You’re walking down a restaurant strip, not sure what you want to eat.
Many of the restaurants have spruikers loudly proclaiming theirs is the best on the strip, inviting you to come in.
They’re brash and your first inclination is to avoid them. You smile and try and duck past shaking your head.
Suddenly you notice a restaurant that’s different. Their spruiker simply stands behind a table with delicious looking samplers being kept warm.
She smiles. You stop. You try a few and go “yum”. You notice the restaurant looks inviting and is pretty full. People are laughing and having fun. Obviously a good sign
You walk in, sit down. Marketing ends and the selling conversation begins.
Until you place an order, the sale is still in the balance. A good waiter will ensure you are made comfortable, offer drinks, specials and take your order including upsells of side dishes and then desert and coffee (where the real profit is made).
Which business would you rather own? The restaurant with spruikers everyone avoids or one that gently gives you an experience of what they offer and invites you in on your own terms?
So assuming you’re not in the restaurant business how could you go about this?
First understand there are a number of discrete steps involved in marketing and then selling. And no, they’re not the same activity.
Marketing starts with your prospects as strangers. They don’t know who you are. You want to get their “attention” and some interest in what you have to offer.
You now want to move them from interest to exploring working with you. Trying a sample.
Once they’ve been sold “conceptually”, they may be ready to work with you. Now the real selling begins. And until they put their money where their mouths are, the sale is not complete.
Here we’ll only cover the first marketing steps using two common scenarios: Networking and being found on-line.
You meet at a networking function. After exchanging pleasantries, you ask each other what you do.
When it’s your turn, rather than spruiking your wares as most people do, hoping to score a client when they know nothing about you, stop!
At this stage you have no idea if they’re interested. Your only goal is to inform and qualify your prospect before the selling process starts. Think back to dating. Men, if you come on too strong, too fast, your prospective partner is going to run a mile in the other direction.
So offer them a taster.
It could be in the form of an article you’ve written. Or a complimentary introductory session – say 30 minutes where they get a sample of what you can offer with no risk to them.
Case studies and testimonials are another great way to demonstrate your expertise in a non salesy way. Well written outcome based case studies provide third party proof that you get results for people just like your prospects. Remember, people will believe a third party over what you directly say.
The same applies for someone who finds you online. Many of the websites we see are incredibly sparse in their content. You have no idea what they could do for you, how they do it or what results you could expect.
Offer samples in the form of downloadable material, be it articles, educational videos, interviews, case studies and testimonials.
Give first and then ask for their details so you keep feeding them quality information, and politely follow up.
Once they’ve got an experience of what you could do for them, and shown genuine interest, you can move into the selling conversation. Which is a topic for another article.
Now the only question is, “Will you do this?” I can assure you it’s worth the effort.
And if you’re in the “I don’t have the time or skill to create experiential marketing material and case studies” camp, give us a call on (02) 9499-78958 and we’ll get it done for you.
Rashid & Barbara.
P.S. As always check out the hundreds of other marketing and sales tips at https://revealedresources.com