Before Prospects Hire You For Inbound, You Have To Move Them Out Of Their Comfort Zone
Your prospects are human beings. That might sound obvious, but we ignore that fact every single day. Because they’re humans, they don’t want to change, they don’t want to stop doing what they’ve been doing for 20 years, just because you showed up and introduced them to inbound marketing.
In fact, they are going to do everything in their power to NOT make changes. They are going to convince themselves and everyone around them that inbound marketing is just like what they’re currently doing.
Oh, inbound….that includes email marketing—we already do that. Oh, inbound…that includes search, we hired an SEO firm last year and that didn’t work out. Inbound…do we need software for that? Right, well we have salesforce.com, that’s almost the same thing. We’re good.
They’re pre-programed to NOT make any changes. Changes are scary, people get fired for changes. So you’re going to have to work extra hard to move them out of their comfort zone, to disrupt their status quo and get them to feel like if they DON’T change, they are going to be facing even bigger risks.
Here’s how you do that.
I’ve preached for many years that you need a specific message model to engage emotionally with prospects and the same goes for your clients. But now I’m changing that model to start with a disruptive message first, to strategically move people to action.
Here are a few examples.
Harvard Business Review published a recent study that noted 90% of executives stated they never respond to any cold outreach, either cold calls, cold mailings or cold emails. Now if my entire marketing and sales effort is based on cold calling, direct mail or email list purchases I might have to wonder about my choices of programs.
Gartner recently reported that 74% of the people they surveyed in C-level positions said that they hire the company/rep that is the first to add value to their purchasing process. Again, if my sales process and my marketing effort is built on Contact Us, or Speak with a Sales Rep and all the sales people want to do is provide pricing—they’re going to lose a lot of deals.
By sharing these data points, we can illustrate that something needs to change or risk being in a precarious position.
Inbound Sales Methodology
This is tricky because almost everyone has a different status quo, a different level of pain and a different buyer journey. The inbound sales methodology teaches you to adjust your sales process accordingly. But your company needs a single sales process regardless of opportunity or sales rep.
By adding an inbound sales process to your agency, you’ll start with disruption and then move into value added. Providing your prospects with value at every stage of the sales process. This is the best way to get them to know, like and trust you. Once they feel safe, that you and your agency is going to be able to help them—you’re ready to talk about solutions, pricing and the details of an engagement.
One size fits all is out. Packages are out. Why, because every prospect is different. They all think they have special needs and to some extent they do. They’re going to feel much safer and close much more quickly if they feel like you’re creating something special for them.
Use this opportunity to make them feel special. Include a little extra in your recommendations. Maybe the extra tactic is “on you” as a way to say thank you for the consideration. This also gets back to your inbound sales process. This has to be designed in a way that creates the feeling of a special, remarkable and unique experience. This is a potential deliverable and you need to practice what you preach.
Almost everyone is going to come into your agency with a little skepticism. Some of the promises around inbound are inflated and sound too good to be true. Others fallacies are being perpetuated by other inexperienced agencies. Most of the prospects have seen and heard both.
Make sure your engagement, your team and your agency is set up to deliver results and deliver them quickly. The client is going to get in your way. Plan for it. Some have never worked with an agency before. Others have never worked with an inbound agency. Others have never done inbound. There is a learning curve here, a change management effort and it takes concentrated effort to impact results.
Don’t expect everything to go as planned, expect the unexpected and be prepared for it. Create a clear service level agreement in the beginning that outlines what they expect from you and what you expect from them. Sign it and review it regularly.
Inbound marketing agencies are change agents. We get people to move from traditional, sit back and wait advertising to proactive, work on it today, adjust it tomorrow inbound marketing. Everything about the experience is different and is going to feel uncomfortable to your clients. Set that expectation upfront and then work every single day to get them to be comfortable with what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and why.
Start Today Tip – How are you doing closing new clients? Four a month? One a month? One every quarter? If you’re not hitting your goals, then you have to look at why and why might be because you’re not moving them out of their status quo. Your solutions sound too much like what they’ve already been doing. Get disruptive. Get bold with them. Tell them why their traditional old-school tactics are only going to degrade more over time. Show them some stats. Make them fearful of doing nothing. That’s the only way you’ll get them open to listening to you and how inbound will impact their business.
Agencies 2 Inbound – Helping You GO ALL IN ON Inbound!
If you're trying to grow your inbound marketing agency there are specific stages of growth. Find out where you are on the journey by downloading this infographic growth chart for inbound marketing agencies.