May I ask you a question?

questionOne of the biggest issues marketing and sales folks face is just getting on the radar screen of their prospects. Even when you have something of incredible value and you genuinely know the prospect needs what you have to sell – it’s tough to get their attention long enough to ask a question or even be noticed.

That’s even more of a challenge for organizations that don’t have a six-figure marketing budget or exist in a crowded, competitive landscape.

That’s where some psychology can be incredibly helpful.

One thing that is almost universally true about us humans is that we are incredibly flattered when someone thinks we have something of value to offer in the way of experience, knowledge, expertise or hard-earned wisdom.

And that, I believe, is the door we need to open if we want a prospect’s time.  For this technique to work, I think the following needs to be true about your business:

  • You/your organization have a niche/specialty in which you have a great depth of expertise
  • You have some outlet (website, blog, podcast, newsletter) in which you share that expertise without a sales pitch or being self-serving
  • You have a genuine interest in the people you serve and a passion for helping them in your unique way with whatever you do/sell
  • You sell something that is more of a considered purchase and less of a commodity

If that’s you, read on.

Make a list of your ideal prospects and their influencers. Who would you most like to serve and are the people/companies that you know you could delight? Or, who has information/insights that could be incredibly valuable to your target audience?

Once you have compiled the list, call/email them and ask them if you can interview them for your blog, website, newsletter, podcast, etc.  I think you’ll be surprised at how many of them say yes and are flattered by the invitation.

Now the hard work begins.  Do your homework.  The prep for the interview is key to the success of this marketing tactic.  You want to ask questions that really get them to go deep and give you some insights into the way they think, work and what they believe about the work they do.

Be smart about the interview itself. I know I don’t have to tell you this but show up on time, look and act professionally, be gracious if things go awry, and don’t sell. If your interviewee asks about your business, give them a quick overview but do not go into selling mode. You’re there to learn and connect. Focus on that.

Send a handwritten thank-you note after the interview, sharing something valuable you learned during your time together. Not an email or a computer generated thank you.  Invest the time to actually write the note.

Next, create the content piece and reach back to your interviewee so they can review it.  Share with them your publication plans and tell them you’ll send them a link/copy once it’s out there so they can share it with their network as well.

When you hit publish (or print the newsletter if you’re old school), re-connect with your interviewee and invite (not demand, require or nag) them to share it.

Let’s recap your prospect touches.  Between the initial invitation and the publishing of the content, you’ve connected five times.  That difficult to reach prospect has probably welcomed your communications five times.  If you’ve been engaging and sincere, I believe they would be willing to at least learn a little more about the work you do.

Not only that but you are creating content that truly helps your entire customer and prospect base.

That’s marketing that will lead to sales time and time again.

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