Why Helping Is The Quickest Route To Selling

This week, I’ve been thinking how business owners influence their customer perception and turn people off by saying the wrong things in their marketing.

Don’t focus on features

A common mistake is to focus on features. The problem with this approach is your offer then becomes a commodity which is easily comparable to competitors. This makes price the differentiator – and if you compete on price, someone can ALWAYS undercut you.

So if you’re trying to work out more effective ways to find and keep customers, keep reading because there is a more powerful approach…

You have to see yourself as being in the business of helping and solving problems for your customers. 

Which means when marketing don’t try to convince people to buy, instead concentrate on showing:

  1. Exactly how you help.
  2. What problems you can solve.

If you do this, your conversations with customers will completely change, because instead of focusing on cost, you position yourself as a very useful problem solver.

Now this might  sound obvious, but here’s what I discovered.
A lot of business owners don’t take this approach when promoting their business. Instead they might:
  • Focus on features (we’ve already mentioned that one).
  • Get inhibited and worry about what people might think (and so undersell).
  • Fear rejection, dumb down their efforts to persuade and therefore make what they thought was going to happen happen!
  • Get tied up and negotiate everything around price.
  • Make inaccurate assumptions about whether a prospect is suitable.

The trouble is, each of these approaches can cost you a customer.

Change your mindset

You have to move beyond the features of your business and instead hone in on the positive outcome a customer will experience if they buy from you (if there isn’t, I’d question whether your product is any good :-).

Your job is to identify this benefit.

And then talk about it in your marketing and your face to face interactions

If you do this, you’ll shift the focus of your advertising into something that’s useful, not “sleazy” or pushy.

For example.

  • Instead of selling custom-made conservatory blinds – you allow a customer to use their beautiful (expensive) conservatory in the peak of the summer by keeping it cool enough to sit in
  • Instead of selling coaching – you empower an individual to work through the beliefs that hold them back and set them up to achieve what they thought was impossible. As a result they get more out of their life.
  • Instead of selling handmade jewellery – you help a woman create a totally unique look. She may attract attention, or get admired for her look or her great taste in jewellery. How could that make her feel?
  • Instead of selling a business support service like a Virtual Assistant – you save a busy business owner time and a headache by taking away the admin work they hate and allowing them to focus on the tasks only they can do.
Spot the difference?

Use content marketing to show how you help

Through content marketing you provide free relevant, useful information for your ideal customer will consume.

Through this information you position yourself as an authority, and stay in your customers mind. Then when they are ready to buy, they’re more likely to come to you.

It’s a slow burn process. After all it takes time to build up trust and the “like-ability: factor. But here’s the thing, you also give your customers the space to make a decision in their own time.

Here are four proven tactics for you to explore:

  1. Write a regular blogUse it to share information that solves your customers’ problems.
  2. Include a case study in your next leaflet campaign showing how you helped a typical client (tip: choose the type of client that your business serves best).
  3. Create a series of videos that provides answers to your customer’s most pressing problem.
  4. Offer a free initial consultation where you offer advice.

Final thought

If you run your own business you have to be a salesperson.

But what do you perceive selling to be?

If you see it as a sleazy affair, you’re going to really struggle to find and keep customers. But if you see it as informing customers of a product / service that can genuinely help or solve that really annoying problem, you are suddenly doing something valuable.

You’ve also got to genuinely believe you can help. Because if you don’t, how can you expect your customers to?

I love Mark Cuban’s definition. In his book “How To Win At The Sport Of Business” he says the best salesperson is the one who:

  1. The customer trusts and never has to question.
  2. Knows that with every cold call made, he is closer to helping someone.
  3. Takes immense satisfaction from the satisfaction that the customer gets.

Isn’t it time you approached your own business in this way?

How does your business help? What problems are you solving? How have you tweaked your marketing to get this message across? Please tell me in the comments and let’s share some success stories.

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  1. says

    Thought prevoking Georgina! Advise not features, you are spot on as always. We sell a holiday lifestyle solution and don’t lead with the features like the play areas or animals, they are just wrapped up in the holiday imagary, I had never thought about it in this way but it is of cause the best way to sell.

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