Guest Post by Jack Vincent
Marketing is most effective when it pulls qualified leads into your pipeline, and that’s all about attracting.
Most psychologists agree attraction is an emotion. Emotions should not be confused with feelings. Feelings are a blend of thoughts and emotions.
Emotions are spontaneous. When something attracts us, in those first few seconds, we aren’t conscious of that attraction. However, our curiosity is piqued, our vision narrows and, often, our heartbeat changes.
Simplicity triggers emotions. Complexity thwarts emotions.
How can you hone your marketing messaging to its most compelling and simple form? What is it specifically that will impact your ideal customers’ hearts and minds?
When you nail this, you generate qualified leads online (and offline). These prospects are motivated to learn more, so don’t demotivate them by burying them in complexity. Make their vision narrow, make their jaws drop, make their hearts skip a beat. In essence, seduce them!
Early in a first conversation, it’s still important to attract. So we could call this marketing. The transitions from one phase to another are never hard and fixed, but they are real.
Perhaps you plant a seed of vision as to how you believe they can improve their business or how they will benefit by being part of the community. Perhaps you cite a successful example, a simple case study, of how you helped one of your existing clients achieve success.
Keep it relevant to their business minds, but find the hot button, the trigger, to keep seducing them to go deeper with you into a conversation.
Open with something that is going to appeal to their minds, yet impact their hearts.
Now it’s time to go deep.
As I write in A Sale Is A Love Affair – Seduce, Engage & Win Customers’ Hearts, the killer app in building trust is listening. The best way to do that is to ask good questions.
Prospects will, of course, want to learn about you. That’s a conscious expectation they have.
But what they also want, consciously or not, is for you to understand them. They want to feel your love. Humans have a need to be understood, and this is where trusted lovers win hearts… and it’s where customer-focused salespeople win hearts, as well.
Many sales have been lost by talking too much. Few have been lost by listening too much.
For the truly customer-focused salesperson, for the trusted advisor, the purpose of opening a meeting is to earn the right to ask questions. In fact, when you leave a first meeting, a good exercise is to reflect back on the meeting and ask yourself, “Who did more of the talking? The prospect or I?”
If the prospect did 60 percent of the talking, you’re doing well. And if the prospect talked a lot about their challenges and opportunities, you’re doing very well.
And how did you get them talking?
In a discussion with the CEO of a startup or a branding agency, for example, I might phrase my questions in my authentic Woodstock style. “What’s keeping you up at night?” or, “Are your prospects falling in love with you at first sight, and are you keeping the love through to sleeping together? Are they staying in a committed relationship with you? Or are you getting a lot of one-night stands?”
If I’m speaking with the CMO of a major corporation, I might rephrase to, “What are your biggest challenges?” or, “What opportunities do you want to capture, but are challenged in doing so?” or, “When you lose a deal, what’s the number one driver? Why do you think that happens?”
When your prospective customers or community members answer such questions, resist the urge to throw a solution at them right away. Instead… show them the love!
Keep going deeper.
You got them talking, right? Don’t forget, you’ve earned that. So don’t throw away what you’ve earned by talking too much. Keep listening, and keep asking good questions.
We all know how important it is to earn the status/title of trusted advisor. Listening and understanding is the best way to earn that status. Be a resource during the sales process, not just once you’ve earned the right to send invoices!
I have a five-step questioning model for different phases of the sales process, which fall into two question types:
- Questions whose answers reveal facts, and
- Questions whose answers prompt the prospect to see things differently, or to see things more clearly
This second type of question is where you become a resource. This is where “trusted advisor” status is earned. This is true customer-focus. This is love.
Keep it simple in marketing. Go deeper in sales.
Image: Dennis Skley via Flickr, CC 2.0
Jack Vincent is a sales advisor, speaker and trainer who divides his time between Woodstock, NY and Luzern, Switzerland. His book, “A Sale Is A Love Affair – Seduce, Engage & Win Customers’ Hearts” is now available on Amazon. Subscribe to his blog at www.JackVincent.com or follow him on Twitter.
JackVincent Aaaaahhhhh, You went there! Karen Swim Greg Brooks wittejoe lisagerber
@eriklarson77 ShellyKramer shonali
Erik, in A Sale Is A Love Affair I have a chapter, “If You Want Them To Believe It, You Gotta’ Love It.”
I think that plays a bit to your point, great products market themselves. Having said that, great sales skills can help from losing a few. “Keep it simple in marketing” can also mean that great products can paradoxically help your marketing process. After that, we almost always need to get face-to-face with prospects to convert them to customers. “Go deeper in sales.”
Indeed, keep your products (and services) great! Thanks!
Shonali Karen Swim Greg Brooks wittejoe lisagerber
Shonali, this has been a long, hard lesson for me to learn, too. I tend to be a talker, a presenter, a storyteller. Yes, there is a time for that, but I also catch myself sometimes, and that little voice in my head says, “You’ve been talking for 90 seconds. Slip in a question!”
I don’t think I’ve ever regretted doing so… while I HAVE regretted letting myself, if I may, wax lyrically :-)
Shonali, delighted to do so. Let’s set up a time, with the time difference, during your morning.
How did I end up in Luzern? A woman brought me here, and kids keep me here :-)
JoeWitte Hi Joe,
I agree that we have to know more about our prospects’ problems and solutions than they do. But I also believe that our solutions will be accepted more readily when we diagnose before we prescribe.
One way to do that is to say, “We’ve done our research, and KNOWING WHAT WE KNOW RIGHT NOW, we have a few potential solutions. We’d like to explore a bit more directly with you before prescribing one way or the other.”
If you don’t, you could prescribe something they don’t have the budget for, when they could start slowly with a smaller budget. But if you prescribe too big too fast, the prospect may balk, and then you’re not starting optimally.
This is true in marketing solutions as it does to financial solutions to broadcast rights, etc. Is IT really so unique? While salespeople like to say, “Our business is different; those best practices don’t apply to our industry,
So why not say, “We had a client with a similar situation as you, and we handled it this way. But we’d like to explore a bit more because we know you’re unique…”(?)
I firmly believe that prescribing before listening does not build trust… and trust is our most valued currency.
Agree with the “marketing simple” and “complexity with sales”. For us software sales folks, the paradigm has shifted a bit. We can’t ask the client what keeps them up at night. We have to KNOW what keeps them up at night, because we know what keeps their competitors up at night. Bottom line, we have to to in as experts, and come in with solutions to their problems. They tend to look at us funny if we ask them what their problem is. May be different for more consultative/ services based companies.
shonali You’re so welcome. Soulati markwschaefer mmangen Tenacity5Media ShellyKramer RenildeDeWit JackVincent
Jack, as I was going over your post (prior to publishing) this sentence kept jumping out at me: “Many sales have been lost by talking too much. Few have been lost by listening too much.”
That’s such a good lesson! I suspect it will resonate with Karen Swim , Greg Brooks and wittejoe to name just a few. I’d love to hear what they have to think. And, of course, lisagerber !
JackVincent I’ll take you up on that!
shonali always a pleasure :) Soulati markwschaefer mmangen RichBecker ShellyKramer RenildeDeWit JackVincent
Soulati markwschaefer mmangen Tenacity5Media RichBecker ShellyKramer RenildeDeWit Belated thanks for sharing JackVincent #WUL post!
P.S. I’m happy to “go deeper” and learn about any European travels you may have on the horizon. Happy to share some of my experiences here!
Delighted to be here, Shonali. Thanks so much, and keep spreading the love…
ShellyKramer shonali great thought. 8 would add and deeper in product. Great products market themselves. #smallbiz
medlinksolution JudyBellem TYVM for sharing JackVincent guest #WUL post!