magnifying_glass_customerThe old saying, “people don’t mind buying but they hate to be sold to” has never been more true.

Today’s buyer is hip to the typical marketing tactics. They’re on to the ways sales people try to manipulate the conversation.

C’mon…you’re a buyer. Aren’t you on to all of that? And I’m sure you hate it too.

We’ve all been conditioned to hate the sales experience – we’ve seen pushy sales people in movies and on TV. We’ve felt pressured by sales people hawking everything from insurance to furniture to cars.

And while you may not want to be “that guy”, it’s easy to fall into what I refer to as “ego-focused” marketing and selling.

Ego-focused messages are the sort that make vague claims, use lots of hypey BUY-NOW language, and talk about how great the business is.

Client-focused messaging is focused on the problem your Prime Suspects have, the impact of that problem on their business, life, or both and educates the Suspect about the solution options.

You KNOW your offerings can help the person who comes to your website or who you meet over the vegetable tray at the local association dinner.

But why can’t they see that?

Did I mention they hate being sold to?

You created your message in the highest levels of your brain, using the most sophisticated concepts you could think of.

But when they receive the message, it comes into the most primitive area of their brain first – their lizard brain if you will.

They are on high alert for anything that smacks of a marketing or sales message and they’re likely to just dismiss it — and you — as fast as they can.

So whether people are going to your website, watching your video channel, or meeting you in the buffet line, inspiring them to pay attention to you and your messages requires you being client-focused rather than ego-focused.

There are 5 components of a Client-Focused sales process…

  1. Profit. This component includes your offerings – they need to be high-value, solution-focused offerings that your Prime Suspects want and are willing to pay for. This involves creating a profitable business model that leverages your time, is based on the greatest gifts you have, and is easily scalable.
  2. Position. Each of us may be unique in the eyes of the Creator but distinguishing between service providers is not easy for a buyer. One accounting firm is just like all the others to them. You’ve got to be clear about how and why you’re different and it needs to be a difference that matters and is of high value to your Prime Suspects.
  3. People. This component consists of your referral partners, you (you’re a people), and your Prime Suspects. The more you know and understand them the better you can do at creating messages that truly resonate with them and inspire them to take action. No convincing. If you feel the people you’re talking to need convincing then you’re talking to the wrong people.
  4. Pre-Sell. Your sales process starts with your branding, includes marketing tactics like awareness building activity, and goes through to inspiring repeat business and getting testimonials. But how do you help people move through THEIR buying process without pushing or dragging them? That’s where pre-selling comes in. It’s the bridge between marketing and sales. Pre-Selling consists of activities that elevate you to the level of specialist, expert, authority in your focus area. Pre-Selling also includes educating your Prime Suspects. Educating them about the problem, the implications and impact, and – most importantly – how to make a buying decision. Buyers may be experts in the subject area. They may be incredibly knowledgeable about the problem. But they are likely to have blind spots that impact their perception of the impact or of the solution. They’re unlikely to understand the differences between solutions or between the solution providers. If the buyer doesn’t understand the difference between or how to choose between solution providers, they’re going to make their choice based on the easiest things for them to see. Price is the very easiest. You don’t want to compete on price, you know that.
  5. Process. The work of people like Robert Cialdini, Dan Ariely, and others in the field of behavioral economics, has shown us that humans (us included) are often irrational. But there’s still a process people go through when they buy. How fast they go through that process depends on many things including their own personality, what they’re buying, and the level of commitment involved in the purchase. Your sales process needs to follow their buying process, so each step of the way you’re providing them with the information, tools, and / or resources they need to make the best decision for them. But selling doesn’t stop with the actual purchase. It continues through service-delivery and beyond. You’re always helping the buyer rationalize their choice, and recommit to working with you – through to the successful conclusion of this project as well as on the next one. You want to help them to become fans and advocates for you and your services.

If you’re feeling frustrated with how long it takes for a Prime Suspect to go from contact to client, then it’s time to review your process and messaging to identify ways you can continue to improve your client-focus and reduce your ego-focus.


About the author 

Winnie Anderson

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