C’mon folks it’s 2012, the days of being able to close on most sales transactions with the style of a pushy used car salesman, are gone. That window closed over a year ago. Not that you can’t still close people, but the residual factor is usually gone when you use this approach. We now have to consider the “Life Time Value” [LTV] of each prospect we come across. The reason is simply because of social media. Thanks to thought leaders like Mark Zuckerberg, the whole way that we perceive salespeople and marketing tactics, is changing at a rapid pace. Plus now we have a way to stay connected and engaged with our clients/prospects in a seemingly real way. It’s every salesperson’s goal to be the first person your past clients think of when they are ready to buy your product/services again. Thanks to social media you can make that happen. You just have to be cool about it.
We are becoming more visually stimulated beings. We want to look at content with infographics. We want to look at Facebook posts with pictures. [One a side note: I think it is all Pinterest’s fault] Things that really stand out and are aesthetically pleasing to our eyes, are the only things that matter these days. It’s no longer a world were cold hard sales calls full of feature dumping, are the most effective way of marketing. Matter of fact they are the least effective.
Let’s talk about the variety of ways you can stay in touch with your past, present and future clients. First up, let’s look at email. Email is no longer considered one of the highest influential ways to market. The truth is, that the average email open rate is only 12%. Don’t EVEN allow me to go there on direct mail. Most of it gets thrown away, and only 7% of direct-mailers actually show a positive ROI. Even traditional media is becoming less and less influential. (unless you’re in politics) Only 16% of all TV and Radio marketing campaigns yield a positive ROI. Now, don’t get me wrong. If you are doing these things, you are good at them and getting above average results, DON’T STOP. Always keep doing what works.
What these numbers tell us, is that our audience is getting smarter. They’re getting more hip to the same old sales pitches. The marketplace is demanding for someone to listen to them. Someone to give them transparency in marketing. Someone to show them where their pain actually is, and then cure that pain. You need to step into that space, and step out of being an old school pushy salesperson. You are now responsible for being THE expert consultant, with a much needed solution to their big a$$ problem. It’s at this point when your sphere of influence becomes a buyer from you. It’s at that point that you become a “Closer”, the sales equivalent of a “Made (Wo)Man”. It’s that plain and simple.
So you might ask “That’s all fine and cool Ryan, but how do I go about doing that?”
My answer to you is simple. “Follow the steps below.”
Step 1: Listen to your audience.
How do you listen to your audience with out physically talking to them? The best way to listen to your audience, without having to pick up phone and have a conversation with them, or without having to really get to know them better is to stalk them online. Take a look at their Facebook page. Take a look at their Twitter, their LinkedIn page, find out the things that they’re saying. Actually read their posts. Look at their pictures and familiarize yourself with their online character. Chances are, what they care about on SM and in life are usually the same. See if your prospects talk about their family life. See if they are into sports. Look and see how often they post about their business. This gives you instant ammo to start a conversation that they also WANT to have. With a little finesse, you will have them telling you what you need to hear in order to close the deal.
Step 2: Connect and engage with your audience.
We all know that it takes seven touches in order to influence an individual and for them to become familiar with you. We also know that people buy from people they know like and trust. With these things in mind the easiest, fastest, and most influential way to accomplish the 7 touches you need, can be done easily via social media. The first touch comes from the prospect seeing your post. The second touch comes from when they like or comment on your post. The third touch comes from you @tagging them in your response comment. The fourth touch is a gimme, everyone likes to see their name written and hear it spoken. The fifth is when almost all SM sites automatically send an email when you mention them, retweet them or whatever. The 6th and 7th are when you keep the conversation going by keeping the comments engaging. Remember this: Statements end in a period. Engaging post end in question marks. There’s the six and seven touches that you need accomplish to immediately gain influence and familiarity with your audience. this compels them to buy from you, without you having to jam features and verbally vomit why they should be buying from you. Let them come to you and say “this is why I’m with you, it’s because of your expertise.”
Step 3: Question the confession
So what does question the confession actually mean? Well first off, that’s my saying. I believe you have to ask the right questions to make a sale. Too often times salespeople try to tell tell tell tell tell tell tell. If I’m constantly just telling you stuff/features, and even if you’re listening, you’re only trying to convince them of something you’re not closing, A true closer is waiting for the prospect to talk about the bad. Many times we are on sales calls and listening but to only the good things. Who cares about good things? If things were good, you would not be talking. You poke around and ask the hard questions. The ones that make them uncomfortable and realize they need improvement. Then once they tell you what that pain is, you tell them you can make that pain go away. Easy, simple and a lot less words and energy.
One more thing you must know though. There’s a big difference between just a conversation, and a SALES conversation. A conversation is someone that you’re just talking to about your business, and has no inclination of buying your stuff, and is not even remotely interested in your services. A sales conversation is knowing you have someone on the line that has the ability to buy your product. A sales conversation is with someone who can significantly and immediately benefit from what you have. So now with that being clear…
So we are having a sales conversation, then what? Turn that conversation over completely to them. You ask short questions, they give long answers. If their answers are short, ask more/better questions. This requires a great deal of patience. In the end, they will have told you what they are good at and if you are good, they will have told you what they are bad at. It’s at that very moment you offer the solution you know will fix the problem. If they show resistance your response is simply “but you did say that you [insert what they said here]” it is at that point they usually say “you’re right, thank you, let’s do this”
Three simple steps you can use to convert social media friends into great customers that you know and like working with. Try it. it is not easy, but it is simple. If you will simply have a little patience and wait for them to tell it, you can SELL IT!