doesn’t hurt to have these in place for when the opportunities arise.
And when you get a response to an email or a paid search advertisement offering something that a prospect will find valuable, it certainly gets the ball rolling.