Serving versus Selling makes great business sense today.
Gone are the days of one way marketing and sales strategies that were more "bullhorn" (and bulldog) in approach.
Social Media and Online tools have given the customer a voice like never before and with that voice they want more from you. They want a dialogue and trust, not smooth talk and a slick presentation before they move on to the next prey. The time has come for businesses to understand that serving makes good business sense, and that hard-core selling needs to be dropped in the trash can.
I dive into the "how" and the "why" that serving makes sense as the model for business selling today. Practically speaking, it's about how "offering value" and "being a resource" ultimately builds trust and leads to new and repeated business. A key in this is repeated business. Repeat business is much less costly than acquiring new business and it can be highly profitable as well.
The opposite of serving is the hard sell, aggressive to close mentality that comes across as pushy and self-focused. You might be able to get by with this in some scenarios but the result is short term business. People buy what they may not understand and then are not pleased, or they are unhappy with the rapid drop-off in connection that happens after the sale.
Ultimately selling comes down to people. Do you like and trust the person? "Liking" and "trust" are key in the sales process and it's time businesses realize that walking the high road of serving is the model that ultimately wins and connects with people today. Listen in for full details but here's a snapshot summary for you skimmers!
What questions do potential customers and clients have? Answer those questions in blog posts on your website. Be the resource!
Offer industry and regional information (based on your company focus). A RV manufacturer will not only talk about their RV's in a product area of the site but they can talk about care for RV exteriors, winterizing RV's, routine maintenance checklists, and more on their blog, thereby becoming a resource that is found by those needing help and who may ultimately be in the market for a new RV.
Offer value on your website via your blog. You can offer value, insight and resources in webinars and on social meeting, even
This is somewhat of a lost art, particularly for those into a strong selling mentality. Listening builds trust, values the other party, and helps establish a relationship from which you can then speak when you have proven you understand their needs.
Yes, some of those college psychology courses do come back to play a role here! Can you hear what someone else is saying? Can you refrain from jumping in? And can you summarize back to them accurately what they have said? It's not as easy to do as you think, but if done well, it truly makes a difference in that relationship and meeting!
Businesses have pain points. They don't so much want to buy your product or service as they want their pain solved.
[Tweet "Businesses have pain points.They don't so much want to buy your product or service as they want their pain solved. via @mike_gingerich"]
Do you get the difference?
One is about you, the other is about the. Serving means you are focused on their pain points and how to help them. It's about their agenda first, understanding it and when asked offering solutions that solve their problems. Your products may solve their problems but if you can't articulate their problem and only speak about your product, you are missing the boat. Cross the bridge, make the connection. "We can solve your problem "X" by implementing a solution tailored to you (your product y). Get it?
We've got to be in the business of learning quickly to be useful and to offer value. To serve others is to go deep to understand their business model, their industry, their pain points, and their opportunities. Have you ever done a SWOT Analysis? It's a dive into the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of something. It's worth doing for your business, and mentally you need to be doing this on the businesses of the companies you are meeting with.
Don't assume you know their business, ask the questions and probe to gather information that can help you understand their pain points better, the problems they face, and the solutions you can offer to those items.
The selling mentality was like the trophy hunter mentality. You hunt the game, kill the game, then move on to pursue the next game.
Serving is different.
Serving versus selling follows up and doesn't forget a customer.
Serving cares before, during, and after the initial sale. It follows up and stays in touch. It continues to offer resources along the way and makes sure clients are aware of new trends or changes that are important for them. In our website design side, we make it a point to not go longer than 8 weeks in touching base with existing clients. That's the farthest out we want a "last connection point" to be.
This is more than just an upsell opportunity, it's about caring for that business and how things are going. People can easily sniff out the difference. You've had those calls and emails. You know what I'm talking about! Don't be the upsell freak. Continue to offer service and stay in touch and the natural outgrowth can be that when you have a new upsell, they will listen to you explain it's value because you've provided value and help over time.
There's more in the podcast! That's the summary verison of the how and why of serving versus selling.
Ultimately, serving does lead to sales, it's just not selling at all costs. In fact, it's greater sales as repeat business and referrals increase.
What’s your key takeaway that you need to do in the next 24 hours based on listening to this?
Resources outlined in this episode:
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I’m an Indiana Hoosier native where basketball is the top sport. Every team heads to the locker room at halftime to evaluate the first half and create a updated plan for the second half. That plan includes adjustments based on reviewing what worked and what didn't. The “halftime” is a key review point where the game stops, the team pulls away to huddle in the locker room away from the fans, and they come out prepared and ready to succeed in the second half.
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