Many professional service providers I know have a love/hate relationship with sales. It’s something we know is needed to grow our business, but the process of actually pitching our work and quoting a price for it can feel uncomfortable.
I often hear comments from business owners saying “I hate doing sales” or “I don’t want to come across like a salesman.” Sales can be seen as something slightly sleazy, bringing to mind images of high-energy men in power ties reeling prospects in and then high-fiving each other every time another one is hooked.
Truly authentic sales is nothing like this.
The way I think of it is this: if you’re an expert in your field, other people or businesses need the skills that you have. These skills will solve a problem for them or improve their lives in some way, and this has value to them.
They will happily pay for your services if you’re charging anything up to that perceived value – it is an easy, comfortable and logical decision for them to do so.
So “sales” becomes simply connecting those people who have needs with someone who can solve their problems – you.
And in fact, if these people know that they need you before they get in touch, you don’t have to “do sales” at all. They come to you understanding clearly who you are, what you do and who you do it for, and requesting that you help them. They have chosen you before you even meet.
So how can you attract these perfect enquiries?
The answer is in how those potential clients have found you, learnt about you, and experienced what you do, before they make the decision to get in touch.
You must have three things in place in order to have a smooth pathway for your ideal clients to get in touch.
Your “position” is a term we use to mean the essence of who you present yourself as.
A crystal clear position means you know and can articulate who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. It encompasses your visual branding and your products, and also shows your audience how you are different from your competitors.
Knowing your position is the foundation of a communication strategy as it guides the messages, voice, visual design and every other aspect of your marketing, in order to be consistent and make an effective impact on your audience.
Once you are set with your position, you need ways to be able to show that information to your audience. This is your “presence”, where people see you online and can discover what you do and how to connect.
Online, your largest asset is going to be your website, the “mothership” that gathers and coordinates your online activity. Your website is the ultimate presence where you can use many types of media and communication strategies to get your message across.
Social media pages, landing pages and other places your audience will find you online also make up your presence, so ensure that your persona and message is consistent across all of them.
Your presence is also where you have your all-important calls to action: for example, to call for an appointment or fill in a form for more information.
Having a fabulous website still doesn’t mean anyone will see it, and that’s where this step comes in.
“Promotion” covers all the activity that we do to get out in front of the ideal audience: social media, advertising, being found in Google search, even email. These strategies get you and your message out regularly and encourage people who are interested to click through to see more: that’s when they visit your presence and continue the journey.
Note that even though your promotional activity is much more regular and changeable, it needs to maintain the same position across the board. By being consistent all your marketing pulls in the same direction and allows you to make a deeper impression in your audience’s minds.
The digital impact strategy
All three pillars together form a strategic pathway that your broader audience follows to become clients. Using the strategy above you will have assets in each of the three pillars, and this makes the pathway for a potential client clear.
By the time they come to you, a typical client will have seen an ad, clicked through to your website, experienced your content and understood your position.
If they are the right fit, they get in touch knowing that they want to work with you. The sales conversation at that point is easy.