Anticipate Their NeedsWe’ve mentioned the concept of a Buyer Persona a number of times now, and in another post we’ll dig a little deeper into what that is and how you build one. For now, let’s stick to the concept that a buyer persona is a fictional representation of your most typical customer. You will very likely have more than one persona, as you probably have more than one type of customer. The goal of developing a buyer persona is to figure out what information you need to have available and how to present it. Questions you should ask include:
- What is this persona looking for? What problem are they trying to solve?
- What does this persona already know about their problem? What does this persona already know about solving their problem?
- What does this persona need to know in order to make an informed decision about solving their problem?
- How does this persona get information?
The New First Step
Here is the key — this is what most traditional marketing and salespeople are missing out on. People want information. They have heard all the sales “techniques” (most of them have even been through the same training you have!) and they are pretty savvy these days. If you’re using conventional selling techniques, then you are going to lose out, and the reason has to do with a concept that was first noticed and labeled in 2011 called the “Zero Moment of Truth.”
Without going into a full-blown history, the Zero Moment of Truth is that moment when a customer goes online to have a question answered and makes a buying decision. If I need a new vacuum cleaner, I’m going online to get questions answered about what kind of vacuum I need. If you show up at my door selling vacuums (and your timing just happens to be awesome enough that I am in the market for a vacuum), I already know whether I want your product or not… because I’ve done my research online.
Similarly, if I need a new pair of hiking boots and I show up in your store to buy hiking boots, I am already in the Decision Phase of my Buyer’s Journey. This means I have already become aware that I do not have adequate shoes for hiking, I have already considered all the options, and I have decided on that pair that you just happen to carry in your store. Trying them on is just a formality at this point.
Educate, Educate, Educate
So if buyers have already made their buying decision by the time they get to you, then how on earth on you supposed to sell them on your product or service? The answer is to be there in the beginning, right? If you’re there when they become aware of their problem, then you become a part of their buying decision.
The way to do this is through education. Remember when we said that people want information? That’s the key. In order to “sell” people on your product or service, you have to provide information — valuable information — that educates them on their problem (now that they know they have one) AND on the solutions. Ideally, you want to educate them on all the possible solutions, and here is where you can make some argument for why your solution is the best solution (and if you don’t believe it’s the best, why are you offering it?).
The most important thing to focus on here is building trust. We talked about authenticity before, and here is why that’s important: people work with companies they trust. If they don’t trust your company, there is someone out there doing what you do that can and will earn their trust. Providing valuable information — without selling yourself! — is one of the best ways to earn your customers’ trust. (Spoiler alert: the other is to completely delight your customers.)
Just one more small note before we move on: traditional sales methods are a fabulous way to LOSE peoples’ trust. Knocking on doors, cold calling, and even email spamming is intrusive and can feel like a violation. If someone feels that they’re being “sold to”, they’re often completely turned off… it feels too much like being conned. People are looking for integrity and authenticity.
This is why we do permission-based marketing. We believe in providing such great content that people want more of it, and freely give us their contact information so that we can keep sending them great stuff. Later on, when they become aware that they have a problem that we can solve, there we are with the solution handy.
And this is what it’s all about, in the end: positioning yourself so that you’re there at the Zero Moment of Truth. Your content is there, ready and waiting, when a buyer becomes aware that they have the sort of problem you can solve. Your content is so awesome, so authentic, so informative, and ultimately, so valuable that you win the trust and the business of the people who need your products or services. At the end of the day, sales is not a game to be played and won… that would make your customers losers, wouldn’t it? Selling is about solving problems for people, and in that scenario, everyone wins!
If solving problems is your business, and you need some help getting to people in that Zero Moment of Truth, click the banner below or just give us a call at (864) 288-6162.