Today's post: how to get your foot in the door!

Today’s post: how to get your foot in the door!

First, a little bit of housekeeping…

I’m officially kicking off the launch of my Story Selling Master Class today — by NOT offering anything for sale!

Instead, this morning, I recorded an incredibly-valuable FREE presentation covering the power of story selling, as well as The 3 Pillars of Highly Effective Story Selling.

You don’t get it today…  UNLESS you were on the wait list.

You might get it tomorrow, if you’re lucky — but if you want to make sure you get all the great content I’m delivering as part of the lead-up to the Story Selling Master Class official launch…

Click here to join the wait list!

I’ll also be including some great Story Selling content in upcoming issues of Breakthrough Marketing Secrets — but today I wanted to talk about something else…

I’ve been unfaithful to YOU!

I’ll explain…

Normally, I put most of my efforts into delivering great content to you, as a Breakthrough Marketing Secrets reader.

And, short of paying me tens of thousands of dollars to do consulting and copywriting with you, this is the only place you can get my “from the trenches” business advice.

But I’ve been lurking on reddit recently, and I really like it as a social media platform.

In case you don’t know, reddit is basically one huge forum.  And it’s broken down into a bunch of sub-forums, called subreddits.  You can subscribe to subreddits, to get the latest conversations taking place in each.

But before you say, “Aren’t forums so 1999?”, a comment…

Unlike normal forums, reddit does a really good job of bringing the best of the best to the forefront.

Posts can be sorted by recency, how “hot” they are, and a number of different measures.  Comments are sorted by default by how many votes they’ve gotten, so the most relevant and useful conversations are brought up top.  (Like Amazon product reviews.)

It’s just very conducive to having great conversations — and it shows.  Reddit is full of great conversations!

Well, I subscribed to a few subreddits, and have shared my comments on a few conversations…

And I found something really interesting…

Lurking and commenting on reddit is really inspirational when it comes to finding topics to speak with YOU about!

And so even though I’m spreading myself around, it’s only to make our relationship better.

Okay, so before I take that metaphor too far…

Here’s a conversation that really piqued my interest in the /r/sales subreddit…

“How do you convince a customer to hold an initial meeting?”

Basically, this guy is in B2B sales.  His company gets a lot of high-potential leads from a partner, but it’s up to him to engage the prospect and turn it into a sale.

And there’s a HUGE difference in the advice he’s getting from everyone else there, and the advice I gave him…

And frankly, I’d love to go up against any one of those other sales people competing for the same business, because I’d totally clean the floor with them!

Here’s the BAD sales advice he’s getting from everyone else…

Basically, everyone else is giving the old-school sales advice of “Put on a steel-toed boot, and shove your foot in the door before they can slam it in your face!”

In other words, “Tell them the benefits you can offer them.”  Or, “Ask to schedule a meeting.”  Or, “Tell them who you’re calling for, and ask if they can talk now.”

Do this, and you’ll get some meetings, sure.  But you’ll get a lot more rejection than acceptance.  You’ll have to play the numbers game.  And you won’t feel good at the end of the day.

To be fair, the original question was about what he could say on the phone to get prospects to want to pay attention to him.

But when someone is asking the wrong question, you don’t have to answer it directly if there’s a better way to get the outcome they want.

And so I didn’t answer directly, but instead offered a total paradigm shift that could transform his sales career, the business he works for, and his future.

Here’s how to actually get a prospective customer to CHASE YOU!

The secret?

Education-based marketing.

Become the preeminent provider and subject matter authority in your field.  (Big hat tip to Jay Abraham on this.)

Overwhelm these prospects with useful information.  About…

— How to make a smart purchasing decision around your products.

— Important decisions and buying criteria.

— Common mistakes and how to avoid them.

— Why they should choose you over every other option available to them in the marketplace, including no action or developing a solution internally.

— And any other relevant topic to prospects for your offer.

Help them make a buying decision, even if that means recognizing they are NOT a fit for you. That also helps them be confident when you are a perfect fit.

The idea here is that you want to become a hub for information on the buying process in your field, in your industry.

Make it about everything THEY NEED, not about you making the sale.

Will you send some customers to your competitors this way?  Absolutely!  But not nearly as many as all the additional customers you’ll get from using this method.

By being the preeminent educator around the buying process in your industry, all those leads you want to speak with will actually want to speak with you.  You’ll close more sales.  But, also, it will have a viral effect.  This is totally sharable information — and people talk.  So your information will get passed around, and will bring in even more leads on its own.

There’s one more thing you have to do to get this right…

It’s one thing to educate, it’s another entirely to do education-based marketing.  (I should also give a hat tip to Joe Polish for the inspiration and specific term here.)

As part of your education efforts, you also have to give prospects a clear next step for when they decide to move forward with you.  Asking for action is what turns it into effective marketing.

For this, in a lot of cases, this means you’re going to make an offer for them to speak with you (or your sales team).

I’m a STRONG proponent of building a diagnostic consultation here.  For anything more than a retail product, you want to be able to speak with the prospect, and make sure they’re a fit.

This also allows you to go through the decision-making process with them, to close the sale.

Set this up so it’s designed to give the same kind of value as the education itself.

When I sold IT training, I used to offer a training consultation to explain how our multi-user training solutions worked, and help prospects decide if that was a fit for their organization and training goals.

Here’s why the “consultation” offer works…

The sales person who asked the question above was wondering how to get prospects on the phone with them.

But here’s a little secret…

People, in general, would prefer not to talk with sales people!

Right or wrong, most people have a bias against “being sold to.”

That’s why it’s so hard to get the appointment in the first place.

But if you give a ton of information about the product, topic, field, and how to make a buying decision, you’ve positioned yourself as a consumer advocate.

Then, to offer a consultation to help them make their buying decision is only taking this one step further.

They no longer see you as a salesperson.  They see you as their champion.  As someone who provides support that they want.

And so it’s a very comfortable thing for them to actually request to get on the phone with you.  (Never mind you chasing them!)

You’ve repositioned the entire selling process through education-based marketing, and it makes every step easier (and frankly, more fun).

When you make it all about helping them, rather than closing the sale, there’s no resistance at all, and they actually want to hear from you!

Instead of asking cold for appointments, you can offer to send information.  Then, follow up on it to see if there are any questions they need answered.  Even, offer more relevant information if you have it.  Eventually, change the conversation to offering that consultation.

Do this right, and you go well beyond just getting appointments.  You turn prospects into leads, and leads into customers and clients!

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr