One of the biggest problems businesses face is figuring out what to say to take a prospect from “Who the heck are you?” to “I want to do business with you!”
How do you get on your prospects’ radar and capture their interest? The first step is to clearly understand your buyer journey. The second step is to create and promote the type of information prospects need at each stage.
Understand Your Buyer Journey
Here are the 4 stages of the buyer journey:
1. Create New Thinking
Many times the prospects we want to talk to have no idea that they even have a problem. They’re so busy dealing with day to day operations that they don't have time to stay up on industry trends. At this stage, you're creating information that makes prospects say: “Hmmm...I’ve never thought of that before.”
2. Create Pain
Ok, not physical pain! We talked a lot about this in the Dynamics of Selling course I took some years back. We talked about “digging the knife in.”
The goal is to get the prospect to realize that they have a problem, and get them to the “breaking point.” The breaking point is where the problem bothers them so much they want to do something about it. This is your opportunity to move the problem to the top of the priority list. At this stage, the prospect says, “Damn. We have a serious problem.”
3. Identify Options
Once the prospect reaches the breaking point, they need to figure out what to do about it. This is the time to talk about your solution and why you think it’s a valuable option. You can also talk about other types of solutions that may not be yours.
The goal here is to be helpful and provide options, not just sell, sell, sell. Your solution might not be right for everyone, and that’s OK. You don't want to spend time with prospects that don't fit your ideal profitable customer, so it's fine to weed out unqualified prospects at this point. At this stage, the prospect is committed to researching and understanding their problem and the best way to solve it.
4. Choose a Solution
Once a prospect knows what their options are, they need to fully understand the costs and benefits of each solution so they can move forward with the implementation.
Choosing a solution is the scariest part of the whole process for them, because if what they choose doesn’t work, their job and reputation may be on the line. This is where we need to make them feel confident that our solution has worked for others in the past, and it will work for them too. At this stage, the prospect is evaluating all the costs and benefits of the available solutions and getting ready to make a move.
Create and Promote the Information
These days, most prospects have already reached the end of stage 3 before they’re even ready to talk to a salesperson. They’re getting all of their information online and researching it on their own.
That's why your online presence is so critical. If your prospects are getting the information they need from your competitors, you’re in the down position right off the bat. You want to be the go-to information source, not your competitors.
Marketing, with input and help from sales, needs to create content that guides prospects through each stage of the buyer journey. Content can include things like blog articles, ebooks, videos, webinars, case studies, etc. Then, both sales and marketing should promote this information to your target prospect list via email, social media, organic search, co-marketing and maybe even PPC.
Marketing promotes the content on a larger scale, focusing on getting it out to the masses. Sales promotes to specific accounts as they prospect and sell. Either way, they’re using the same information. If you don’t have high-value content to guide prospects through the sales process, it makes it much more difficult to sell.