In Part Three of this Blog Series on inbound agency New Business Development we talked about the importance of qualifying your prospects early and often.
Today, we’re going to look at how prospects think, how their brain works and what we have to do to get them to say “yes, let’s get started.”
To really understand how prospects think, we need to understand how the human brain processes certain types of information. In each of our brains, there is a buy button.
The part of the brain that controls the buy button is the same part of the brain that controls the fight or flight reflex. This part of the brain is designed to protect us. This is why you feel defensive when you’re talking to a sales person.
Making a purchase decision is a very emotional activity. It’s extremely complex. The sooner you understand exactly how all that biochemistry works inside your brain, the faster you’re be able to create a set of experiences for your prospects that have them saying yes, much more than they’re saying no.
Appeal To Their Emotions
We all make purchase decisions emotionally and then rationalize them out until we are 100% comfortable or feel 100% safe that this is the right decision for us. Think about any of the major purchases you’ve made over the past 30 days. Initially you probably loved it. Then you spent your time deciding if you could afford it. When you could get it. How you would pay for it. If it would fit. You get it right? That’s how your prospects make their decisions about hiring you.
You have to appeal to their emotions from the first time you speak with them and then at each step in your agency sales process. One great way to do this is to ask them a ton of questions. People love talking about themselves and their businesses. Once you get them going, it might be hard to stop. You need a guide, so you focus and drive the conversation where you want it to go. The better your questions the safer you’re prospect is going to feel, the smarter and more prepared you’re going to look. The more emotionally connected to you and your agency.
Make sure they understand the long term value of inbound marketing. They really don’t want to by inbound marketing, they want to buy the promise of more leads. Once you understand that you structure your conversations around the delivery of the promise. To get the leads, you need to buy the marketing. To get the hole, you need to buy the drill. Get it?
Get Them Feeling Safe and Keep them Feeling Safe
This concept of safe is very important. It’s difficult to establish and easy to lose. The sales cycle for a typical inbound marketing engagement might be 30 to 90 days. Maybe longer. There are a lot of chances to blow it during that timeframe. The more confident, planned out, and organized you can be the better your chances. Don’t wing it.
Having a well thought out process is one of those ways to get them feeling safe. People want to be lead. They want to be led by someone who knows what they’re doing. Asking prospects how they want to proceed or what do they think the next steps should be isn’t going to cut it. How should they know? How many inbound engagements have they sold, or managed for that matter. They want you to tell them how to get his party started and then they want you to hold their hand at every corner. Guess what? That’s exactly what you should be doing.
Tell them the exact process you’re going to be taking them through. Share with them the steps and why each step is in your process. Make sure the reasons are about them and not about you. Tell them what the entire process looks like and then continue to make sure they know what step you’re on, what comes next and why they should care.
Worried that they might not want to go along with you through this process? Don’t be. This is an excellent qualifier. If at any time they want to tell you what’s next, skip a step, or create their own process—disengage, let them know that you’re not sure they’re a good fit for your company and your process. You will be shocked at how quickly they get back in line.
Let them know that this is the ONLY way you do it, it’s the way you can ensure that they get the leads they need to hit their revenue goals and if they don’t like it, they can opt out at any time. Think about it like this. Do they know more about inbound than you do? No. So how can they dictate to you how the process of creating their inbound recommendations should roll out?
Tell Them Stories
As humans we’re horrible at remembering facts and figures, features and benefits. Yet people love talking about this stuff. Why? Because it makes you feel smart. The problem, most of us just tune it out. But start with a story and we connect, we engaged, we remember stories and we share stories.
Fill your sales process with exciting, relevant and short stories. Make sure that your clients or your prospects are the heroes in all those stories. They need to see themselves in those stories and they need to think that if they hire you, those same types of experiences will happen to them.
Co-Create Your Final Recommendation
No one likes surprises. When you spring a set of recommendations along with the cost on someone you have a very good chance of making them the opposite of safe. You should be working with your prospect closely on creating the recommendations. They should know what’s going to be in there and why. They should know what the investment will be and why. They should have had the opportunity to work with you and your team collaboratively to create the recommendations and the level of investment.
If you can pull this off, there should be no surprises when it’s time to sign. After all, they participated in telling you what should go in it and what they’re willing to invest in.
Don’t Blow It at the End
I’ve seen agencies spend months working with a prospect. They’ve got it all together and they’re ready to go. The last item includes getting their 10 page, attorney crafted “contract” signed and returned. Only one issue. Contracts make people nervous. Business people don’t understand the language so they have to let their attorney look at it. Now you have two attorneys who get paid by the hour justifying their fees by arguing over your language.
Forget it. Just give your prospects a basic agreement. Use the word agreement, not contract, not proposal. Keep it simple. Why do you need a long, complicated legal document anyway? If they want to sue you they will, if they want to fire you they will. The same goes true for you. So just skip this waste of time and money. Give them a basic document that outlines what you promise to do (the work) and what they promise to do (pay you) and you’re done.
There’s another saying that we’ve had at Square 2 Marketing for years that I think bears sharing. In the final meeting we have with a prospective client, we have a goal. That goal is to have the people who attend that meeting, leave that meeting saying, “We have to hire that company!”
If we presented a compelling business case, if we addressed all their concerns, if we made them feel safe choosing us, if we created a set of recommendations that are so personal to this company that they believe they wouldn’t be able to get the same work ANY where else, if we’ve gotten them to know, like and trust us—then they should have no trouble selecting us to work with them on their inbound marketing.
They should have had such a remarkable experience that they look at each other and say, “we have to work with this company.” That is out goal, and that should be you’re goal as well.
Start Today Tip – Set a similar goal for your sales efforts too but then work on all those areas that are currently not pulling towards making your prospects head over heels in love with you. Look at the way you talk about your engagement. Choose your words wisely, vocabulary matters. Make sure that you are confident and that you’re asking enough questions to get them comfortable, engaged and connected to your process and your company. Take an objective and honest look at the experience—then start working on ways to make it more remarkable, more transparent and more educational. The result will be more new clients in a very short order.
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