Stop selling, start helping

By: Tim Butler

Date: 23 April 2018

Stop selling, start helpingThere has been a power shift in the sales process. If people want answers to their questions when considering a purchase, they go online. The internet has empowered consumers, and the sales person is no longer the fountain of knowledge they once were.

Helping your prospects, rather than outright selling to them, can shift power over the sales process back into your hands. The important thing is to help the right people and offer the right advice.

What is marketing intelligence?

Marketing intelligence is information is gathered by tracking a person's visits to your website and seeing which pages they visited, which blog posts they read, which whitepapers they downloaded, and so on.

You can build a real understanding of their interests, goals and concerns - before you even pick up the phone to them. This process is referred to as inbound sales.

There are a number of different automation tools that can assist with tracking, sales and contact management. Implementing one of these tools allows businesses to gather real, actionable insights about their prospects' needs and behaviour.

The inbound sales process

First of all, you need to invest time in creating useful content that pulls in visitors to your site - a webinar, white paper, set of top tips, guide or quick solution. This means that when you later call your prospect, instead of leading with a sales pitch, you can say something like; 'I saw that you downloaded this white paper. Here is a case study about a client of ours who faced a similar challenge.'

Providing the answers to issues instead of pushing your product or service is refreshing for consumers, and can ultimately lead to an enquiry, followed by a sale.

Take it step by step

You can break the inbound sales process into five simple steps:

  1. Employ an inbound marketing methodology, in which you provide killer content that draws people to your site.
  2. Track visits to your website, so you know who is visiting your website and what they are looking at, in order to gather market intelligence.
  3. Provide helpful advice specific to that person's needs. You should know exactly how you are going to help them before you pick up the phone.
  4. After helping your prospect, keep the lines of communication open. If you can find opportunities to speak with your prospect in future, they are more likely to buy from you.
  5. Remember you're helping, not selling. Turning to a full-on sales pitch too soon can deter potential customers.

This sales approach suits human psychology. We are programmed to help each other, and this means that if you help someone then they feel obliged to help you back. That first call to help them could lead to a sale further down the line. Be patient and build a relationship.

The knowledge available to people now is vast. The future is about helping, not selling - so make sure you adapt your sales strategy to stay ahead of your business competition.

Sponsored post. Copyright © 2018 Tim Butler, founder of digital marketing consultancy Innovation Visual.