There is no greater turn off than an obvious sales pitch. Go to a party and get cornered by a life insurance salesperson who is short of their quarterly targets and you’ll know what I mean. We all have an instinct for it. It’s in our genes. We can spot it a mile off. When someone has a vested interest in selling something, then every word out of their mouths starts sounding like blah, blah, blah. We tune it out. It boils down to trust.
There can be no objective trust when people standing on self proclaimed pedestals scream sales from the rafters. We run a mile. Even those with a need for the products or services in question will doubt the integrity of the sales pitch. With good reason. All sales pitches, even the good ones, the best value in the market ones, are treated with large dollops of doubt. Nobody wants to have the wool pulled over their eyes. Everybody is a cynic.
Death of the salesman
The digital age has brought scams, phishing and skimming to new levels of sophistication and people have revolted. Nobody trusts the ad man, the salesperson or the marketer who shouts the loudest. You need to earn trust before you will get heard. We use a phrase, ‘whispers that roar’, that can help you earn trust. That’s what Inbound Marketing and is all about.
Selling with inbound is all about building rapport and nurturing qualified leads. Instead of pushing leads toward a sale, inbound sales puts the user in the driver’s seat, educates them, empowers them and lets them naturally reach a buying decision based on their need to resolve their pain points.
Earn trust through content
The strongest tool in building consumer trust, the nuclear war-chest so to speak, is content. It arms inbound and gives you the edge over traditional selling. Providing engagine, educational content to your audiences generates a sense of assurance; it proves to neutral audiences that you know what you’re talking about within your industry, and that you’re there to provide solutions to their problems. The kind of problems that add wrinkles to their foreheads and grey hairs to their heads.
As so much of the consumer’s buying decision is based on trust, facilitating that trust with powerful content gives inbound sales teams a huge advantage over their competition.
The kind of content we’re talking about isn’t just words on a page, randomly assorted with a hodgepodge scatterbrain approach. It’s strategic, planned and carefully placed. It funnels casual visitors into leads, leads into customers and customers into advocates. The content deepens as the relationship grows, all the time providing answers to real business problems.
Tailored and increasingly personalised content like this encourages audiences to learn more about what they can do to resolve a problem, and lets them know that they’re getting that information from a reputable, trustworthy source.
This kind of structure filters out indifferent and indecisive consumers organically, and results in more qualified leads than those you would generate with traditional sales strategies. The time and money saved from this self qualifying funnel is one of inbound’s many strengths over traditional strategies.
Provide solutions, not products
Nike don’t sell shoes. They sell dreams. They motivate people to just do it. Get off that ass and get in shape, look good, feel good, live longer, love life. The pain point of their audiences is not to keep their feet dry in the rain, it’s the motivation to exercise more, get in shape and live a better quality life.
The point I’m making here is that you should stand back and see the bigger picture. Don’t focus on products and services, instead focus on solving real problems of your target audience. This is another huge advantage inbound has over traditional approaches, because it’s less invasive, friendlier and more empowering. If you can help people identify their pain points, then you can start conversations about solving these problems and guide and nurture these prospects, having earned their trust.
Established yourself as a thought leader within your industry and audiences who have a pain point epiphany will turn to you first for solutions.
Evolve or die
Consumer behaviour has evolved in the digital age. Your marketing strategies need to evolve accordingly or you’ll be left to rot. Inbound ditches the cold call and sales pitch tactics of traditional selling and instead focuses on an engaging journey of discovery. It’s a two way conversation where you will identify pressing problems and provide solutions in an engaging, empowering fashion and earn the trust of better quality leads.