I don’t know about you, but I’m inundated with people launching me online. It’s something I call the connection and the pitch. Someone connects with you and they can wait a week or they can just step in and ask, “How are you? You know it happens and then boom, they hit you and they try to sell you what they have.
Someone contacted me on a Sunday afternoon and said, “Hey, do you have a minute for a quick question? I went, “Of course.” He looked confused so I told him what of course meant. So finally I said, “Yeah, I have a minute for a quick question. And his question was, “I’m hosting a free workshop for impact-focused coaches on October 1st.” And you also seem to have an impact and a purpose. I’ll teach you how to raise your prices and hit six, seven figures with emotional brand intelligence and ubiquitous marketing. Want to join us ?”
My response was, “Hey, I have a coach who has already doubled my turnover. Do you need help with your marketing for this event? I get my clients 10 times the return on their marketing investment. What are you doing?”
He said, “Well, I guess the marketers who invite you to their event never gave you 10x the ROI, but I could be wrong. Thanks for the pitch anyway.
First of all, I was just doing what he was doing. I call it the boomerang pitch. In other words, they throw you, I push you back. Do I expect him to do something? No, but I’m trying to let him know that what he’s doing isn’t going to work.
Follow the ball?
I saw the same thing during a football game. Have you ever attended a small kid’s soccer game or a basketball game? It’s the same thing. The ball is going in one direction and you see this mass of little bodies chasing after that ball.
And if the ball goes towards a goal, they all run there and the ball goes to the other goal and they all run there. This is how many businesses treat their marketing or sales pitches. It’s like, (insert guru’s name here) says “This is the new HOT thing this year”, and everyone follows it.
But Ellen Huxtable, (friend and colleague marketing expert) says, “Go where the ball goes. Not where he is. There are too many elbows where it is. And she is 100% right.
All those people who try to “Connect and Pitch” learn from people who teach “Connect and Pitch”. And I’m here to tell you that “Connect and Pitch” usually doesn’t work. It will be. If you do it enough, you’re bound to have a client, but it’s a lot of work. So instead of following that bouncing ball, here is my suggestion for you.
Start with the goal
What you need to do is start working backwards. What I mean by that is, ask yourself, “What’s the point?” All those kids chasing the ball are hoping to score a goal, but it’s really hard to do when you have that blob and it’s so much easier to watch what’s going on.
When you watch professional football, you see the ball passing from person to person. It is because they have a system in place. And the ultimate goal of a soccer game is to score more goals than the other team. I hate being Captain Obvious, but the team that scores the most goals wins.
In business, what is your goal? Generally speaking, it’s for profit, isn’t it? So one of the things we focus on in the marketing world is nurturing and building relationships. So, closing the sales should be the next step in the back work.
Sales require relationships
How do we nurture and develop relationships into a sales relationship where we solve the end user problem and they keep relying on us to solve that problem? When you look at sales, it all starts with relationships!
If we start working backwards, the first thing we want to focus on is nurturing current and past business relationships. One of the things I try to get my clients to focus on is spending more time nurturing current and past clients than prospecting. You can still develop relationships with prospects, but nurturing current and past relationships is one of the surest ways to develop, maintain, and grow new relationships with other customers. Satisfied customers tend to refer you to other people who are not your competition.
So to nurture relationships, back down, the next thing we need to do is build those relationships. And that’s where the prospecting side comes in. If you can get someone interested in your solution, you can start having conversations with them. In the B2B world, it can take anywhere from three to twelve months to convert a lead to a sale. But in some cases bigger sales or bigger projects take longer. It could take two to four years to develop, maintain and ultimately solidify this relationship. You need to be prepared to invest the time to nurture and develop relationships with engaging prospects.
I tell you right away, the “Connect and Pitch” does not feed. It’s okay for the chin strap. “Hello, you don’t know me, but do you want to buy my product, or do you want to come to my free webinar so that I can get an hour of your time to sell you harder?” That’s basically what they’re trying to do.
Nurturing a relationship means having conversations, finding out that person, what their issues are, what makes them unique, and how you can solidify the relationship by providing them with a solution. Are you going to be a perfect fit for everyone? Probably not. But if you start from a place where they’ve identified you as someone who can help them, the chances of that turning into a sales relationship increase dramatically compared to that connection and random presentation mentality.
The last step in this step-back work is to capture leads. This means you have to get into the minds of your prospects and deliver content that says, “You know what? It’s me. That’s my problem! Oh, that’s a good idea. It could be a solution. You try to plant the idea that you understand them and their world. Your goal might be to get them to invest time in you if they feel they are going to gain value from it. This is where content marketing comes in.
You start to capture and learn from your current customers. What questions do they ask themselves? What problems do they have? How does this solution work for them? What’s the biggest impact? What are the biggest pitfalls? And then you try to preemptively let people know, “Hey, if you’re in this space, we’ve been there. We did it. And we can help you get around these obstacles.
That’s what creating great content does. Start working forward. You are creating great content that attracts the right prospects. This allows you to start and maintain relationships where you can patiently nurture them over a period of time to generate more sales. So instead of chasing that bouncing ball, what you want to do is stand on goal and have someone kick the ball for you. So, while everyone is on the other end of the pitch, you can kick in and score that winning goal for your team.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on your relationship marketing system (or your kid’s soccer game). Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about your own marketing system.