Selling isn't a one size fits all proposition. I'm not telling you anything new when I say — the more you know about your prospect, the better the experience for all concerned.
We've all read the sales books that talk about being observant when you walk into someone's office. You know — noting that they have pictures of their Irish Setter, their golf outings and their twin boys on their desk — you strike up conversations about those interests and make a connection between you and the prospect.
That's all well and good but especially if you have a product/service with a long sales cycle you'd better know who they are long before you step foot in their office.
RainToday ran a very smart article that talked about the 8 buyer personas. (click on the link to read) The article describes each personas' personality and how to best sell to them. Well worth the read. You will meet:
- Decisive Danielle
- Collaborative Claire
- Relationship Renee
- Skeptical Steve
- Gradual Greg
- Warp 9 Walt
- Analytical Al
- Innovator Irene
But for many of us — in this world of social media, consumer driven content and a 24/7 world — we start talking to our customers before they're even on the radar screen as a customer. They're aware of us long before we're aware of them.
How do you make sure you're talking to them about what matters? One of my favorite ways is to create personas…not based on their buying style but based on who they are and what they care about. I wrote about that, using this blog as an example several years ago. (click on the link to read)
I have to tell you, as this blog has grown and gained more attention — I still write for Ian, Erin and Patrick with every post. And I'm guessing you are very much like one of them or you wouldn't keep coming back.
Keep in mind what selling is all about. (or at least my opinion of what it's all about) It's about putting yourself out there as you genuinely are and inviting people in for a look. If you attract the right people — they'll buy.
As I said in the opening paragraph — the more you know about your prospects, the better the experience. Part of what makes that experience good is that you aren't trying to sell ice to eskimos. You're attracting the right kinds of buyers — people and companies who truly need or want what you sell. You don't have to ram it down their throats. People hate being sold to — but they want to buy.
Use both versions of personas (mine and RainToday's) to have a good, honest conversation with the right prospects. Talk about them, what they care about, and where they need some help.
Then, be ready to make the sale.
Remember — RainToday is closing their Selling Consulting Services course on Friday, January 28th. You can check it out here. Once you click the link, you can also download their free report (whether you sign up for the course or not) The New Rules of Selling Consulting Services in 2011.
Full Disclosure: While RainToday has offered to pay me a small commission if anyone signs up for the course, I am sharing this with you because I think you’ll find tremendous value in it. Otherwise, I wouldn't put your trust on the line.
Excellent points raised Drew. I’ll take a look at the course you’re suggesting.