The first 2 steps in selling inbound marketing services is:
- Getting the prospect to realise they have a problem you can fix
- Getting the prospect to believe the person standing in front of them (you) is capable of finding a solution to their problem.
The question your prospect is asking themselves is:
‘can i trust this person?’
Many salespeople believe the first step in building this trust relationship is listening to the prospect’s problem. But something else must come before listening. Before the prospect is willing to give you their time so you can listen to them, you must build a connection.
This is because sharing a business problem with you involves a lot of personal risk from the prospect. Emotional energy, time and personal risk is involved in them trusting you with this information. Before they trust you, they must be confident of a good outcome.
You give prospects this confidence by delivering value upfront. Instead of asking for the prospect’s time and just listening to them in the meeting, bring value to it.
Prospects don’t open up because we listen, they must be sure we are worth talking to on this issue first.
An example to add value
A major consulting firm built their success by carefully selecting target accounts and before doing any outreach they thoroughly researched the market, developing insights, opinions and a point of view. They would then approach their prospect and say:
‘We have some unique insights into your industry and we’d like to come and share them with you, for free. We don’t pretend to know your business as well as you do, but we think we’ve got some information and views that are a little different.
May we come and discuss them with you?’.
Not every inbound agency has the time and resource to go into such a level of detail for every target prospect. However the principle still applies. Perhaps create a small list of target accounts, 10-15 and compile some bespoke insights for each then lead with this value before asking for their time.