How to build trust during a sales cycle?

Why is it important to build trust during a sale cycle?

79% of buyers prioritize trust in a sales relationship as a key factor (2019 Salesforce State of Sales study).

Customers always appreciate a process where the focus is on the goals they are trying to achieve, not on the actual product being bought or sold.

And, regardless of who you are, you are always selling to grow your business. So whether you are a consultant or a coach, your buyer is evaluating both you and your “sales pitch” as they decide to engage.

Are you building trust?

trust in a sales cycle Only 3% of buyers trust their sales reps! (Hubspot sales statistics for 2020). So it is obvious that most of us today need to do much better at building trust during our sales cycles.

Given that it is so important, our goal should be to build a position of trust in our buyers’ minds. If we establish a trusted advisor position, then clients will look to us for guidance as well. And will likely prefer to buy from us rather than the competition – all else being reasonably similar of course.

Here are some strategies to help build trust in your sales cycles with your prospects:

Build trust at the start of the sales cycle

Sharing benchmarks on how your customer’s peers are doing on various dimensions of the problem, and empathizing with your prospect’s problems is a great way to break the ice and instill confidence. It also shows that you know the space, the problems, and the solutions that might work the best. When you use an interactive assessment such as Evalinator, you get can easily offer personalized benchmarks to your customers.

This starts building the foundations of trust in the sales cycle. The earlier you do this, the better. Sharing survey results, 3rd party analyst reports, independent research, or benchmarks from your interactive assessment can be a great way to do that so long as you personalize those results and make them relevant. Be careful that you don’t appear pedantic or make too many assumptions for your customers though.

Use diagnostics to clarify the need and understand the priorities

Too often, customers have a sense of where they are and what they want to do. But they are not always very clear about the issues. In these cases, they appreciate a diagnostic tool from you to help them define that need, understand where they lack the most, and quantify where they are doing well.

As a coach or consultant, you should probably start with a simple diagnostic. Whether it’s free or paid doesn’t matter. Starting with a diagnostic shows that you bring a structured approach to the table. And your customers will appreciate that during a sales cycle. It anchors the discovery process and build trust. For example, coaches may start with a “Wheel of Life”, and consultants may start with a “maturity assessment”. You can sample a few assessments here, and you can even sign up for free to create one for yourself!

Help clients create a vision and concrete goals

trust during a sales cycleA diagnostic performed with an interactive assessment is a great way to get prospects and customers to open up about their problems and vision. Perhaps some of the items didn’t make sense, or perhaps they simply hadn’t thought about them.

When you have the results of the diagnostic in hand, you can then share with clients additional benchmarks about how others in their position are tackling those challenges. It also helps you work with your clients to set a vision for where they want to go.

A few concrete goals at this point are possible to set even if they have not decided to buy from you. Doing so establishes you as an advisor, who they can start to trust during this intimate sales process. The sales process does not actually look like sales anymore, because they start seeing you as an advisor, and someone they trust. See this blog post on how goal setting works with an interactive assessment you create on Evalinator.

Help selflessly but don’t go overboard

This phase of the sales cycle is called nurturing your prospect. You build trust by helping them with advice, tips and tactics. This advice can easily be personalized if you are using an interactive assessment. You partner with them on this discovery journey so they can define what they need clearly.

But it is also easy to lose focus at this time. So you need to balance being an advisor and someone who does need to get paid. More often than not, if your customers have budget and the need is qualified, they will sign with you if everything else checks out (credentials, capability, price etc.).

It’s also human nature to return the favor. So if you help them, your customers will empathize with you and go out of their way to help you. (within reasonable means of course). Price becomes less important at this time because its easy to manage those expectations with additional value that you are providing. In addition, by engaging with customers, you have built up a barrier to entry for your competitors because you have the context that they don’t.

Building trust needs work but it is easily done if you have the right tools. Being genuine is important so there is no shortcut other than believing in your product or service, and caring about your customers.

In most cases the product itself is not different or unique enough. But you – YOU – can be the difference. The trust and relationships you build will be the reason the customer will buy from you.

Try Evalinator for free to determine if it can help you build trust in your sales cycle.

But wait. We don’t want to sell you on something just like that. Before you subscribe, check to see if Evalinator is right for you. That way you will know if using Evalinator will work for you.

We’ll see you around!

 

Here are 5 of the Top 7 Email Marketing Mistakes You can Eliminate

email marketing solve 5 of 7 top issues

Recently we came across a nice blog post on Jeff Bullah’s website describing the top 7 email marketing mistakes that you should avoid.

It was surprising that 5 of those 7 mistakes were related to the context that you have about your customers. This is also a common theme across most research around this topic of email marketing.

These mistakes were largely about:

  1. Not having insights about your audience
  2. Lack of personalization
  3. No familiarity with sender
  4. Unappealing subject line
  5. Content not being relevant

All of these point to the one underlying issues that every marketer or sales person faces with email marketing: What to write to my customers and prospects about that they will find relevant?

And over time, the more bland emails we send, the more we fade away from your customers minds. Because customers don’t find value in what we send them. It becomes a mechanized engine which is not very effective.

Don’t we all nervously track the open rates and click through rates of our emails every day. We know that feeling that email marketing brings.

email marketing can be hard workOne way to avoid this is to do research for every prospect. But that’s extremely time consuming, and does not work very well if you have to reach your database every week or month.

The second way is to send information that they might consider relevant. e.g. send some industry statistics. The problem is that these are not directly actionable. A common reaction is “yes, but so what I can do about it”.

How to solve these email marketing problems?

With Evalinator you can build:

  1. Context of your customers – So your emails can be about them. Won’t that be an awesome way to get their attention and keep them engaged.
  2. Lead with relevant action items – There is no “so what” anymore. You have a clear cut action item for them because both you and them agree on what that next action is. And if they want to change that action item to something else, then they can – and you can chip in too.
  3. Put in statistics only you can send – Evalinator generates targeted statistics that your customers care about. For example, if email marketing was your topic, then they would see that “60% of other marketers like them have the same problem”, or that “75% of all sales people in their industry think that marketing is not helping as much”. Now that’s really relevant.
  4. Keep them engaged with promotions: Everyone procrastinates and that includes your customers. But what if you could give them a freebie and help them at the same time…e.g. “here’s a chance to enter a raffle if you complete X in the next 30 days.”. That would be a win-win!

email marketing solvedSo you can solve those pesky email marketing issues like personalization and relevance by using Evalinator. It lets you build trust by engaging in a way that is truly helpful.

Try Evalinator for 21 days risk free.

But wait. We don’t want to sell you on something just like that. Before you subscribe, check to see if Evalinator is right for you. That way you will know if using Evalinator will work for your email marketing woes.

We’ll see you around!

Image credits: Here, here, and here.

Why We Must Go Beyond Content Marketing?

How to go beyond content marketing?

What does it mean to go beyond content marketing?

You are probably already engaged in content marketing. Or you are thinking of starting. It simply means that you would like to publish different types of content that your users and prospects can engage with. That way you can secure better mindshare. Your customers will remember you when they are ready to buy a product or service that meets their needs.

Content marketing is no doubt an effective strategy.  It helps you reach your customers, educate them, and subsequently get them to buy your products and services.

But Content Marketing Is Not Enough

There are 3 main reasons for that:

  1. First, it’s simply because content marketing has rapidly become akin to the traditional mass marketing and advertising of the past. It has become just “another” interruption tactic. For your content to be seen by your target customers, you need to deploy traditional advertising techniques – lots of it. The promise of the digital age was personalization and presenting a point of view. But content marketing has slowly become a segment based outreach strategy – mass personalized, but not personalized.
  2. Second, it’s not special any more. Quality content is hard to come by. Everyone is putting in the same keywords as they strive for better SEO (to rank higher in google searches). And folks are publishing content with titles that promise the same thing. Differentiating by bringing in your unique point of is becoming very difficult. Your voice just gets lost in the crowd.
  3. Finally, it is hard. Because it has become a mass, segment based marketing tactic, we are always in a rush to produce more content, and then pay to promote it. And that is a rabbit hole that never ends. So we do it for a while with all the right intentions, and then we just give up. Because like traditional marketing, the “create and blast content” strategy needs a lot of time and resources.

beyond content marketing. know the faces by personalizationThe result: We end up with a faceless strategy.

That said, we can’t give up on quality content marketing. After all, it’s the lifeblood of businesses today. Customers look for the right content so they can make informed decisions, and establish rapport with you.

 

So what can be done? How can we go beyond content marketing, and maximize our RoI.

What We Need To Go Beyond Content Marketing

The answer is to start thinking in terms of:

  1. Evergreen anchor content. Frequent of content will follow from there.
  2. Personalization to the individual in addition to the segment
  3. Interactivity

By evergreen anchor content, we mean a set of content assets that address the core pain points of your customers in a systematic and comprehensive way. These are NOT your weekly blogs on current topics that will get stale quickly. Your anchor content is something that your business is based on – ours is based on building better engagement with prospects and customers. Pick the focus of your business and address the topic in a good reasonable way.

Your evergreen topics are relevant 24/7, 365 days a year to those who care, or those who will come to care. Be sure to look up some  keyword research tools to make sure you’re using the phrases your customers are using to search for your service. These content assets (e.g. a set of blogs, your methodology, etc.) is your evergreen anchor content. This is also what customers see when they visit you – quality, no-fluff content.

Then you deploy a “one-to-one” customer interaction approach to attract, qualify and nurture your customers towards your paid services and products. This personalization comes from interctivity where customers engage with your content – e.g. do a self assessment, set a goal for themselves, see what others like them are doing to address the pain points, read advice from you, etc.

You must be thinking “but that’s what I do today when a customer responds and sets up the first discovery call”.

Beyond content marketing through individual goal settingThere’s a subtle difference. And that difference comes from what we at Evalinator call “context”.

Here’s what happens today: If we can’t convert a customer during that first interaction or discovery call, we then fall back on a nurturing and reminder approach. We email them new content periodically, and we also make it a point to periodically email them and ask if they are ready to make a decision.

What’s missing? Context. Our nurturing and reminder approach is rarely personalized. It’s mass marketing disguised as personalized. Because we don’t know the individual customer. We only know the general “segment” of the customer.

At Evalinator, we think you should go beyond the routine content marketing, and engage with your prospects as an individual. When you have context, you know what their individual pain points are. You know what they need to do to keep chipping away at it. And you offer to be there during their struggles. Over time, they realize that they want you to help them get to their destination.

It’s almost like we need to rekindle that lost art of customer engagement. Machines and tools have given us the means to do so, but they’ve also made us lose sight of what’s really important.

Meaningful retention doesn’t happen because we have a busy content marketing engine.  It happens because we cared enough to go beyond content marketing to focus on our customers as individuals. We make a sale because they know we can help them get to their goals, and we keep them from churning because we engage.

Evalinator helps you build trust by engaging in a way that is truly helpful.

Go beyond content marketing. Try Evalinator for 21 days risk free.

But wait. We can do one better than that sales pitch! Before you subscribe, see if Evalinator is right for you. That way you know that we practice what we preach.

We’ll see you around.

 

References:

  1. List of keyword research tools by Ahref
  2. Image credits because the creators deserve it: Here and here

 

Use Goal Setting For More Effective Sales Follow Ups

Goal Setting give you a powerful mechanism for sales follow ups. It allows you to engage your customers and prospects 1-1 through personalized interactions.

Read on about how an interactive assessment can allow you to engage in goal setting with your clients. Used this way, your interactive assessments will become much more than just an online quiz to get email addresses.

Sometimes customers know where they are going, and sometimes they don’t. They often need your help to determine their destination and get there. Using Evalinator, you can help your prospects do just that with goal setting, and equally importantly, get your clients to trust you in the process.

That way, not only do you build your email list, you also generate more engagement and revenue overall.

Goal setting and interactive assessments

Increasing use of technology does not mean that we automate everything and pretend like it is personalized. Customers always know! So customer engagement must include:

  • Empathy
  • Personal attention
  • Context

So goal setting combined with interactive assessments offer you the best of both worlds – email signups and engagement.

Here are some best practices to follow while engaging in goal setting. We also mention when something can be automated, and when you need personal touch.

Step 1: Create actionable profiles of your prospects & customers

Common segmentation practices today rely on either static parameters like demographics (title, role etc.), or guesswork such as who opened and clicked on emails.

goal setting with contextThese are good steps towards personalization but on their own they do not take into account aspirations of customers. Therefore your goal setting will not be as relevant and impactful. 

Further, each such segmentation parameter is considered in isolation in your email database – perhaps as a flag to determine what kind of content to send next. It also does not include how one customer may be performing on their aspirations vs-a-vis their peers.

An interactive assessment using Evalinator helps you with more relevant  and contextual segmentation. For example, you might want to show that sales and marketing leaders think differently about the same question e.g. customer mind share, sales enablement, advertising, etc.  Similarly, you might want to bring out how different persons within the same demographic may perceive things differently. e.g. clarity of purpose in life, career goals, or relationships.

It follows that the quality of goal setting you have with the right context is very meaningful. As a coach or consultant, if you know the intent of your prospect or customer, then you have a powerful way to bring insights to your customers and discuss resolutions. It also helps you go beyond traditional content marketing

These insights that you get out of the box with Evalinator help you with the next step in sales follow ups – goal setting.

Step 2: Organize readouts to clarify goals and share insights 

Once your respondents have taken your interactive assessment, then you can do the readout in multiple phases in order to initiate goal setting.

Goal setting based on visionIf you are coaching or consulting a group of people such as in a corporate setting, then doing a group followup session is a great way. Here you show overall scores by the various segments so they can see where they stand vis-a-vis their peers.  If you’ve ever been through a session that shows how different people perceive the same thing differently, then you already know how exciting it is for participants of such a session. A group session allows for personal interaction but still offers economies of scale and time. You could also choose to do this in a webinar or email newsletter. Note how this also gives you ready-made material for your content marketing!

  • Ask everyone to observe how they fare against the benchmark and why.  Each individual should be looking into their custom assessment results. More often than not, there will be some surprises and a few aha moments.
  • Brainstorm on what is good, what is not so good.
  • Discuss both immediate and long term resolutions
  • Request your respondent(s) to put in their individual goals and time frames – keep them short in duration (3-5 weeks or less), and measurable.
  • You can also ask everyone to put in something that you deduced – your secret sauce based on your experience!

Your goal setting journey has begun!

Step 3: Set up periodic reviews

How many times have you attended the most amazing sessions only to go back to your daily routine and forget all about what you learned?  It is natural and expected. The daily grind and operational pressures cause that to happen to everyone.

periodical goal setting reviewsFor this reason, as a coach or consultant, you want to set up periodic reviews and refresher sessions. It also helps you quantify and demonstrate the value & ROI (Return on Investment) of your engagement. Your customers – corporate or individual – are always calculating what they are getting in return for paying you. With Evalinator this is easier than ever to demonstrate that because you now have something to anchor the discussions, and common goals to work towards.

  • Schedule predefined sessions every 2-4 weeks or so. This will depend on how you charge among other things
  • Use the assessment results, and goals to guide that discussions
  • Show the progress on goals to keep up motivation
  • Review important concepts using the questions and rating scales of your assessment as an anchor

Conclusion

There you have it. An end to end roadmap from initial engagement to a thriving relationship and quality sales follow ups through the use of goal setting based on the results of an interactive assessment. Follow these steps for an amazing 1-1 engagement with your clients.

Your interactive assessment now allows you to go beyond the static, guessing game of segmentation to factors that really matter.  Now you can truly engage in follow up sessions and coaching without losing context.

Every interaction can be personalized and makes your sales follow ups very productive. Not to mention your content marketing gets easier too.

Read about the 4 types of interactive assessments you can create with Evalinator.

 

Create Your Interactive Assessment Now