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verb – cause to come to a place or participate in a venture by offering something of interest or advantage.”a campaign to attract more visitors to Shetland”
cause (someone) to have a liking for or interest in something.”I was attracted to the idea of working for a ballet company”
There are thousands of individuals and companies using online communication channels to sell themselves, their companies, products, services and solutions however most of them are doing it wrong. Blatant promoting of your company and products does not attract new customers. In fact, it does the complete opposite and repels them. People are not interested in your company and products and most certainly do not want this information forced on them.
We are conditioned to be ego-centric
So why do people adopt a short-term, opportunistic approach to selling themselves? Most people are ego-centric and see the world in terms of how it relates to them personally. From an infant, we were conditioned to think about “I” and “our” needs and wants, so as we matured and entered the business world, this conditioning stuck. When we develop products and solutions we think about how successful we will be and how much revenue we will generate.
Prospects are focussed on their own interests
A more refreshing approach is to turn this on its head and adopt an ego-less approach to sales. Instead of thinking about your product, services and solutions, focus on your prospective client’s interests, business issues and problems. Remember what I said earlier? Most people are ego-centric and are thinking about “What’s in it for me?” You are not interested in your company, products, services and solutions. They are focussed on their own problems and how to resolve them.
Do not use company or product as primary communication
If you are currently using the blatant promotion approach or plan to do so, why not consider a different approach that may yield more business opportunities in the long-term? Letting people know about your company, your people, how you can solve their problems, your existing customers, case studies and testimonials is very important however it should not be used for primary communication.
Show an understanding of your prospect’s business challenge
Prospective clients will show a lot more interest in you if you focus on them. By displaying an understanding of their industry, their company, their job role and the related challenges and business issues will attract a lot more attention. If you can publish thought leadership relating to these business issues on a regular basis which is interesting, thought provoking, insightful and educational, your prospective clients will continue to listen to you. During this process you will build credibility, be seen as a trusted adviser and go-to person should they need assistance. Continued communication will also ensure that you stay top-of-mind.
Nurture your prospects with value-adding content
I equate this “customer first” communication approach with dating. It is easy to get the first date however if you spend this time talking about yourself the entire evening there is a good chance you will not get a second date. If you focussed more on the other person, asked more questions and listened more, you will have created a much better impression and increased the chances of securing a second date.
Still using the dating analogy, continual development and sharing of thought leadership would be the same as the series of dates that take place after your first date. This is the nurturing phase where you build a relationship, which hopefully, is sustainable and endures for a long time.
Court your prospects until they are ready to buy
Everyone are buying however they do not want to be sold to. A good salesperson does not sell. They provide the right information and allow the client to arrive at a buying decision. The other factor to consider is that everyone is at different stages of the buying cycle. You need to attract the attention of a potential buyer and keep their attention until they are ready to buy. If you don’t, then they will be looking at your competitor’s company and products. By sharing value-adding content and having conversations with your prospects on a regular basis, you have the advantage of courting them until they are ready to commit.
By leading with a product pitch you have one chance of communicating with a prospective client. Leading with value-adding content enables you to communicate repeatedly with the same prospect.
People are not interested in your company. They are interested in themselves. Focus on them and not yourself and you will attract more attention.
Your prospects are at different stages of the buying process. A product pitch MAY work if they are buying at that specific time but in most cases they are not buying. Providing value-adding content on a regular basis keeps you top-of-mind for when they ARE ready to buy.
Educational content enables you to build rapport, credibility and be seen as a trusted adviser. This lends itself to a long-term, sustainable business relationship rather than a short-term, opportunistic business transaction.
I train thought leaders on how to build credible, long-term relationships through online engagement. Visit my LinkedIn profile to access more articles relating to this subject. I welcome your feedback, comments, questions and anything else you would like to add.