The word “expert” has been quite diluted in the world of internet based marketing. With the dawn of a new trade, social media marketing, experts are being born on a regular basis, but what qualifies one to be named an expert?
Just because someone is adept at figuring out the latest social media site, app or network, doesn’t necessarily put them into expert status, or guru-another misnomer.
While technology, and how to effectively use it advances at a rapid speed, some of the basic building blocks of marketing do not change.
- Product Knowledge
- Closing the Sale
The Basic Concepts of Marketing Never Change
1. First Engagement
It’s been a long-standing part of sales training programs that you must engage with the customer, discovering all that you can about them in a short period of time . Using skill and personality, the potential success of a sale starts with the first hello.
The means by which we say hello may have changed, or advanced, but if the first contact with the customer can’t be made properly, you’re handicapped from the get go. Whether in person, by email, or social network contact, train yourself to be genuinely friendly and open, and put your best foot forward, always.
You want a potential client to feel at ease, and like an invitation into your home, you must be prepared to make them feel comfortable, with you and your surroundings. The first step of engagement is the most important, your first impression counts!
What to say after the first hello? Let the client take the lead in the dance.
In most cases your first contact with a potential client is like dancing on a first date. You’re getting to know each other, superficially at first, but with time, and the right dance steps, you learn more about each other, your wants, needs and goals. Keep it light, but keep the conversation moving forward. Ask some questions, but don’t overdo it, let the new client take the lead with their answers. By all means, listen closely before inserting your opinions or answers.
This is the step when you will hone in on their interests, it doesn’t do any good to sell them for the sake of the sale and lose them later, only a mutually beneficial relationship will keep its longevity.
Don’t step on their toes while dancing!
To earn someone’s trust, you must first trust yourself. Sounds a little backward, but trusting your own knowledge and instinct will be evident during conversations with your new client. If you don’t trust that you know what you’re talking about, the client’s intuition will pick up on it.
Trust building isn’t always easy, especially online where you don’t have the opportunity to meet people face to face, or shake their hand. Often it’s the testimonial or referral of a mutual friend, client or follower that will have meaning and let the new client feel they are in competent hands.
Building trust in any relationship, business or otherwise, is an important key to longevity.
4. Product Knowledge
In my personal sales career I’ve sold a large variety of products. One thing I learned along the way is that all the sales training in the world won’t matter if you don’t know your product. Whether it be clothing, vacuum cleaners or billiard tables, the technique remains the same, only the product changes.
Transforming from a specific product to a specific service isn’t that difficult if you always remember the basics. Learning is a continuous process, so carve out time to study new ideas, innovations, and networking ideas in order to offer your clients the latest knowledge tailored to their specific needs and goals.
5. Closing the Sale
If the previous four points are followed well you are now standing at the crossroads. The last thing you want to do is blow it now! Here’s a few things you can expect:
In reality, some people are not meant to be your clients, no matter what you think or want, they will cost you precious time and money in the long run. Be discerning about asking for the sale, and only ask those with whom you are positively connected. If “something” tells you not to pursue, listen to your gut, instinct and intuition and let it go.
However, when seeking the gold you still have to pan through a lot of mud, and when the nugget rises to the top you know that’s the one! Now is not the time to be shy, but it’s also not the time to be pushy. At this point you should be able to realize the client’s goals, and have had enough engagement and conversation to be sure you are the one who can help achieve them. Give them a little time and space, but they should also be sending signals to whether they are interested in doing business or not.
Remember, some people have a hard time making a commitment and you may have use a bolder approach in asking for their business. Your goal should be to contract with a client that will truly help satisfy their goals, and create a mutually beneficial, long-term relationship.
This is a tip I’ve always known about but only when my BAS Agent did it so well to me as a client did I realize how powerful this is: Always follow-up with the client, whether you were successful in getting them to sign on or not, this is the point where you will learn, what you did right, or what should have been done differently. Even though a potential client didn’t make the commitment right now, always leave the door open to the future.
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- Technology Backlash: Good Old-fashioned Business Success Comes with the Personal Touch (bayintegratedmarketing.wordpress.com)
- Five steps to developing an effective sales strategy (theguardian.com)
- Is PR flooded with beginners and under-skilled ‘experts’? (prdaily.com)
- Who is Managing Your Social Profile? (cosmeticbusinessmd.com)
- Social Media and the Return of the Customer Relationship (vistage.com)
- 5 Ways You Can Demonstrate Social Influence Today (business2community.com)