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Ditch the pitch! Why helping customers (instead of selling) is better

How much do you hate hearing a sales pitch?

Admit it. We all hate it. Whether it’s a cold call, or a canned demo at a trade show or other event – that over-rehearsed, aggressive diatribe of qualifying questions and a spin for every possible answer can send potential customers running in the opposite direction, even if they may actually have a need for your product.

But for salespeople, what’s the alternative? How do you inform a prospect about your product, gauge their interest, and finally close the sale if not through the traditional sales pitch?

It turns out, customers may not want to be aggressively sold, but they do want your help. You just have to deliver it in the right way.

With the power of search engines and freely available digital content, your prospects are already seeking out the answers to every question they might have online—including questions that 6_logo_predesigninfluence buying decisions. This “Google Effect” creates the perfect avenue for you to introduce your customers to your product, track their interest and use that information to convert sales. All you have to do is make helpful information about your product readily available and searchable online at key Propinquity Points, and then let the interested prospects come to you.

How to Create Helpful Content

The good news is, creating helpful materials is actually quite easy. With a traditional sales prospecting approach, you have to know or guess what each prospective buyer needs, wants, and desires, and try to highlight all of those points in your sales pitch. But when you’re creating content, you need only think about all the possible wants, needs, and desires your product or service can fulfill—then break down each of those items into its finite pieces.

Think of all the different customer problem areas for which your product or service might be a solution. Then write helping content around each of those customer problems. Within those areas, you will probably find a number of questions, issues, or considerations that a prospective buyer may want to know more about, leading you to exponentially more content topics.

Unlike with a sales brochure, you don’t need to address every need, question, and concern in a single content piece. Instead, create a wide array of messages each answering a specific query that a prospective buyer might have, then accumulate those various content pieces over time on a single blog or website. Your buyer then will self-select which points are most applicable to their own needs through the content they choose to consume.

How Creating Helpful Content Helps You

When you take these steps to help your customers, you’re really helping yourself. That’s because each time buyers seek out your answer to their question in the form of a blog post, newsletter, white paper, or slideshare file, they are sending you a trackable buying signal. With the right tracking technology, you can use each of those signals to help you understand their pain points and key contentdecision drivers.

Especially in the case of high stakes purchases, prospects usually don’t have one single pain point or product attribute driving their sales decision. Rather, each buyer comes with a web of different considerations that influence their personal buying decision. By providing a variety of well thought-out and well-planned helping materials, you give your prospects the opportunity to create those valuable buying signals.

Then, every time a prospect clicks an article or post, downloads a buying guide, or views a how-to tutorial, that person sends you a trackable, storable, signal, showing you the full spectrum of considerations that are likely to influence their purchase. Imagine making a sales call having that detailed degree of information about your prospect’s wants and needs. It’s like you can read the prospect’s mind!

Helping vs. Selling

The most significant point here is that your content must be designed to help, not sell. Modern customers are smart. They know when they're hearing a sales pitch, and they don't like it. So don't think you can casually turn a piece meant to be helpful into a hard sell. When you're creating your helpful content, resist the urge to pitch your product or service. I promise, if the prospect reading that content is interested in what you have to offer, they will come to you.

For now, just concentrate on being helpful and keep your ulterior motives to yourself. In time, your customers will follow the breadcrumbs of your helpful content, leaving a trail that lays out their exact pain points, giving you all the ammunition you need to close the deal.

For more information on creating helpful digital content to win over self-educating prospective customers, visit conversedigital.com.

Image sources: cdn2.hubspot.net, businessnewsdaily.com

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