Today, more than ever, your prospects will do extensive research on you before they pick up the phone and call.
- 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 calling your company.
- According to a recent Price Waterhouse Coopers report, 83% of U.S. consumers go online to research electronics, computers, books, music and movies before buying those items in bricks-and-mortar stores. And we’re not that dissimilar!
Which is why you should take a top-down approach to your marketing collateral.
Start with the big picture – what problem you solve. Then provide more and more detail for those who want it.
Not everyone will consume it. But it must be there for those that will.
Just had a call from a prospect which underscores the point.
First thing he said was, “I’ve been reading your newsletters for a long time, have been to your website a number of times and felt the time was now right to call. Can you help me?”
Every client we’ve signed up has said similar things.
They’d read our newsletters, visited our site (several times), read about our programs, seen our material on LinkedIn and then called.
And when they did, they were already predisposed to buy.
Why? Because through our writing they already had a sense of our expertise and how we could help them. Credibility and trust had already been established.
No matter what you sell, people want enough information to make an informed choice. People want to know who they are dealing with and the results they’ll get.
That you understand their situation and issues. That you can solve them. They want proof in the form of case studies and testimonials. They even want to know your business philosophy. How you’ll respond if things go wrong.
All of which comes under the banner of “marketing”.
I define marketing as all the activities that occur to get a prospect to your door. Selling is getting them over the threshold to become a client.
Your goal is to have prospects qualify themselves, feel you can help them, and then call.
Which leads me to another point.
Who calls whom is very important.
A prospect who calls you after doing their research is twice as likely to buy than someone you cold call.
Providing extensive information allows your prospects to make an informed decision by:
- Helping your prospects better understand their problem.
- Guiding their research into possible ways to solve the problem.
- Shaping their expectations for a solution.
- Informing their evaluation process.
- Positioning your organisation as a trusted advisor.
Educating your prospects before meeting can significantly shorten the sales cycle.
You’ve already outlined their issues, shown them you have a solution, listed common objections and your responses and highlighted your uniqueness. All in a hands off way which does not appear self-serving.
Your prospects get to digest the material at their own pace without feeling any sales pressure. So when you do speak you can cut to the chase far more quickly.
And because they called you, you could double your conversion rate.
One final tip.
Talk about them. Not you. You wouldn’t believe how much material we see which goes, “Me, Me, Me”. About their company, what they’ve done, how great they are.
Believe me, no one gives a toss. All people are buying is a result. Everything you do must point towards this.