How content is giving sales a heart - Bye quick hits, hello relationships
Posted: 01 October 2014Let’s face it, sales hasn't always had the warmest reputation. Some may say 'pushy' or 'aggressive' are pretty spot on, they're not unfair descriptions giving the old-school style of selling. But things have changed. Always Be Closing isn't a principal that sits well with the modern audience. The balance has tipped and there's more to sales than numbers.
Today’s market have been empowered by the digital age and they are owning their own sales experience. This is where relationship-based sales is hitting the mark. Pitted against old-school tactics, this new movement is coming up trumps. It’s all about building relationships, giving consumers the tools and confidence to know what they want/need. There’s nothing flimsy or passive about this technique, it takes everyday work and consistent communication.
So what can bridge the gap between modern audiences and companies? How can sales teams get a word in edgeways and sway these distracted, DIY consumers? The answer is content. Content in all its forms is changing the way sellers communicate and audiences behave. It can develop trust, create leads and most importantly, develop long-term relationships with consumers.
To give you an insight into how content can change your sales process, here’s a few old-school vs. relationship-based scenarios. How can content help us reposition our pitch and create opportunities to opt for the long-term win rather than the quick, flash in the pan fix.
Old-school vs. Relationship-based #1 - Needs.
Back in the day, a pivotal part of sales was creating a need and moving on it. Nowadays consumers are a little savvier and question the sales process more heavily. This is where content can transform old-school techniques into a relationship-based approach. Instead of creating a need that serves company goals, put the consumer first. It’s a move that will come full circle and benefit all involved. Listen and then act.
Get on social media and be part of the conversational, research period. A massive move in sales has been the consumer’s ability to research, access info and inform themselves. Be aware of that and uncover;
- What do they actually need?
- What questions do they have?
- How do they find/discuss their findings?
- How are your competitors targeting them?
Creating social content is having a social presence. Don’t second-guess or fabricate needs to pounce on, observe real-time ones and start conversations that get to the root of that need.
Old-school vs. Relationship-based #2 - Education.
Cold calls and faceless email marketing doesn’t hold the promise they once did. Consumers don’t respond to random attacks. If anything, this old-school tactic will hurt your connection with your consumers. People remember and a bad employer brand can be your downfall.
Modern day audience want information. It’s a commodity many sales teams hold back, hoping to lure prospects into making contact - priming them for the attack. A relationship-based approach is all about content being the bridge between sales team and audience. You see, sales isn’t just about ramming products and services down the throats of consumers - it’s about selling an experience.
Giving audiences a wealth of information in the form of whitepapers, reviews and blogs empowers them to own their decision-making process. It also sets you up as an expert resource - a killer selling technique. It builds trust and credibility, two of the most important factors to winning sales strategy.
Old-school vs. Relationship-based #3 - The Sales Call.
Modern sales teams are dedicated to involving audiences. Where once the sales call was a one-sided affair, the modern equivalent is a little different. With self-education playing a major role in sales, the quality of conversations is on the up. Consumers tend to make actual contact with companies after all their research is complete and minds are 99% made up. Content has played a huge role in leveling this playing field. Creating thorough FAQs, product-specific videos or community forums where audiences can instant message teams without picking up the phone, are all great moves.
It makes that final call a conversation of quality and personalisation. Cheap flattery won’t fly. Sales teams need to prove that they know their market and are prepared to listen and get personal. People like to buy from people, not stale companies with only one aim - to sell. Building relationships with consumers means this conversation is a chat, not a pitch.
Relationship-based sales is not so much a case of out with the old (school) and in with the new; it’s more about slowing down the race and looking at the long-term, bigger picture. These new audiences are duped by gimmicks and they don’t want a company to ‘tell’ them what they want, they want to be part of the process and demand better service.
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- (Tweet This) Cheap flattery doesn’t fly in sales anymore.
- (Tweet This) Always Be Closing isn’t a principal that sits well with the modern audience.
- (Tweet This) Content is changing the way sellers communicate and audiences behave.
- (Tweet This) Don’t second-guess needs to pounce on, observe real-time ones and start conversations.