Model One: One of the most powerful real-world networking techniques is called “give-to-get”. You meet someone, find out what they’re interested in, and then find a way to give it to them. If you do this periodically, eventually they will return the favor.
Model Two: To compete, an organization must do so on Price, Expertise, or Trust. Leaving price aside, a powerful way to showcase expertise is to either blog, or send an insightful email from time-to-time. The more people read your insights, the more trust you earn.
Model Three: The Relationship Curve, which defines how people (and organizations) make decisions, states that prospective clients go through several stages: Awareness, Preference, Trial, and Commitment. Marketing planning is all about moving prospects up the relationship curve. (Think about it: it’s always easier to sell to your friends.)
What ties Give-to-Get, Price-Expertise-Trust, and the Relationship Curve together? In all three cases it is not about selling to a prospect, but rather earning the right to help them buy. The more you do this, and the faster you do this, the higher your sales. The more direct “selling” that you do the more they will see that your interests are your own – not theirs.
The most sophisticated marketers know that a website (and Social Media) only go so far. Whether you subscribe to Give-to-get, Price-Expertise-Trust, the Relationship Curve (or all three), there are three requirements to successfully “close” a sale:
- There must be a process. Without this, success is more happenstance and luck. Without this, there is no monitoring and measurement. And without this, there cannot be knowledge management: a mechanism to capture improvements and thereby improve the probability of future sales.
- There must be automation. Once a system is in place, automation both improves personal productivity, and dramatically increases the number of prospects that can be managed. An example of automation is my popular (free) blogging course. When you click this link and register, you are tagged in my system as a registrant, and then you receive six content-filled lessons on strategic blogging, one each week. Afterwards, you receive an email inviting you to a free webinar on how to monetize your blog. Because of automation, the course can be offered at no cost.
- There must be a real relationship. While automation is helpful, many marketers get carried away. They forget that it is the real-world relationship that will give you the knowledge to deliver on your promises post sale.
This week’s action plan: Objectively look at your marketing and ask yourself two questions:
- Does Give-to-get, Price-Expertise-Trust, or the Relationship Curve resonate with you? If so, how do your current marketing activities fit with these models?
- Do you have a system to automate the relationship-building (and tracking) process? If not, it’s time to start. (Happy to share what we use – just ask.)
This post has been written by 108’s Senior Advisor and former CEO Randall Craig.