Where do all your sales start?
First, you must start a conversation and you must provide value before you can ask anyone to even consider your solution
Second, you must build a relationship before you sell. You must earn trust because that’s the heart of all relationships.
You’re doing the same thing. You’re not going to get on the phone with me and sign a contract and do business with me simply because I sound like a nice guy (which I am). You’re going to want to get answers to your questions. You’re going to want to make sure that this is a smart buying decision for you. And that’s fine – your prospects are no different.
What percentage of your sales start online in some form of research?
I’ve asked that question to hundreds of companies. If your answer is not 90%-plus, then you’re either wrong or you’re selling something that isn’t a complex sale. For everything else, there’s some form of research going on. For financial services, I would bet the answer is 100%. That’s not to say that 100% of prospects are buying financial services on line (they’re not), but just about everyone is doing research before reaching out to call a professional.
That research means that they’re going to websites. There’s URL-level navigation. There’s keyword search. There’s content consumption, specifically around their problem. Then, there’s even solution research. There are industry expert reviews. There are client reviews. There’s company analysis. There are all sorts of things that they do and those are the behaviors that lead to a purchase.
What are the two things that you must have at the precise moment when the prospect is ready to tender a yes, ready to purchase?
You must be in a relationship. If you’re first and you build a relationship and you converse with them, you’re going to define the value. You’re going to set the buying criteria and every one of your competitors and alternatives are going to be compared to you.
You must be top of mind. I want to do a thought experiment with you, and be honest, in the last 24 hours you’ve seen a hundred ads – name one. Now, again, I’ve probably asked that question to tons of people – business owners, C-level executives, from Fortune 500 companies all the way down to the little one-man shop. I make people answer. I don’t bail them out. We go with that pregnant pause and there’s silence.
And the reason I ask that question is this: It’s not just about building a relationship. You must be top of mind and people forget. I hope that this thought experiment has demonstrated to you how quickly you forget because you’re no different than your prospects. Memory plays a tremendous role in conversion.
Think about it simply: People cannot act on what they forget. People act, prospects act, on what they remember. If they don’t remember, they can’t act. Now, your sales cycle is over a couple of days, a couple of weeks, even a couple of months. From day to day, week to week and, god forbid, month to month, they’re going to have to remember you.
You’ve seen an ad in the last 24 hours and you can’t even tell me what it is. And you’ve seen a hundred of them, so even if you give me one, tell me what it said. Tell me what the message was about. What was the call to action? It’s very difficult.
And I want you to be honest because if you’re sitting here thinking about this question and saying, “You know what, Roel, I get it. I know the importance of memory,” well, there are tricks that you can utilize. If you own and control the data, if you meet them where they are during their research stage, if you build a relationship, and if you can consistently put a message in front of them, then all your ads don’t even have to have a call to action.
They key is to know who to advertise to. Who to target.
One of the things we recommend, in a small percentage of your ads, is to be strategic. To tell your prospect about your value proposition. Don’t worry about the “call to action”, focus on educating and maintaining top of mind awareness. Why this works for us and doesn’t work for your competitors is that we can advertise to the needles, not the haystack. So, you’re not throwing money away.
Because we are advertising to the needles and not the haystack, we can run the very inexpensive ads across multiple channels. Not just one channel, multiple channels. Banner ads, Facebook ads, Google ads, YouTube ads, in a series, across different ad channels online, offline. Being very strategic.
You don’t have to always beat the “Click here” drum and then build out content. You could take them to your homepage. All you’re using those ads to do is stay top of mind. Remember what I said: Prospects act on what they remember. The thought experiment should have demonstrated to you that you’ve forgotten.
Now, there are two things about running ads consistently every day. Imagine that your sales cycle for argument’s sake is 20 weeks. Somebody who is two weeks into that 20 weeks is different than someone who’s 10 weeks in and somebody who is 19 weeks in. So how do you put perfect prospect timing in your favor? How can you have perfect timing with each and every person who’s in that sales cycle? How can you do this? It’s simple. If you’re only advertising to the needles and not the haystack, then you can run ads consistently every day, multiple channels, and you could change the messaging.
What should the messaging be?
State the value proposition or support your value proposition. Answer the question “Why should I buy from you?”
State the reason why and then provide proof as to why you stated is accurate and true, because the first they must understand and second, they must believe. Proof is what helps them believe. The proof is when you’re educating them about their problem in the building of the relationship.
You as a prospect are no different than your prospects. They want to know they’re making a smart buying decision. If it’s a bad purchase, a discount isn’t going to help them.
And the inverse is true. People will pay a premium if they believe that they’re going to get something where the value outweighs the cost.
So, the first thing is to know when your prospects start researching. Where they are as they get comfortable with their problem and decide to seek a solution. Then you’re the company that’s educating them, building trust and developing the relationship. You’re going to have a relationship when they’re ready to say yes.
If you’re running the ads every day—because it’s effective—and you’re running them consistently, on multiple channels, and those ads state the value proposition and back up the value proposition, then you’ve taken care of the first thing.
The second thing you need to do is answer this question: What percentage of your prospects visit your website before a purchase? Think about it. As great as an in-market lead is, somebody who’s actively pursuing a purchase of what you sell and is actively pursuing that purchase from you … there is no greater value to you from a lead perspective.
They research their problem first on “authoritative” websites. When they come to your website, now they’re researching a solution. They’re considering buying the outcome they’re seeking – the solution to their problem or the delivery of the result that they want but do not have … from you. There is nothing more valuable to you than somebody who is, what we call, in-funnel. They’re in your website. They’re on your landing page. They’re in your funnel. They’re shopping you. It’s the person who is at your door digitally.
Time for a commercial break
Let’s talk about our software for a minute. When we provide our in-market targeting data, if any of those in-market people land on your page, your funnel, we will know 100% of them, by name. I’ll show you how this one piece of information alone will lower your cost per click at Google and Facebook, or anywhere else, by between 25 to 75%.
Lowering your cost per click means you’re going to acquire clients and leads for less. You’ll lower your cost per acquisition. You will have a sustainable competitive advantage.
Let’s say using our InMarket and InFunnel data I can buy a client for $500 and you pay $900. If we’re head-to-head competitors, with all due respect to you, I’m going to whup your butt every day of the week including Sunday. There’s nothing you can do because I can take that difference and I could offer more value, I could lower the price, and I’d still get more sales than you. There is no way you can compete.
Now, factor in me knowing first when somebody’s in-market, the ability to own and control the data, to have all the conversations I want, to help build trust, to address their problems and solution before they even know who you are. I’m going to win. I can offer more value or a lower price, and still generate more profit than you. And, profit is the key to victory.
When you know who’s at your website, you can now build an offer. There’s always friction. Your price is friction. You can’t remove price. You can’t give it away because you’ll go broke. So how do you overcome that friction? With incentive.
Now, incentives can cost money. Maybe you’ll throw in a premium product along with it. Maybe you’ll offer something a little bit more which increases your cost. But if you’re already operating at a lower cost—lower cost per click, lower acquisition cost—that incentive doesn’t have to be offered to everybody. You only offer it to those people who are already engaged with you. Only people who are knocking on your door, on your website, actively spending time seeking a solution from you.
That’s why it’s important that you know first where all your sales start because, if you know where the research starts, you can start the conversation first and you can stay in front of them top of mind. You could build a relationship and be top of mind.
Now, you might sit there and say, “Roel, I can put a pixel on my website and I can retarget that.” Okay, great. Tell me their name. And that cookie, how long does it last? Four weeks, eight weeks. How long is your sales cycle? If you convert that to a permanent record, then you own and control it, which means you can take it to any platform, any device, online or offline, and you’re not on the clock. You’re not at the mercy of a powerful supplier telling you what you can say, when you can say it, how often. You can go to any platform and start a conversation. You can make any offer, as often as you want because you own the record and it’s permanent.
Think about your company. If you had the name of everybody who’s visited your website in the last 12 months, would you be making the same money you are right now? I’d bet you dollars to doughnuts that you’d be making a heck of a lot more.
As you can imagine, I love talking about marketing, sales, lead generation and helping my clients to grow profits.
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