November 23, 2014

Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida business

How to turn prospects into customers

Include your prospect in the process of closing the gap between their problem and the solution.

Ron Stein | 2/10/2013

Selling is just a word we use to describe a process of creating and maintaining customer relationships. Really, it’s not evil. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. It’s what you need to do to grow you business -- and the help your prospects need to grow their business too.

Selling is all about offering and inviting, not forcing anyone to do anything. Think in terms of the value you offer and how you’re helping people who need a solution -- the products and services that you happen to have.

When it’s done right it’s a beautiful process. Offering information and a solution that helps prospects explore the issues and question they have, or may never have thought of is powerful.  It prevents a prospect from choosing an inappropriate solution or staying stuck in the place they are.

But the heart of it is listening to and engaging with people. A conversation frees you up to truly listen and help.

Marketing and selling conversations close the gap between your prospect’s desires to fix a problem they have and your ability to provide a solution full of value that addresses their specific issue.

It can happen during any type of communications -- face-to-face, thru email, a blog, or even your website. Here are essential points to keep in mind to move the conversation toward a sale:

Create an expectation -- establish context and purpose. Communicate to your prospect about what results you’ll provide and the action you’d like them to take and why. Don’t try to move forward to the next step of the marketing and selling cycle until there is agreement about your prospect’s current situation and how you can help. Let them know how you’ll work with them to resolve their issues. Make sure the information you provide and your promised response is in alignment with this -- whether in person or on you website.

Ask questions and listen. Let prospects know that you’d like to ask a few questions to better understand their situation and what solution will be best. Let them talk and resist the temptation to interrupt. It’s hard to do, but you must! Ask about their goals, what’s not working now, how they’ll measure success -- questions like these will help to determine if there’s a fit and build a real dialog resulting in a strong relationship. Be patient and follow your process.

Build a solution together. People want solutions to their problems and are willing to buy a desired outcome. Include your prospect in the process by taking a consultative approach. A collaborative effort will engage your prospect in a way that allows them to discover what it is they really need and showcase your and your company’s expertise to provide it. Now you’ll be working as a team trying to grow their business or make their life better. Doing this will firmly establish you as much more than someone trying to sell them your wares. By building a solution together they’ll end up buying a product or service from you that makes the most sense for them -- without you ever launching into an uncomfortable sales pitch.

People want solutions, benefits, value, and results. Help someone decide to be your customer by creating the moment where they say to themselves, “I need that”. You can make that happen only when your build genuine relationships by investing the time and effort to have conversations that helps prospects overcome their challenges and achieve their goals.


Read earlier columns from Florida Trend's business coach, Ron Stein
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Ron Stein is the founder and President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com). He has more than 20 years experience in sales, marketing, and business development, working positions ranging from salesman to vice president of sales and marketing to CEO of startups with industry leaders such as Motorola, VideoServer, Paradyne, and SercoNet. Ron is a member of the advisory team at the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, a nationally recognized entrepreneurial and startup accelerator for the state of Florida. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com

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