You can get lost in the never-ending stream of suggestions, advice and best practices to improve your sales & marketing performance. And although much of it is great, we still need to boil things down to simpler direction that can be quickly & easily folded into the work we do on a daily basis to close new business.
Here, then, are seven words to live by. Seven words that individually represent important concepts in accelerating sales & marketing performance, but together encapsulate a strong strategy and roadmap for improving results.
1. Give: Give freely, early and often. Give away ideas, training, best practices and insights that can make your customers more successful. Publish articles featuring your “secret sauce”, prospects will run back for more. Give free samples of your product or service, free access to your smartest people. Deliver value early and without pretence. It’s a quick way to develop trust, rapport and credibility with your new customers and prospects.
2. Benefits: Don’t talk about features. Don’t talk about solutions. Talk about benefits, results, outcomes. What you sell is a means to an ends. Focus on the ends. Your customers don’t want to buy solutions, they want to buy what happens after putting the solution in place. Talk about those benefits, those outcomes at the beginning, middle and end of your sales process. Constantly remind your prospects that you represent more than just a purchase, you represent the achievement of something bigger that will improve their business and/or their lives.
3. Partner: You’re not in this alone, and you’re not the only company addressing the needs of your target customer. No matter how important you are to your customers, you’re merely a part of the puzzle they need to piece together to achieve their ultimate end-goal. Find the other puzzle pieces in the market, and work closely with them to deliver a bigger, more valuable outcome to your customers and prospects. Pool resources, campaigns, marketing budgets and more to collectively and individually capture even greater market share than you could on your own.
4. Listen: Don’t talk so much. Ask questions. Understand your customer – their needs, their pain, their dreams, their objectives. Listen to them before they’re ready to buy, before they even know a solution to their problem exists. Use social media & listening tools to keep watch for signs of the pain, signs of trouble, signs that your prospective customers have a problem and are seeking a better path to the outcome they desire. Spend more time listening than talking, and your prospects will tell you exactly what they want, and exactly how to help them to buy (from you).
5. Stories: The best salespeople don’t pitch. They don’t present. They tell stories. Stories of success, stories of redemption, stories of pain and problems that are converted to results and achievement. Your customers would prefer to listen to stories, especially stories that resonate with their situation, featuring companies or individuals they want to emulate. They want to hear stories of what their future can and should look like. Pitches and presentations are often dull. Stories bring ideas and outcomes to live. They inspire and drive action.
6. Appreciate: Never take your customers or prospects for granted. Look for ways to remind them, every day, how important they are to you. Do big things and little things to make them feel special. Your competitors don’t do this. Fill the void, and create remarkability and loyalty with little more than a few well-placed words, a few more thank-you’s, and a few simple gestures that cost little but deliver reams of value back to you.
7. Experiences: Do they remember you? Did you give them a reason to? Were you remarkable enough to create word-of-mouth to their friends, colleagues and peers? Were you memorable enough to get the coming back for more? This isn’t just for customers. If you’re delivering value in the sales process, you’re creating differentiation and value vs. your competitors. Commoditization goes out the window, and you win.
Matt Heinz is principal at Heinz Marketing, a sales & marketing consulting firm helping businesses increase customers and revenue. Contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.heinzmarketing.com.