It makes sense. Apply the top 3 influences on a purchasing decision every time you meet or propose to a client – and people buy more without you having to be salesy.
So few people people truly apply this. Especially important as we’re not all naturally-born salespeople.
The good news is, the top 3 influences require no sales skills at all.
There’s a nice bonus too. You can bottle them so they are absolutely perfect each time you uncork them.
And it’s as simple and obvious as applying these top 3 – you guessed it – to all of the situations in which you find yourself presenting in person or in writing to a client (online too).
There’s a common thread between the top 3. It’s no secret. We all know the answer from experience, but we may not have made the connection or fully appreciated its importance.
And if you want to influence and persuade more people to buy, and at the same time reduce the salesiness of how you do it, please read on.
So let’s set the scene before we delve into the top 3, then when you apply them, you’ll fully appreciate precisely why.
Let’s get to it – question:
When you’re about to buy something, how trusting are you of the seller?
When it’s you doing the buying, you are on your guard. Sometimes, arms folded. It all depends on how believable the salesperson is, or the proposal you are reading.
The clever, charming salesperson, who modestly rather than brashly delivers a convincing pitch can persuade you. So can their written proposal.
But even then, your radar is switched on and fully tuned into the bias of the message.
When you’re doing the selling, the converse is true. You’re trying to fly under the radar, aware of your own bias. And detesting the thought of being labelled as overly salesy.
Introducing the honest broker – a third party.
A client. Somebody who has travelled down the same path your prospect will maybe take. And lived to tell the tale. Not only that, they’re sharing the story of a rather pleasant journey.
They don’t have the biased patter of the salesperson or the written proposal. Applied to how you sell, using their words is far less salesy than your own.
A much more gentle, relaxing and pleasant experience for both the buyer and seller.
Let’s “Bottle” The Top 3 – And Take You Out Of The Limelight
Nielsen, the global research specialists, conduct a survey every two years examining “Global Trust In Advertising”. In this comprehensive survey, they examine what influences a purchasing decision.
In their 2015 survey, they quizzed 30,000 people across 60 countries.
And without further ado, here are the top 3 influences on a purchasing decision:
The common theme is “who says it”. It’s not you.
Further down the list are all the other media that’s used to convey YOUR message – advertising in newspapers, magazines, on social media, TV etc.
How To Apply The Top 3 Influences On A Purchasing Decision
We’re going to create the equivalent of the first two influences, in the format of the third. In other words, an interview with one of your clients, in a magazine-style editorial article. Like this:
The first influence is a recommendation from somebody you know. The second is opinion from people you don’t necessarily know.
Now, when you meet a client, or promote what you do in a written proposal or on your website, ideally you want to get as close to the first two influences as possible.
In business-to-business sales and marketing, you’re going to have sectors you focus on. For example, say you were strong in the legal, accountancy and IT professions.
Simply interview clients in each of those sectors about their experiences of working with you.
Chances are, if you have a prominent client or two in any of those sectors, then every time you propose to somebody in that sector, they’re likely to know them or at least the company they work for.
But even if that’s not the case, it is still the equivalent of a “consumer opinion” from somebody they don’t know.
You want your prospects to read that article, as though they were gazing into a mirror. You want them picturing themselves having the same positive experience.
And the closer your story to the type of person they are – same sector, job position, or the situation your product or service solves, the better.
How To Create Your Stories, And Then Apply Them To Your Sales And Marketing Processes
Many people prefer us to do this for them. You just email them for permission to be contacted for an interview.
But why not do it yourself? You can grab a copy of our DIY guide called “Business Growth Through Word Of Mouth“.
Don’t worry, there’s no catch – by giving it away, I’ve found that enough people ask for our help to justify revealing the step-by-step process.
For some, it’s not a problem. But for others, interviewing your own client can feel awkward. Besides, when you use the stories, it’s better if you say you commissioned an independent interview.
Why not get it right now here?
Eating The Elephant. Yes, you’ll need a portfolio of stories to reflect the range of prospects you pitch. But that’s like eating an elephant.
Start with one story – your biggest sector or type of client. That way, you can measure the increase in sales conversions.
Here’s what happens:
Use Your Story – the bottled version of the top 3 influences on a purchasing decision like this:
– Every time you meet a client – use their words to paint a picture of what they can expect through the eyes of a delighted client
– In every written proposal – use excerpts in your main proposal, and attach it too
– Ask the client to share the story by email – when they do, it can trigger a useful batch of immediate referrals. Read about the rules of doing that here – How To Trigger Recommendations
– Publish it on your website
– Share it on LinkedIn, Facebook etc
– Boost your google pay-per-click campaigns – on your landing pages and in any automated messages you send
– Publish it in your e-newsletter and showcase products that other clients may not yet have bought
– Use LinkedIn to select similar people – by the sector, size of company and location of the client, and use a Sponsored InMail campaign to get it read by precisely the same people
– Print them out hard copy – use them in meetings, exhibitions, networking events and any other face-to-face opportunity to influence potential clients
– Even without the hard copy, talk about it at networking events when you meet people like the interviewed clients. Suggest you’ll send the story when you get back to the office
– Frame it. Put it in your reception area – and leave a portfolio folder at reception for visitors to take and add to it as you build your collection
– Snail mail aint dead. Because so few market by direct mail, it has more impact than arguably it ever had. Use it as the basis of a campaign
Ask The Author A Question – And Get A Personal Answer
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Either copy, adapt and paste these questions, or ask your own about this topic or any other topic concerning growing your business through word of mouth:
“Yes, but this doesn’t apply to me because [your reason]…so, what can I do?”
“I am in the [insert business type] sector, how can I grow my business through word of mouth?”
Or you choose?