2011 brings with it a new twist on using timing as a differentiation strategy with the advent of nearly perfect information about products, price, communication and distribution. There’s never been a time in history where we knew so much detail about people; their needs, wants, comings and goings. In fact, small businesses have been more focused on the social media tools and smart phone technologies that make all this possible than on the profitable possibilities of using these low-cost, high-impact vehicles to get and keep more ideal, profitable customers.
WHEN is the Buying Decision Made?
When you stop and think about it, buying decisions aren’t made when we thing they are. For example. If you were buying a new car, it’s unlikely that you made your buying decision the first time you stepped onto a car lot. Chances are, you started thinking about buying a new car after something significant happened; an expensive repair bill, an accident, when your car hit 100,000 miles, etc.
The point I’m trying to make is that we tend to assume that our prospects started thinking about something the instant WE found out about them as a prospect. And the truth is that they started thinking about something AFTER something interrupted their comfortable routine.
That interrupting event is called a “trigger.” And you can learn more about it in Craig Elias’ new book SHiFT. He has mapped out how people buy using the following model:
- The Status Quo: It’s a physical law of motion that applies to people too. People will not change their existing behavior unless their world is interrupted by a third force. Prospects will only change or make an effort to buy when the pain of NOT taking action is greater than the pain of doing something differently.Try This: Look at your existing customers and find out what triggered their choosing YOU instead of some other option. The answers might surprise you. Don’t just take their first answer, dig deep to find out what event happened that caused them to take action. Once you know this, you can find ways to fish in THAT pond. If your best customers come to you after they’ve had a baby, then you need to explore OBGYN’s as lead sources or your local maternity ward.
- Window of Dissatisfaction: At this stage of the game, your prospect KNOWS that what they’ve been doing is no longer going to work. Taking our “new baby” example further, if you sell baby furniture, your prospect will be more likely to make a purchase as their due date draws near. There is a certain time between the trigger event that shocks them out of their comfortable coma and when a purchase has to be made.Try This: Target the “ponds” where your ideal customer is most likely to go when they experience this trigger event. Then be sure to understand what’s important to them when they are trying to make a purchase, and be their guide. You are already ahead of the competition if you are already associated with the trigger event, by default, you will be among their choices because you are simply THERE. You increase level of value by how well you answer their questions and help them choose.
- Searching for Alternatives: This is where MOST every other business (who doesn’t understand timing) is selling. But your prospect has already narrowed their choices down AND suddenly their value expectation has risen mainly because they’ve already looked at some of the alternative solutions that were there during their window of dissatisfaction. Every other alternatives that complicates the process starts to literally upset them because they have a need and an intention to purchase as well as a need to see every alternative. Vendors or businesses who make this process difficult will lose the sale.Try This: Offer exceptional value that is significantly different and sets you apart from the early birds. Look at your “points of purchase” for example, do you take credit cards, do you have easy terms, do your customers want to buy on line, can you offer special rates if they decide today? There are many options, consider all of them.
Selling to the Executive Decision Maker
This is also a big timing issue. Most industrial sales people are selling to purchasing people or middle managers or engineers. If that’s the case, you are already late to the party. Recent research has shown that the CEO of a company starts thinking about problems that they are having in their business and searching for educational information online years or months before potential vendors are even considered.
The biggest marketing mistake industrial or technical organizations make is making their web sites searchable for the products and services they provide and NOT the problems they solve. For example, if the CEO is looking for ways to “reduce lead time” he or she will only find 518,000 results searching Google. But if the CEO searches on “ERP Systems” (computer systems that could ultimately reduce lead time) he will find over 4.2 million entries.
Use Social Media Tools to Help
Today’s social media and smart phone technology makes a timing marketing strategy not only doable but cost effective. Imagine actually knowing WHAT you’re looking for as you search LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter. Start by simply identifying the event triggers that shock your prospect into dissatisfaction and then go searching for other people with the same problem. You’re likely to find better, happier and more loyal customers in the process.
In the latest Marketing Sherpa CMO survey on Marketing Automation 76% of CMOs reported that generating high quality leads was the most pertinent to their organization.
Sirius Decisions found that an integrated approach to sales and marketing results in a 24% increase in growth but what is the simplest most effective way to align sales and marketing.
- Which digital assets attract the most profitable prospects
- Where to place content so it drives the best prospects to your web site
- When are the three best times to pass a web-based lead to your sales team
- How to get sales to give you the data you need so they get the leads they want
- How to create a simple seven step system that aligns your sales and marketing efforts
- Which sales and marketing research results in the greatest payoff for you and your sales team
Craig Elias, author of 2011’s must-read book for salespeople, marketers and business owners — SHiFT Selling AND Ivana Taylor, publisher of DIYMarketers will explain the Trends, Triggers and Tools that you will use to be at the right place at the right time.
FIRST – Register for the webinar TODAY
THEN – Click over to the SHiFT Selling web site and download FREE preview chapters to get you started so that you can get the most out of this webinar.
SPECIAL TOOLS AND RESOURCES – We’re also working on a sweet “Won Sales Analysis” template that you will have access to when you register for the webinar!