I’ve observed many successful salespeople over the course of my career and all of them have had one thing in common… A Flowing Pipeline.
I would even venture to say that building a full pipeline of prospective customers is 80% of what makes a successful salesperson, well… successful.
We know the hard work it takes to build a sales producing pipeline offline; making targeted prospecting calls, setting appointments, and delivering powerful presentations.
But how can you market yourself online to attract customers in sales?
An even better question is, “How can you use online marketing to automate the flow of customers through your pipeline?”
Because if you can put into place a systematic process to attract customers and fill your pipeline, your sales growth will be steady and predictable.
That’s the premise of this article today, but before we tackle filling your pipeline, there’s something I need to say…
As a sales professional, the only thing you’re selling is… YOURSELF!
I can’t count the number of times a customer told me, “I’m only buying because I like you.”
And unfortunately, there’s been times when I didn’t make a sale because I failed to effectively build rapport with the person.
Yes, the benefits of the product or service you’re selling matters, but the main thing that separates your offering from that of your competitors is YOU.
• The way YOU present yourself.
• How well YOU listen to the needs of your customers.
• Establishing common interests between YOU and the customer.
• YOU knowing how your product will solve their problems.
• Most importantly, YOU giving more perceived value than the cost of the product.
Understanding the value that you infuse into the sales process is a key success factor for attracting customers.
Ultimately, people don’t buy products, they buy the experience you create. And if the experience was horrible, I can almost guarantee the quality of the product won’t save sale. No matter how awesome it is.
Now let me get back to how to market yourself online and give customers a fantastic experience.
1) Lead With Your UGP (Unique Giving Proposition) –
You may have heard about establishing a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) to differentiate yourself from the noise of competitors. You should.
We’ve already covered how important it is for you to infuse value into the sales process to attract customers. But I’m going to take it one step further and say that you need to create something of value to give to your customers.
A man who buys a drink for a woman at the bar is a classic example of “giving to get”.
He is hoping a drink will buy enough time with this lady to determine the level of attraction that exists, or not.
While she drinks her gift, both he and she will be “qualifying” the other to see if there’s a fit.
And the information collected from the questions asked, will determine how far this “prospect” progresses through the process.
Will he get a phone number, or will she pass? Or will he pass?
This “opportunity” was started by GIVING something of value. (No, I’m not promoting alcohol, but in a bar, alcohol is considered valuable to some.)
I wouldn’t go as far as to call buying a drink unique. It does help to make my point though.
If you want to attract customers in sales, leading with a strong UGP is the way to go.
For this to work in sales, you’re going to need to learn more about your target audience.
You’ll have to discover what it is you can give, that will entice them to give you a bit of their time. You’re not asking for the sell here, just the opportunity to meet them.
Your gift does need to be unique. It should be something of value that you could actually charge for.
Some great ideas to spark your creativity are:
• A well researched ebook, that will show your customers how to save or attract money by using your product.
• A “product sample” with no strings attached to let your customers try things out.
• A relevant gift card or certificate as a friendly gesture to learn more about them.
• A free ticket or pass to an upcoming event that’ll be a wealth of knowledge. (Create an event if you have to.)
• An entry to win a high dollar prize, preferably your product, in a drawing. This will attract flocks of leads interested in your offering.
I like the idea of giving away your product in a drawing for many reasons. Here’s how I see it…
If you can’t give it away, how are you going to sell it? And if you don’t identify who needs or wants it, who would you sell it to?
The people who enter to win a free (whatever you sell) are prime prospects for purchasing it. As those leads roll in, you simply call and determine the needs of the prospect.
Which now brings me to point 2 of how to attract customers in sales…
2) Build Out Your Lead Generation System –
This is the technical aspect of marketing yourself online, but don’t be discouraged because it’s super easy to do!
You now need to package your UGP (Unique Giving Proposition) in digital form so that you can promote it.
If you can drag and drop then you’ll have no problem with this step. However you will need to invest in your own marketing software to do the job.
I use GetResponse for all of my marketing campaigns. It’s extremely user-friendly and it takes me very little time to set up a lead generation system.
Here’s why you need your own marketing software:
• Landing Pages – To present your UGP online a landing page is the best platform.
On a single web page you’ll headline your offer or UGP, list the major benefits of working with you, and collect prospects email addresses.
• Email Marketing – To follow up with subsequent offers and build trusting relationships.
You can send pre-written emails to your prospects daily, weekly, monthly, etc. with an automated email autoresponder.
This makes following up less time consuming and consistent.
• List Building – To grow a big email list of potential prospects.
A core goal for any business or salesperson should be to continually communicate with a growing list of prospective buyers.
Software like GetResponse can store all of your leads for you as you attract them through promotion.
Your lead generation system will be your workhorse for collecting and nurturing your leads. It’s a system well worth the investment.
I also suggest using a free form builder like JotForm. This is so you can efficiently collect all the data you need to help qualify the prospect before calling them.
If you have an irresistible UGP, prospects will readily give you as much information as you need.
Referring back to the guy in the bar example, this is where you’re gift or UGP “buys you some time” to learn about the prospect.
3) Introduce Yourself So They KNOW You –
OK. Your lead generation system is all setup and you’ve started using the methods outlined here to promote your landing page.
Once you begin to receive leads, your first action will be to call and email a warm introduction.
Your objective is ONLY to do a meet & greet. However, if they’re receptive, this can turn into a needs analysis and qualification call as well.
By the end of this call you’ll want to have built great rapport, answered any questions, and have confirmed whether or not this person is a qualified prospect.
4) Keep In Touch And They’ll LIKE You –
Everyone respects salespeople who followup. They may not always like it, but they respect it.
That’s why it’s important to regularly email or call your leads to determine where they are in your pipeline.
Again, having marketing software like GetResponse makes this a cinch by sending your pre-written automated emails at set frequency.
Let’s not forget direct mail.
What if you collected the prospects physical mailing address from the form on your landing page, you could send a letter or postcard that would definitely make you standout from the competition.
With all the digital saturation in the market, getting an old fashioned letter will pleasantly shock your prospects.
5) Get Personal For Them To TRUST You –
If you’ve made it this far with your prospect, it’s time to get personal.
I don’t mean visit them at their house or something crazy like that. (Unless, of course, you’re in the home improvement industry.)
What I mean by getting personal, is structuring everything you’ve learned about this person into a personalized proposal.
This is where their needs and wants, in relation to your product, get clearly laid out into the best offer you can make.
When you’ve proven that you’ve listened to their concerns and can solve their individual problem, they are going to trust your recommendations.
I hope the ideas I’ve presented on how to market yourself online and attract customers in sales has given you a starting point to getting more closes.
It’s a process that I personally use to promote myself as a salesman. And it works tremendously!