The use of an “education based” marketing and sales process can be way more effective than the traditional quotation/negotiation process. This is especially true when your customer is in the residential market and so more emotionally involved with the outcome. By “education based” marketing I mean giving away useful information and advice in the earliest stages of the sales process to increase the level of trust and rapport that the potential customer feels for you. It is low or no cost, but takes a bit of time to build the system and tools involved, then continually refine the process each time.
This approach compares to jumping to the quotation stage a bit quicker and then negotiating a possible sale, as you battle with the other companies fighting for the same deal. This is the approach that a lot of businesses take and I believe has had its day.
Along with this education based marketing is a set of guidelines that I suggest you consider. I have set them out as a list of common mistakes that people make when implementing this style of marketing, so look at each one in turn and try to eliminate it from your marketing campaigns.
Mistake #1. Trying to appeal to everyone. By going too broad you water down the effect of your marketing message. Try to concentrate on ONE specific person with ONE specific problem or desire and aim your marketing at that person. If you want to appeal to several types of customers, set up separate campaigns, or do just aim at one at a time.
Mistake #2. Not Understanding your prospect’s REAL hot buttons. Try to get into your prospect’s head and understand what really drives their behavior. Not sure what they are? Ask what is important and relevant to them.
Mistake #3. Only going for the sale. The aim of education based marketing is to move the prospect to the next lowest risk step. Rush the process and you risk “spooking the deer” and loosing the sale. By adding in a extra step or two in the sales process you will build rapport with the prospect and also increase trust and feelings of reciprocity.
Mistake #4. Not getting the free content right. The aim is to give away as much useful information as possible, BUT not so much that they don’t need you any more. Aim to tell them WHAT they need to know, but be a bit lighter on how they should do it (except hire you of course!)
Mistake #5. Not having a clear next step. What is the next step in the sale process do you want the prospect to take? Is it clear to them or are they a bit confused and may drift away?
Mistake #6. Follow-up failure. The impression that some prospects may have if you don’t follow-up each step is that you are unprofessional and unreliable and are probably not the best person to go with. You may in fact be much better than a competitor, but because they followed up and you didn’t, they are PERCEIVED to be better.
Takeaway action. What type of education based give-away can you develop that you can offer to prospects at the early stage of your sales process and that might help increase the credibility of your company in the eyes of your prospective customer? Email me for help with this if you need it by clicking HERE.
Andy Burrows. The Trades Coach