Ultimately it all comes down to sales. You can do the right thing when it comes to marketing and branding, that is create valuable content for a relevant audience, onboard leads via Facebook ads and build relationships on LinkedIn — but if you can’t generate sales, you’re in trouble.
I share a lot of insights about marketing on this blog, however, today I’d like to switch gears and talk to you about sales and the sales process to be more precise.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is a sales process?
A sales process is a framework that encompasses a systematic, repeatable series of steps that helps you convert a prospect into a customer.
If you look it up on the Internet you’ll find all kinds of sales processes ranging from traditional to more unconventional ones. Some of them are very rigid, whereas others focus entirely on what it is that the vendor aka seller wants, completely disregarding the oh-so-important ingredient that comes with customer expectations and preferences.
It’s stunning to me how many small business owners remain reluctant to embedding clever pull strategies into their sales process while pouring all their time, energy and resources into either selling the unsellable or trying to convince somebody who is never going to buy from them as long as they live.
If you have a rigid sales process, it’s about time to change it. Let it breathe. Feel free to remove steps and jump across funnels. Use the framework but don’t let it dominate your interaction with your future customer.
We are unique beings and therefore you should always be on the lookout for exquisite and special sales ingredients that will give you that cutting edge, help you differentiate yourself from other salespeople and close the deal while allowing your customers to buy from you without having the feeling of being sold to.
Here are three practical Online marketing strategies that you can add to your sales process to help you increase cash flow and grow your business.
1. Use Text Messages to Boost Lead Generation Results
Live events are phenomenal. You have a room full of like-minded people (if you did your due diligence, then you’re speaking to a highly relevant audience), who have decided to give you their most precious gifts: time and attention.
So why not maximize the outcomes of this event by seamlessly including a marketing vehicle into the sales process?
Here’s what I suggest:
While you’re on stage, ask the audience to send a text message to you with a simple code saying “BONUS” and in return, provide them with something exclusive and of great value.
People love instant gratification. On top of that, they love to receive something for free that is valuable and can only be attained at a particular time.
The question is what are you going to do with those phone numbers that you gathered? Do you have an autoresponder sequence for texting in place?
Will your sales team call them up to ask if they have questions regarding the event?
You better have a plan and conversion system in place. Remember, this is your audience and they’ve just texted you.
For those of you who love to interact on Facebook, you can use Messenger instead and create a chatbot that takes over the first part of the conversation.
2. Run Exclusive Live Q&A Webinars
There’s nothing more appealing to prospects than you taking their concerns, doubts and fears seriously and providing answers to the questions they’ve got.
One of the best ways to tackle this issue is by inviting a limited number of relevant prospects onto a live webinar and answering their questions on the spot. Often times they will have similar queries thus allowing you to go deeper into the topic and explain in detail what the pros and cons are.
After you answered all the questions, ask who would like to proceed and eventually have a short 1:1 with those who took you up on the offer to ensure no questions remain unanswered thus minimizing buyer’s remorse.
I do something very similar with my StrengthInBusines Academy members. The only difference lies in the fact that they are already my customers.
Every quarter I conduct a live interview with a guest expert. Before I do the call, I ask all my members to provide me with questions for my upcoming guest. This makes the interviews not only engaging but also very interesting and highly relevant.
Obviously, you can do something similar with your existing customers to keep them engaged and increase lifetime value. However, in this particular case, I suggest you start with a Q&A live webinar somewhere at the top of your sales funnel and use this valuable marketing instrument to convert more efficiently.
3. Use Social Media to Build Long-Term Relationships
This third strategy is definitely not intended to close a deal immediately, unless of course you have already “courted” that person on LinkedIn, Twitter etc. and he/ she agrees to make a transaction with you and become your client.
Social platforms are fantastic places to find and connect with like-minded people who share the same interests, hobbies and challenges. However, often times these very same channels get misused by individuals who want to close you on the very first interaction. Not a smart move.
Unlike most of my professional and business compatriots, when it comes to reaching out to a fellow business owner or CEO, I prefer Twitter over LinkedIn. I like the nature of retweeting interesting statements, giving some quick love to short videos and directly messaging those who put out high-quality content.
Therefore, I suggest you sit down with your sales team and discuss who is going to use which social channels to build meaningful relationships. Some will deviate towards LinkedIn and Facebook groups, whereas others will focus on onboarding Millennials via Snapchat or Instagram. And yes, some of your team members including you will from time to time have the opportunity to close a deal faster, maybe just after a couple of clever interactions.
Give Your Sales Process Time to Breathe and Mature
Today, more than ever, we are bombarded with tools, frameworks and guidelines left, right and center. Therefore, the last thing you want is to burry your sales team into a difficult and sophisticated process that requires a PHD to understand and implement.
Let your sales process breathe. Have a proven framework. Include actionable steps but ultimately, let your trusted sales team deploy intuition, experience and knowledge to provide a magical experience to every single customer that decides to join your community.
Learn from the best in the world, for example from Walt Disney. Tweak, mold, adjust and use your uniqueness to give your sales approach that special touch prospects and customers have long been looking for to experience.
Why do you prefer a traditional over a modern sales process (or vice versa)? How can you harness the power of both models to increase your revenues and grow your business?