Guest post by Kristin Zhivago
Tom is right. As he contended in Web Presence Optimization Reloaded, you should be “everywhere.” You have to appear in all the channels where your customers may be lurking.
But—and this is big—if you appear in those channels with a message that does not resonate with your potential buyers, it’s worse than not being there at all. You will be convincing potential buyers that you really don’t understand their issues, don’t know what they really care about, and aren’t really going to be able to solve their problems. You will be “unselling,” rather than selling.
How do you make sure your content—wherever it appears—is relevant and convincing?
You ask your current customers a tested set of questions that will result in you knowing exactly what you should be saying to your future customers. Using this method, you will actually be able to reverse-engineer your successful sales so you can produce new sales in quantity. Fortunately, you only have to interview 7 – 10 customers of any given type to see ironclad, bankable patterns emerge. These patterns will direct your company’s efforts going forward, and will result in higher revenue.
You should ask your questions on the phone, in a conversation. Your customers will be more relaxed and tell you more on the phone than they will in person. They will also give you more usable information than you’d ever get out of an emailed or webform survey. People tend to “clam up” when they’re typing something that could be used against them in some way. And “listening” to social media won’t tell you what their buying process was, or what they were thinking as they made the purchase. Even social media companies hire me to have these conversations with their customers.
The interviewing is just the first step to increasing your revenue. Equally important is what you learn, and what you do with the information after you have analyzed it and discussed it.
You will learn:
- Why they came looking for your solution—the problem they were trying to solve, and how they describe it. These words and phrases will become the magic words that resonate with customers. They won’t have to translate your internal jargon into the words and phrases they would naturally use.
- What their concerns were as they were trying to buy. I say “trying,” because only a few companies in the world actually make it easy for their customers to buy from them. Most companies place one barrier after another in front of buyers when they’re attempting to buy.
- What they like about your company, products, and services (which you should be promoting), and what simply isn’t working (which you should fix).
- What they wish you were selling. It could be a small tweak to your existing product line, a new service associated with your product line, a new way of packaging or supporting the product, or even a new product that would provide a new revenue stream.
Armed with what you’ve learned, you will then map out their buying process. You will create marketing and selling tools that make it easy for them to take the next step in their buying process, encouraged by what they see as they go.
Using this approach, all of your online and offline content—and the tools produced for salespeople—will resonate with customers. Your product developers will know exactly what they should be focusing on. Top executives will know what should be offered, how the business should be structured, and even what people are willing to pay for those products and services. You will know the promises that they want you to keep, and you will make the necessary changes to your company so you can keep those promises. You will create a revenue-growth action plan that lays out the steps you need to take to make all this happen. You won’t have to guess and experiment anymore.
As you make these changes to your website, marketing and selling tools, products, and services, customers will respond positively. They will buy more. And, they will tell others how great you are, which will increase your sales even more.
Kristin Zhivago is a revenue coach who helps CEOs and entrepreneurs sell more by understanding what their customers want to buy and how they want to buy it. She blogs at http://www.RevenueJournal.com.