Do you like prospecting for new business? Making cold calls? Suffering the rejection of “no” after “no”? Let’s face it. Many people find it a drag and it takes a lot of emotional effort to keep picking up the phone and calling time after time.
Talking to a friend who’s doing some call centre work highlighted the awful statistics. It took 94 calls to get a “yes, I’m interested”. 94 mind numbing calls where you have people be rude to you or just hang up to get one sale.
Now these guys sell pest control services and are willing to play the numbers game the old way.
But what if you’re selling a professional service or other high value item which takes multiple touches to get a sale?
Yes, you can make lots of prospecting cold calls. If you’re good, you’ll know how to engage your prospects in conversation and find out if there’s a fit. However, having been in corporate sales for years in my previous life, I know damn well it can take weeks, months and even years to get a major sale. You can make a large number of calls/meetings (average 9 – 15 touches) to the same prospect moving them along before getting a commitment to buy.
However, over the last few years the prospecting landscape has changed.
Looking back on last week’s article “Are you catering to the 94%?”, we saw that:
- 94% of your prospects will go online to research you, your company and your products and services before making a purchasing decision.
- 80-92% of senior business executives research business problems online and prefer to obtain information about your products and solutions through content such as white papers, blogs, articles, and educational materials before making the decision to call you.
As a result of this behaviour, who finds whom first is very, very important.
Because the buyer found you first, you have TWICE the chance of getting the buyer’s business.
Why? In the first scenario you were prospecting. In scenario 2 you were positioning yourself as the expert and they found you.
The buyer naturally has more respect for you because everyone knows you must climb the mountain to find the guru. Gurus don’t come down from the mountain hunting for disciples.
So how do you go about positioning yourself?
Arguably the best way to become a published author. Even if you sell almost no copies of your book, it acts as a positioning tool and makes you an “expert”.
However for most people, it’s easier to write articles which are published in industry magazines and on your web site, white papers, case studies and testimonials.
White Papers position you as the expert by providing helpful advice, demonstrating your capabilities and highlighting the benefits of working with you.
Using your white papers and other articles you can win free exposure in the press, and automate more of your sales process than you ever thought possible.
Good white papers and articles can be used for years and will bring you paying clients, time and time again.
Here are a few ways you can use them…
- 1.You can collect prospect contact details by offering the report as a free download on your website. This allows you to follow them up over time and keep feeding them interesting information. (This process should be automated. If you’d like to see an example in action download our 24 Proven Marketing Strategies by filling in your details here)
- 2.You can send them to a targeted prospect with a bunch of case studies and testimonials to warm them up and generate interest before calling them. Then once you call, your prospect already has a sense of what you could do for them.
- 3.You can leave a copy with a prospect after a meeting so they have a tangible reminder of what you can do for them.
And if you’re wondering, “Won’t the people that download the free report not need my company then?”
Your white paper is designed to showcase your expertise and prove you can solve their issues. Your report does not solve their issues for them, rather it encourages them to call for more information.
One of our clients, John Walker of RetireInvest has found the white paper we wrote for him on “How to minimise any financial difficulties before moving into aged care” an invaluable positioning piece for his financial planning services.
It positions himself as an expert in Aged Care Financial Planning and ironically brings him new “normal” business as well. (If you or a family member are thinking of moving into a retirement village or hostel, I strongly suggest you download and read the white paper here. I guarantee you will find the contents enlightening and John’s advice could save you a bundle!)
And the same goes for your business. If you sell any kind of complex or technical product or service – if you have an elegant solution to a challenging problem – then a well-written, well-publicised white paper may be the missing link in your sales and marketing strategy.
And finally, half the year has gone and the new financial year is upon us. How have your sales been the last 6 months? Now is the time to really get stuck into getting more business the smart way. i.e. Don’t wast 94% of your time playing the numbers game!
Talk to us about our integrated business and marketing coaching and implementation packages. Organisations who have taken our advice and done the work have had massive (and I mean massive) improvements in their revenue and profit while their competitors have fallen by the wayside.
Call us now on (02) 9499-7958 and we can have a confidential discussion on how you can improve both your marketing and your sales performance so you close more business faster.