Selling is a specialist art and is not something that just anyone can do well. Of course anyone can sell something given enough time to try and of course if they were say ‘slightly flexible with the truth’.
The difficulty comes when trying to create a sustainable brand, and because you want it to have some form of longevity you don’t want to suddenly be dealing with lots of complaints and bad PR.
Sometimes it is not who has the most experience or knowledge that really succeeds in this, it is the sales person that can actually put themselves in the buyers shoes and see things from their perspective.If you put yourself in the buyers’ shoes then you really would know what to say, when to say is and most importantly how to explain it.
This Can Be A Challenge
In the digital marketing industry when it comes to doing this, most of the time we have our work cut out for the following reasons:
- It is quite complex and therefore can be difficult to explain the details of what we actually do
- Its unpredictable (to a certain extent), you can never 100% predict the exact result that will occur from the work being done
- Most people have been burnt in the past by so called experts and specialists who don’t actually know what they are doing and have promised results quickly, and as such the results never come
The above reasons make it so important to really put yourself in their position and try and sell in a way that their individual situation requires.
Avoid Sales Scripts
A lot of companies out there use sales scripts, not just in the digital industry but in a wide variety of sectors. At Koozai we don’t. Quite honestly I think people are clever enough to see through them and you get much better results by not sticking to a scripted pitch.
For example, imagine a potential client calls and their opening line to the conversation is ”We know we really need to do this but we have worked with other agencies who have promised results that have not been met. They took thousands of pounds from us and we are very wary of this happening again.”
You need to start your conversation with some reassurance. What the customer doesn’t want to know straight away is all the top level facts about you and the agency you work for! Here are some tips with what to start your conversation with and what to leave till later.
Talk about later
- Tell them how long you have been around for
- Give them insight into how many people work for your agency
- Provide them with details about how many offices you have
What the customer really wants to get to understand is whether you are going to fill them with open promises and not deliver on them. They have outlined their concerns and you need to address these.
Talk about now
- Show that you care and are understanding of their situation
- Explain that not all agencies are the same
- Tell them that you receive many calls from potential customers who share very similar experiences
- Back up what you are saying but providing them access to your case studies and testimonials
- Share any recent award wins with them so they can see you are true to your word
- Offer to put them in touch with your existing customers who were once in their shoes
By answering and addressing their concerns, this will set things off on a much smoother path. The main thing you need to achieve above anything else is to gain their trust. As soon as you have their trust they will be able to give you much more insight into what they are looking to achieve from their digital marketing project.
If you simply run through a sales script expect to annoy the customer and don’t expect them to want to work with you.
Another hurdle sales people need to overcome is talking about costing. If your potential customer doesn’t understand what you are going to do and the impact it will have on their business they are not going to understand your pricing.
The better you explain the process of how you work at the start, the easier it will be when it comes to providing a quote.
- Jump straight in with a price
- Presume you know what the customer needs
- Send a generic analysis report or quote
- Fill your proposal or quote with lots of technical jargon that the customer may not understand
- Explain how you work as an agency
- Get a full understanding of the customers goals
- Discuss how much they are willing to spend, without this budget in mind your quote will not match their expectations
- Tailor your analysis to the customers website and goals
- Understand their business and any restrictions they may have
- Provide a quote based on their requirements
Speak English, Not Jargon
It is far too easy for us to start talking and almost end up just confusing the situation by talking in a language that only people within the industry really understand. This really won’t get you anywhere fast.
Have you ever been to the hospital and had the surgeon standing at the end of your bed talking in ‘doctors talk’ and not had a clue what they were talking about? I am sure most people have been in that situation and I imagine that you were sat there thinking “Please just explain this to me in simple terms!”
Talking to someone about digital marketing who may not be very well averse to the subject is exactly the same. You need to explain everything in layman’s terms to avoid making the customer feel stupid for not understanding you.
I always say that people deal with people. If you come across in an arrogant fashion, then I am not going to want with you or to spend any money with you.
The customer needs to feel like you are on their wave length, putting yourself in their shoes. If the customer can relate to you and understand you then you are going to have a much better chance of getting the customer to come on board.
Always remember that most companies will not just speak to one agency before deciding to go ahead. Especially if they have been burnt in the past, they are going to do their research and decide to proceed with someone that they trust and want to work with. People are not always price led so even if they are speaking to another agency who are saying they will do the same amount of work as you, they will more often than not go with someone that they have built a good rapport with.
A famous quote from Albert Einstein sums this up perfectly “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
Selling something that you have a real passion for should not be difficult. The challenge comes in if you don’t think of the customer first. Always put yourself in their shoes and listen for the clues as to what they want you to answer and what their priorities are.
If you get this right, you are on the right track and will be well ahead of a lot of companies in your industry offering the same as you.
About the Author, Ben Norman
Ben Norman is a published author on the subject of SEO and his book “Get to #1 on Google” is now in its 3rd edition, selling more than 50,000 copies. He is the managing director of Digital Marketing Agency Koozai and oversees the day-to-day running of the company.
This post is part of a special guest post series this summer in which we’ve asked (search) marketers to take a ‘different perspective’ on things.