Buyers can learn a great deal about the solutions to their problems before they ever reach out to someone in sales.
But the reality is, people are skeptical of sales representatives, because the impression is that these are people whose job it is to make the sale – regardless of how well it meets the customer’s needs. It makes sense from a sales perspective to ensure your customers are happy, since it’s more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to retain them. But not every company out there follows that philosophy.
Trust is critical, because if they question your motivations, there’s no way they’ll do business with you. Besides, relationships built with trust as a priority are more likely to last longer, and to be more profitable in the long run. When a customer trusts you, they are going to come to you any time they have a need you can address for them.
And when their friends, family, and colleagues come to them with a need you can solve, they will recommend you. People trust recommendations from people they know, even through social media, more than they trust traditional ads.
1. Educate your prospects
If you skip straight to the pitch, trying off the bat to sell to a prospect, you’re not building a relationship – you’re actually pushing that prospect away. People don’t want to be sold to. They want to know they can trust you – and one of the best ways you can do this is focus on educating your prospects to remove any friction points and issues of doubt about your products and services.
Buyer journeys are becoming more complex, and increasingly individualised. As such, you must be prepared for any number of moves with your target audience in mind. You should have a series of resources available to share with prospects at any given moment.
Most of your prospects are looking for the same information. They want to learn about who you are as a company, how the products and services can solve their problems and help them reach their goals, and how you are different from the competition.
While you want to show the features, it’s more important to show the benefits of your products and services – your primary object is solving problems for your audience.
The information needs to be displayed on your website in prominent areas so your prospects won’t miss it, and so they can learn about your product or service before they even make first contact with you.
Your “About” page should provide details about your business, including how long you’ve been in operation, why you’re a credible source in the industry, and who your key team members are.
Your contact information should also be easy to find, so that when your prospects have questions they can’t answer for themselves, they can reach you easily.
2. Think of the sales journey as a hierarchy of needs
By focusing on the hierarchy of needs and how your products and services address them for your customer, you can build the trust they need to have with you to provide their email address to you. This is a major step in the journey as it gives you permission to connect with them on a regular basis.
The hierarchy of needs starts at the bottom with the physiological needs of food, water, warmth and rest. Then, you have safety needs, followed by belongingness and love needs – friends and intimate relationships, which covers your psychological needs. Next to the top, you have esteem needs. At the top, you have your self-fulfilment needs, which covers self-actualisation, which relates to achieving your full potential, which includes creative activities.
As people trust you more, they’ll share more personal details with you. It starts with baseline relevance and trust that your company can meet someone’s needs – and goes on to interest and preference over the other available options, then moves to trust with personal information, then trust with financial and other sensitive information, and tops out with a willingness to commit to an ongoing relationship.
It’s through the consistent nurturing of your leads through email that you’ll earn the trust required to get access to the sensitive and financial information that’s necessary before you’ll get the commitment for an ongoing relationship, where you have earned a customer.
3. Nurture leads beyond the inbox
Everything will run smoothly as you’re working to build trust. It’s usually when you pitch prospects too early or pressure someone to do business with you before they’ve gotten to know you when problems arise. This is true when asking for email addresses, too. If you ask too early, you’ll turn prospects off.
You must make promises to people if you want them to give you their email address. On your lead capture forms, always tell your prospects what you are going do with their email address. Some prospects will give you their email to get a free report or eBook you have to offer. Though there is no money involved, there is value in them giving you their address – and many will avoid giving it to you until they know you better.
That’s why it’s so important to use social media to connect with leads. Twitter and LinkedIn are especially effective for B2B audiences, while Facebook and Pinterest are strong in the B2C sector.
For more wisdom on how to nurture leads, you may want to follow these industry thought leaders. They’ll not only help you learn more about how you can nurture the leads you have in your pipeline, but they’ll also help you learn how to generate sales leads that are of high value to your business.
It’s all about trust
Your customers want and need to know you’ll talk care of them beyond a quality product or service. They want to know you’ll respect their privacy and keep their data safe – even their email addresses – and especially their financial and other sensitive information. If you can’t show them they can trust you and know they’re safe with you, they’ll go to your competition that they do feel comfortable with – rather than taking a risk by doing business with you.
It’s through building relationships over time and showing them you’ve got their best interests in mind, you’ll close more sales that keep your customers happy.