Sharing Ideas for a More Powerful Sale
In the last article we discussed the importance of establishing a genuine and aligned connection with people. Doing this in the right way will enhance how you approach your sales and marketing efforts.
Once you have established that connection (don’t forget that you can of course do this through genuine rapport-building) you then need to share ideas. When two forces collide, there is always some friction. Establishing a connection is the lubricant to softening that friction. It also acts as a lubricant to softening how your ideas are received.
When you make that connection, you don’t just tell people what you are selling/offering and then ask if they want to buy. Well, you wouldn’t do so if you wanted to make a sale! If you think about any advert you have seen, they are all trying to communicate an idea to you. Would you like to reduce muscle pain? Would you like to get rid of dandruff? How would you like to become rich? All these adverts are conveying an idea to you. All of them are also conveying an idea about how to move you from where you are now, to a better place once you use their product or service (more on this below). What ideas are you sharing with the people you are connecting with?
To help you create a set of powerful ideas, for the right customer, you should break down the process in the following way:
· WHO should I share ideas with?
· WHERE do I share these ideas?
· HOW do I convey these ideas?
These steps are principally conducted through marketing, but the last step can also be used in the sales dialogue.
Brian Tracy states this eloquently, “The greater clarity you have with regard to your ideal customer, the more focused and effective your marketing efforts will be.” This may sound obvious, but I cannot tell you the number of companies, professionals and entrepreneurs I have spoken with who are not able to clearly articulate who their ideal customers are. If you don’t know this, then you are prone to trying to service everyone and, in the end, won’t serve anyone well. The result is you will waste money, waste your time and increasing your frustration.
Here is a method I have found to really help entrepreneurs and professionals:
1. Identify your Edge — what makes you exceptional? What skill, traits or knowledge do you have that makes you stand out from anyone else? This may be an individual trait, or it could be a trait of your company.
2. 3 Biggest Pain Points — be very specific and try to think about the emotional pain, rather than rational (I spoke about this in the first article ). For example, for my business some great pains my customers face are: ‘frustrations with not being able to sell and earn more’, ‘finding themselves working harder that in their 9–5 job and feeling they have not gained the freedom or better lifestyle that they envisioned’ or ‘being very confused on how to market their brand and frustrated with not knowing who to turn to’.
3. 3 Biggest Desires — again be specific and tap into the emotions of your customers. Try to see things from their point of view, not your view of how they should be.
Once you have got clear on these 3 points, you can now start creating your customer Avatar. There are plenty of examples of what this would look like, however this does not need to be too complicated. You can simply describe the type of person who would match the pain points and the desires, whilst also appreciating your unique value. For example, a client of mine sells high-end camper vans. His likely Avatar would be:
· Male or female aged 35–65
· Prefer outdoor recreations to luxury holidays
· Has gained more freedom as their children have now moved out
· Recently retired
· Has a good credit rating
· Values quality and reliability over price
· Values personanlisation and having a van that is to their specification
One important point to note is you are not always going to have just one type of customer. People have often asked me about how many marketing tactics they should have. My answer is always ‘How many types of customers do you have?’
You should segment your customers according to their lifestyle, desires and pain points. For example, the client I mentioned also has a segment of customers who are young, come from a wealthy background and enjoy going to festivals. They will have a need for his camper vans. Will the marketing campaigns be different to the older customers he also targets? Of course! You should therefore be clear on the Avatar for each segment as you will have different ad campaigns and approaches for each.
One last point, don’t overdo this by creating 10 different segments. Unless you are a large company, with a large portfolio of diversified products and businesses, then you will not need to do this. Instead, start by focusing on the top 3 segments that are generating (or can generate) 80% of your sales.
This is a large topic that could easily be covered in several books. But there are some fundamentals you can now use from the exercise you completed above.
Too often, people jump into this stage without considering who they want to target. We hear it all the time and the most common one nowadays is ‘be present on all social media platforms’. As you saw in the client example above, do you think 65-year olds are going to be that present on social media? The probability is low. It is also premature as you haven’t identified what they are doing on social media? Are your ideal customers using social media to educate themselves on products? Or, do they use another source for learning?
Understanding your customer’s journey is key. This is essentially how they progress through:
At each stage of this journey, customers will have certain mediums and resources that they trust. Knowing what they are is critical to ensuring that you are present in the right way and communicating the right things for more impact.
We will cover this in more detail in another article, but for now think about:
· Where do your ideal customers turn to for each stage of their journey?
· Are you present in these areas?
· Are you present in the right amount?
· What are you saying to your ideal customers at each stage?
· Are you engaging with them in a way that will resonate based upon where they see you? There is no point in educating the buyer if they are at the Purchase stage; you will only dissuade them from buying from you!
Does the structure and feel of your website resonate with your ideal customers? Very important as your website is your ‘digital shop window’ and most of your marketing will ideally lead the customer to visit your website.
Finally we come to the HOW.
You have identified who your ideal customer is. You have gained some clarity on their buying journey and where they go to for each stage, especially the Awareness stage. Now, you need to say something powerful that resonates and induces Interest, then Desire and finally Action (AIDA).
This is where you now share your ideas.
One powerful way is to jolt someone out of their daily mindset. Why? Nowadays people are far more informed than ever. It is so much easier for someone to find the information they need and to get a complete picture of what they will want. In the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, people relied on companies and salespeople for this. Now, the power has come squarely in the hands of the buyer. This is why taking the time to understand the WHO and the WHERE will ensure you are an influential force.
We can all agree that we are drowning in information. We are spoilt for choice. You would think this abundance enables us to make the right decision, but you would be wrong. With all this information, we are now starving for wisdom! Because it has become easier for anyone to share their thoughts, people are often faced with conflicting opinions and recommendations (the irony of this is not lost to me). What people desperately desire is reliable guidance from someone who truly understands them and their desires. Have you ever been in a situation where you have taken so long to make a decision, researched a lot of options, and then finally got so fed up that you just made a decision to end the agony? I have. What is worse is that I then realise that the decision I made was not the best one!
Your customers won’t want to go through that painful experience. People fear making the wrong decision. Therefore, buyers want to be led. They want someone trustworthy, and with expertise, to help make this process more pleasurable. Believe it or not, people also want to be challenged and shown whether there is a better way. Giving someone insight and data is no longer enough; we have plenty of those. What people want to know is if there is a better way to improve their lives.
This Challenger Method is especially powerful in a B2B sales situation. Customers often have their own opinions and have been doing something a certain way for a while. Because of this familiarity bias, they are convinced that this is the right approach. Any change in this approach is perceived as risky, hence their hesitancy in making a decision to change. This is the fear element I spoke about in the last article.
Challenging the status quo is something that we see in so many adverts now, that we sometimes don’t notice it being done. For example, I see many ads related to entrepreneur best practices, but the most powerful ones are those that tell me what not to do. They give me a snippet of the most common mistakes that I could be doing. This challenges me, but more importantly, it is showing me that I am receiving more pain with my status quo than the pain I would receive if I change what I am doing.
When you are engaging with a customer, are you just stating insight jargon or are you shaking their emotional state by showing them that their current path is leading them to even greater pain?
People often use storytelling to convey this in a powerful way. Pixar are masters at this. Their favourite structure is:
Once upon a time there was [blank]. Every day, [blank]. One day [blank]. Because of that, [blank]. Until finally [bank].
Read that again. Do you see the pattern? Once upon a time there was someone who was doing the usual activities; every day. Then one day, someone came in and shared an idea for a new way. Because of that there was a change. Until finally that person experienced a new way, a better way.
In the end, that is what sales and marketing is about: changing people’s actions and perceptions. We are seeking to change someone’s emotional state. We are saying that their current path is ok, or bad, but if they take our product/service then they will experience a better emotional state. Plus, we should also convey that making the change is not painful; in fact, staying the same is more painful than if you made the change (I will discuss how to show this in the next article).
So, what ideas are you sharing in your marketing campaigns or sales discussions? Are your ideas relevant? Are they compelling? Do they jolt the customer and disrupt their thoughts? Do you give them a vision of a better future or better emotional state?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. I also welcome any topic suggestions for future articles.
About Moeed Amin:
I help entrepreneurs and independent professionals grow their income. Most business leaders are excellent at their craft, but to become a successful business you need to become excellent at sales and marketing. Unfortunately, there is too much confusion out there on how to excel at the commercials. My experience, and research centres, bring you cutting-edge insights and training to help give you an edge and grow your sales. To learn more, get in touch by visitingwww.proverbialdoor.com.