This week, I’d like you to practice the art of not selling…
I hear your protests, “I’m in retail, if I don’t sell I’m not eating…”, “I’m self-employed, if I don’t hook that client, I can’t cover my mortgage…”
At the end of the day, every one of us who is in business is trying to sell something, but what many forget is that the way people are “buying” has changed and therefore the way we “sell” has to change too.
If you’re looking for a new TV, do you just pop in to Harvey Norman or Noel Leeming approach the sales assistant and ask them which TV you should buy? Probably not… It’s more likely that you consult Mr Google, you might search “Top 5 HD Televisions”; or you might just ask your friends, because let’s face it, these days your circle of friends is so much bigger. All of your Twitter followers are much more reliable than the sales assistant in Harvey Norman or Noel Leeming, because they are your peer and they have no vested interest in selling you anything.
You know that people hate to be sold to, but in years gone by they had no choice, the only person that could help them with the choice of a new TV was the sales assistant in the electrical store. Now the internet has provided your customers with an online communication revolution, and you need to get found and become talked about.
How do you get found and become talked about online?
- Blog: Tell a story that’s authentic, offer advice that’s free and become the go-to expert in your industry, whether that be health, fashion, food or in my case digital marketing. Remember that your customers want information on your product or service, but they want it to be credible and valuable. Plan your content… You are what you publish. Encourage people to come through your doors or give you a call, because what you have published has educated them and informed them, without trying to sell them something. So many of my clients reject the idea of content creation, they doubt that they have anything of value to write about. However, when I press them on the questions they get asked the most, it comes easily to them. Remember you are solving your customers problems, something you do every day.
- Get Social: We all do business with people we like, that’s always been the case. If people like you, they learn to trust you. They’re never going to get to like you, unless they get to know you. The advent of social media has meant that your market has become much bigger, but not if you use it as a soap box. I often use the example of the retail store that only posts socially on products that are “new in store” or “ON SALE NOW” (yes, they even use “shouty” capitals) with the call to “come in before it’s gone” or “don’t miss out”… Do you think this is how they greet their customers in their physical premises? Picture the scene, you literally step in the door and the sales assistant says “We just received a new TV from Samsung, it’s a 72 inch screen, high definition, buy it now, it might be gone tomorrow”. Would you stay? Or would you turn on your heel and get out of that store faster than they could try to sell you the extended warranty? I’m guessing it would be the latter. Yet if that same sales assistant had a chat with you, asked you about your day, was there to offer you valuable advice, you’d probably stick around a little longer.
- Be present: The scheduled post may be a time-saver but it can seriously damage your credibility if you are not available to respond to comments or questions. Your customers are with you 24/7/365. If you schedule your social media post to go out when you’re not there, you won’t notice any engagement from your audience regarding the post, and won’t be able to respond in real-time. Your page will become less personal, and your prospective customers will move on to someone who is available to hold a conversation, most likely your competitor.
- Be mobile: Your customers are time poor and on the go… They will be searching online via mobile devices. Ensure your website is designed to be mobile responsive, if it is not you may lose them before they can even discover all the valuable content that answers their questions via your blog.