|THE NEW RULES OF SELLING (IN A NUTSHELL)|
Think of prospects as customers already
That's because, in fact, they are. As any good lead gen or data marketer can tell you, prospects have value right now to your firm. You can quantify it. And there are things you can do to increase that value (and increase the likelihood they'll buy your products and services). A prospect who subscribes to your newsletter is more valuable than one who doesn't, all things being equal. A newsletter subscriber who views a customer video, more valuable still. If they download one of your customer stories, more valuable still. If they attend one of your events, more valuable still.
So work with marketing and sales to understand and quantify this progression of value at your firm. And incorporate this into your services to them.
Start forming a relationship with prospects now
By treating prospects as customers already, you change your mindset from convincing them to do something (a turn off), to developing a relationship with them (a potential turn on). At this point, prospects need help deciding how to solve their challenge and be successful. That's your basis for establishing a relationship--helping them decide. Your "products and services" at this point are resources you have--most importantly, your existing rock stars--to help them do so.
Connect prospects to customers
Among all your firm's resources, your existing customers are the ones that prospects value most. Get creative about finding new ways to connect customers--especially your rock stars--with prospects. You can do this by working hard to understand how prospects go through their buying process, and in particular, when and how they want to learn from and interact with your customers. As we learned from Sirius Decision's Megan Hueur at the 2014 Summit on Customer Engagement, buyers increasingly want customer information throughout their decision journey.
Change your language-and mindset-about prospects
The language traditional sales and marketing uses to describe and relate to prospects is often atrocious--and entirely at odds with the NRS. We think of prospects or buyers, for example, as "targets" to be "sold to" by salespeople who are "hunters." It's critical to change this language, because language controls the conversation and conversation controls relationships both within your firm and with your market. So under the NRS, this needs to change.
Here's a glossary for you. As time goes on and you get more proficient at the NRS, add to this:
- Don't sell. Educate.
- Don't spin. Be authentic.
- Don't interrupt (as in interruption marketing, cold calls and the like). Attract.
- Don't control the relationship. Connect prospects to others (especially your existing customers).
- Eliminate jargon (like "we provide end-to-end solutions"). Use plain language.
- Worry less about keeping your knowledge proprietary. Share it widely.
Those in a nutshell are the New Rules of Selling. Start using and incorporating these to frame the work you do for sales and marketing, and in the way you communicate with them. You'll be glad you did, and so will they.
All the best,
"There's really nothing I've seen like it in the country." Lisa Arthur, CMO, Teradata Applications
"When it comes to developing high-impact customer relationships, I found out very quickly that all roads on that issue lead to Bill Lee."
Jackie Breiter, VP,Customer Success & Flagship Program, CA Technologies
"One of the most insightful business books I've read this year." Dorie Clark, Forbes Online
Bill's New eBook