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Get in your prospect’s comfort zone: The right offer at the right time

“Will you marry me?”

This offer will get you a chilly reception from someone you’ve just met. You’d sound half-crazy popping the question unless you nurture the relationship at the right pace and offer what the other person is looking for.

Same thing goes for B2B marketing. Sure, a salesperson can get lucky with an occasional prospect, but counting on the magic happening instantly isn’t the way to build a stream of sales-ready leads. Build trust by developing the relationship.

“Will you go out with me?”

Here’s the “first date” of the sales cycle. You’ve just identified a prospective customer and you need to provide background information and answer the questions that are important to that specific customer. Offer educational materials such as case studies, white papers, how-to articles and decision-maker kits until they’re ready to go to the next level.

“Here’s what we’re really like.”

In this “middle date” stage, the interest has been shown and you can move into more details. A self-assessment tool, technical white papers and webinars require more participation from potential customers, but they also target the solutions to each prospect’s situation. Show you’ll be there for them to help build a sales-winning relationship.

“So how about it?”

When the prospect gets comfortable with your company, start to make more serious advances: offers or calls-to-action. Although it’s not time to pop the question, smaller commitments move prospects toward choosing your company. For instance:

  • Invite them to all-day seminars delving into implementation details.
  • Offer demos or low-cost or free needs assessments.
  • Ask whether your salespeople can meet with their decision makers to present customized proposals or quotations.
  • Consider making “buy now” deals offering discounts or additional products or services bundled in for a lower cost.

What if you don’t know where prospects are in their buying cycles? In that case, make offers appropriate for every stage and let people find their own comfort zone.

How to propose

What makes a good offer or call-to-action?

  • They must be genuinely enticing.

  • They must move the buying process forward. Satisfy prospects’ key concerns.

  • They should be “self-qualifying.” Don’t offer something anyone would want. Provide what a qualified prospect is looking for.

How do you put them together?

  • Repackage or update the information you already have.
  • See if your suppliers have white papers, evaluation guides or other materials you may use.
  • Join forces with your suppliers to provide combination sales pieces or newsletters.

Prospects must clearly understand what they’ll gain from choosing your company and its products or services. They need to believe that what you’re marketing will help them achieve their goals, and they must trust your company to deliver on its promises.

Getting to that point requires making the right offers or calls-to-action for each stage of your prospect’s buying process, from awareness and inquiry to consideration to purchase. You’ll build strong, valuable relationships with your customers that will last for many years to come.

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Comments

We recently wrote a whitepaper on this same topic, called “Lead Nurturing – Dating for B2B Companies?”. We thinking marketers can learn lead management best practices by looking at dating. You need to deepen your relationship with prospects over time, interacting in a variety of settings, learning more about each other’s needs and capabilities while progressing seamlessly from one interaction to the next. And you need to know when to commit more resources to the relationship as well as when to pull back and give the prospect some space.

 

Timing is everything.
That’s why I think email marketing is not so efficient.
A the probability of addressing the right person, at the right time, with the appropriate message is low. This is a multiplication of probabilities. Very fast you end up with
0.4 x 0.05 x 0.2 = 0.004 or 250 emails for one “lead”.

Get the timing right and you’re 20 times better.
Get the meassge right and you’re 5 times better.

Maybe use your website visits to alert you when to ask “Will you marry me?”.

 

This is great advice.. nurturing clients IS like dating. And timing is essential. I’ve definitely found that lead management systems are crucial to establishing the right timing.. especially when one is dealing with hundreds of leads. Good free online lead management systems like Zoho and http://www.octopuscity.com are essential.

 

Prospects must clearly understand what they’ll gain from choosing your company and its products or services. They need to believe that what you’re marketing will help them achieve their goals, and they must trust your company to deliver on its promises.

 

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