Your prospects have a long list of business problems. They also have many questions related to how technology could be used to solve these business problems.
Most business leaders are open to getting help in solving their business problems. However, most people have been burned at one point because they have made a bad buying decision. This is especially true in the area of technology where many promises are made but the actual results end up not delivering. As a result, today’s buyer is very skeptical.
How do you earn trust in this skeptical environment?
There are two ways you can do this:
Share Helpful Information
When you share useful information, potential clients are able to see your company as more than a sales organization. They are able to see that you have ideas that could help them improve their business.
What kind of information is useful? Think from the perspective of your prospects. What business challenges are they experiencing? What are their goals and aspirations? How can you connect what you are offering to help them solve their problems and meet their goals.
Every day your sales team gets bombarded with questions. Take some time and listen to these questions. Write them down. If one person has a question, chances are that many other people will have the same question. As you answer these questions, you provide value to prospects and you earn the position as a trusted expert.
There are many places to share this helpful information. Here are a few places to start:
Write an Article on Your Blog
When you find a common question, take the time to provide the answer on your website. If you think about it, your sales reps are typing emails all day long that answer common questions. What if you could anticipate the most common questions and share these ideas on your website in the form of a blog article?
Writing a blog post has many benefits:
- Your website stays fresh and relevant
- The article gives you something useful to share on social media that links back to your website
- Blog content gets indexed by Google and inbound links to that content help boost your search rankings
- Sales reps can share blog posts to answer questions instead of having to come up with the answer themselves every time.
Write Special Reports
Another way to share helpful information is to write a special report on a hot topic. Consider the biggest issues your clients face. What advice could you give them that would be helpful?
Take this advice and create a special report or white paper. This is a document that is typically 6-10 pages. The paper should have a compelling topic, an intriguing introduction and good sub headings that tell the story.
Your special reports can be used during the sales process. They can also be offered on your website as a lead generation strategy. Give a teaser about the special report and then ask for some contact information in exchange for the download. After you deliver the special report, follow up with a stream of emails that help reinforce the message.
Create a Video
You can also share content by video. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Get a good quality camera for your computer. Take one to three minutes and answer a question. You can record directly to your YouTube site. Then, you can share this video on your blog or on social media.
Get Active on Social Media
One of the main keys to success in social media is to have something useful to share. Simply re-posting news that most people have already seen can be annoying. Instead, why not post content that is relevant, useful and unique to your company.
Themes from your blog posts and special reports can be presented in bite-sized chunks on your social media platforms:
- LinkedIn: This is a business network, so keep it professional. Post content once or twice a week on your company page. Then, encourage your sales reps to share the content with their networks.
- Twitter: This is the world’s news ticker. Frequency is important here. Tweet at least once a day with links to your helpful articles and special reports. Also work on building followers by following other local people/companies and hoping they follow you in return.
- Facebook: Keep this personal. Share updates about your company, employees and community involvement. Use lots of photos. This presents the culture of your company. You can share articles from your blog, but don’t do it every day. Keep it personal.
Host Educational Events
Take some of your prospect’s most pressing business challenges and use them as the foundation for an event. Product launches and open houses are OK. But if you really want to be relevant, think from the perspective of your prospect. What information would be valuable to them?
There are several formats you can use for an event:
- Lunch-and-Learns: This is an easy way to get people to show up. People are leaving their workspace where they are immersed in the issues of the day. Make sure to connect with them. Share information that is helpful, not just technical information. You can use the topics from your special reports, videos and blog articles as the foundation for your session.
- Webinars: Similar to lunch-and-learns, keep the topics relevant and focused on your prospects’ business problems. Online meetings provide a double benefit: they are easy to attend and they can be recorded. Even if the attendance is low, you can take the recording of the session and share it on your website. Services like Go To Meeting and Webex make it simple to record the video and share it.
Event Promotion Tip: One of the best tools to manage event invitations and attendance is www.eventbrite.com. You can set up an event for free. Users get a ticket when they enroll. You can promote the event through social media, website banners and an integrated email service. Event reports can be exported to Excel and uploaded to your CRM.
Get Endorsed By Current Clients
The second way to position your company as an expert is to get current clients to say you are the expert. As you move your business into new areas, endorsements are critical to building the trust that you need.
The good news is that there are many ways to get endorsed and share these endorsements in today’s online world.
Write Case Studies
When you complete a successful installation in a new area of your business take the time to write a case study. This can become a powerful sales tool because it not only showcases what you can do, the endorsement of a third party gives you an incredible boost of credibility.
The case study doesn’t have to be long. Two or three pages is typically enough. You can use the following outline:
- Overview of the company
- Challenges: Describe their business problem(s).
- Solution: Describe what you did to solve the problem starting with the assessment and ending with the implementation.
- Benefits: List out the top benefits with a brief paragraph for each one.
In the case study, include a few quotations from the client about their problems, your solution and the benefits. Add an “About Us” paragraph at the end and have a graphic designer add your branding.
You can use these in the sales process. And, you can also put these throughout your website. This will give you a huge boost in credibility.
Get Reviews Online (Google, LinkedIn, Facebook)
In the past sales people asked for reference letters. You can now take this to the next level by getting references online. This can help your search engine rankings. And when people do find you, they are able to quickly see that you are a credible company.
Here are a few places to ask your clients to give you references:
- LinkedIn: Ask for references on your company page.
- Facebook: Have your clients talk about what a great company you are to work with in the references tab on your Facebook page.
- Google: This is critical. Get at least 4 or 5 clients to give you a good reference on your company listing on Google. This helps your search results. It also helps offset the damage that one negative review could have.
- Yelp: This website and smartphone App is becoming more popular. It’s easy for people to give you a review on this site.