If you’re like most business owners, CEOs, or marketing professionals, you might have felt like firing your sales people at least once in your career. Now we actually have a solution to that frustration. Fire them today! Then, hire them back immediately as Sales Guides.
What? Yes, the day of the traditional sales representative is over, just like the days of traditional TV, print, and radio advertising are also over. Buyer behavior has changed and it wasn’t until recently that you had the tools to match buyer behavior with new sales and marketing tactics.
Think about your own behavior. Do you enjoy getting interrupted with phone calls in your office from sales people making cold calls? Do you drive around from store to store looking for the perfect product? Do you watch commercials on the TV shows you DVR at home? When you are looking for a new provider, do you start with a request for a referral, followed quickly by a Google Search, or review on Yelp? Your prospects are behaving the same way.
The human purchase dynamic, or, as some marketers call it, “the buy button,” is resident deep in your brain. This is commonly referred to by the medical profession as “the old brain” or “the amphibian brain”; the same part of the brain that controls flight or fight. This is the part of your brain that keeps you safe, and the same protectionist instincts are in play when making a purchase decision. Is this a safe thing to do? These are the subconscious feelings marketing and sales people have been dealing with for years without even knowing it.
So what does this have to do with new buyer behavior? People make purchase decisions emotionally and then rationalize the decision. I want this new car, but can I afford it? Does it have the features I want? The sale is done; now it’s just about the details. The faster you can get an emotional connection between you and your prospect and the faster you can make them feel safe purchasing your product or service, the more successful your business will be. Traditional sales and marketing actually works directly against this principle.
How do you feel when you are about to talk to a sales person? Anxious? Threatened? Nervous? On guard? Depending on your personality, maybe some combination of all these feelings. This is the same feeling your prospects have when meeting with your sales team. This is the feeling that prevents the buy button from ever getting pressed. This is why you have to fire these people today and teach them a whole new way to sell.
Marketing isn’t much better. Traditional advertising pushes messages to prospects. It tries to emotionally connect, but rarely does it provide any safety. The result is a highly wasteful and inefficient model that doesn’t match buyer behavior. How can marketing make prospects feel safe? We have talked a lot about why people buy and what we are doing wrong, but now let’s focus on what you can do to press the buy button. This is where marketing comes in.
There is something people want. People want help making a good purchase decision. If you help them, they will come. Today, marketing isn’t about advertising. It’s about content. The more educational content you create and the more you provide advice, recommendations, tips, and help, the more emotionally connected they will be to your brand and the safer they will feel buying from your company.
What’s really exciting is that the tools are now in place to allow every company the opportunity to create this new content marketing approach. Any company can distribute content to their target market, engage their target buyers in a supportive conversation, and make fans for life. Even better, this type of marketing is far less expensive and far more efficient than the old media-based advertising model.
So, how do you adjust your sales and marketing approach to take advantage of the new buyer behavior? First, stop selling and start guiding. As we mentioned in the first paragraph, when you hire your sales people back, you are going to hire them back as Sales Guides. Their job will be different.
Your Sales Guides will be responsible for helping your prospects make a good purchase decision. To do this, they have to guide them through the mass of information available to them with a process that helps them understand, apply, and internalize everything they need to feel like they are making a safe purchase decision.
They do that by providing information to your prospects. Most of this information will be educational in nature, like industry information, tip guides, how-to videos, research reports, webinars, demos, and assessments. It’s going to be marketing’s job to create this content and get this content in the hands of your prospects even before a Sales Guide enters the picture.
You should agree that your prospects are reading blogs, subscribing to emails, and searching the Internet for information long before they reach out to your sales team. If you don’t think this is true, think again. Content marketing is the process of strategically placing your content in all the right places so that your prospects find it, read it, connect with it, and then want to talk with your Sales Guides.
It’s imperative that the Sales Guides practice the same approach as your marketing department. Your prospects are going to expect to be guided. If, all of a sudden, they get the hard sell, or even the subtle sell, they are going to go elsewhere. Sales and marketing must be aligned into what we call a Revenue Department. The marketing people attract with content; the sales team guides with content.
Now that you have attracted prospects to your business, your Sales Guides have to work with your prospects, helping them, educating them, and guiding them. The process has to be designed in a way that walks them through a series of subtle steps to help them emotionally connect and feel safe with your business. Each step of the process has to be created with that in mind. This is called the Guided Sales Process.
This transformation isn’t easy, but it’s required, and if it’s done right it could become a strategic advantage for your business. Better yet, it might become a sustainable strategic advantage because it does require a new way of thinking about how you sell and market your products and services.
To start learning more about these changes, you can download the first two chapters of the book Fire Your Sales Team Today! right now. Click here and we will email you a preview of the first two chapters right to your email box.
For more information on implementing this type of approach at your company, Fire Your Sales Team Today is now available on Amazon.com and other e-retailers. Click here to order your copy.
Mike Lieberman is Co-Founder and President of Square 2 Marketing. He created Reality Marketing™ and the concept of a Marketing Machine™ to help companies transform their invisible and boring businesses into extraordinary and remarkable revenue generating machines. Mike writes the popular Remarkablog and is co-author of Reality Marketing Revolution and Fire Your Sales Team Today. Email Mike at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Mike2Marketing.
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