Mass emailing, cold calling, and visits are all versions of outbound sales that are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Compare those to inbound sales - the process of allowing customers to come to you, and you’ll see a vastly improved way of acquiring new customers.
Re-evaluating the use of outbound sales vs. inbound sales is a smart way to take your sales effort to the next level, and into the new era. Inbound sales is all about focusing on the customer- understanding what they need from you and then making sure you’re fulfilling that need so well that you stand out and people can’t help but talk about you. This kind of focus to create raving fans makes people talk and brings customers to you.
Many of you know what it’s like to spend valuable time chit-chatting with vendors who stop in like clockwork. You don’t actually need the vendor to drop by and bring you a Christmas calendar so that you can get what you need from them, and it doesn’t add real value no matter how much you may like the company of the salesperson. And it goes both ways, if there isn’t a high value add, why then do you still use those methods of outbound sales for your own company? We’ve seen real-life examples of shifting the sales strategy focus, (e.g. an outsource cabinet door manufacturer who has stopped using outbound sales altogether, but has been able to keep steady and impressive growth). How do they do it? By focusing on an inbound sales strategy.
It’s 2015. Your customers have almost endless access to information. The primary ways a new potential customer are going to find you will be a) using the internet and b) talking to other people to gather information. You need to make sure your company’s name has positivity and popularity attached to it.
Here are three ways you can do just that:
1- Create an AMAZING customer experience. Have you ever had someone at a company go out of their way to help you? Doesn’t it just make your day? A simple example from an acquaintance:
“I ordered some shoes from Zappos (an online shoe and clothing shop). I paid for the shoes and they got to my house the very next day. Zappos had overnighted the shoes at no extra cost. I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I was excited! Who do you think I’ll buy shoes from next time? I’ve mentioned it to several of my friends and gotten them excited about it too.”
THAT’S how you get people to come to you - give your customers a reason to open their mouths, and no reason to use anyone else. If you need more inspiration to be outstanding at customer service, search the web for ‘amazing customer service stories.’ That will get you thinking outside the box. Or even better, read a book like Purple Cow by Seth Godin. It’s chock-full of lessons on standing out and letting your excellence-factor bring customers to you.
2- Know your customer, inside and out. What do your customers want from you exactly? Don’t make assumptions based on your ability to produce a product, and don’t assume that your customers just want your product alone. To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. What if they’d pay twice as much for someone who cleaned up their mess, or left the new cabinets stocked with food? Would they talk to their friends about that? What’s MOST important to them? Super-helpful customer service, outstanding product quality, quick turnaround times, and easy ordering are all potential answers. Knowing the answers to these questions gives you a chance to be head and shoulders above your competitors.
3- Utilize technology. Incorporating technology is a must for running a business today. Having an online presence is a huge deal when potential customers are using the internet to find products they want. Make sure your company (at the very least) has a decent landing page for customers to see when they look you up. They want to hop on the internet, look at what you have to offer, and get your product or service quickly!
Your site should be easy to find on Google. This may mean hiring someone to do Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for you. If you don’t know where to start, solutions like HubSpot and Infusionsoft help companies increase inbound sales by spiffing up their online presence in several ways.
Focusing on inbound sales techniques can have a huge payoff. Try it out, switch things up, and let us know how it goes!