What would you prefer?
Scenario A – you arrange a call with someone in order to get answers to your questions about a product or service they sell.
Scenario B – you get all the answers to your questions and objections via this company’s website.
Sales call where you have to wait to chat with someone, and possibly feel pressured into the sale.
Or…get everything you need, as-and-when you need it.
It’s just so tough, right?
Nah, not really. We’re option B all the way. And you probably are as well.
But a lot of business owners force their prospects onto ‘sales calls’. Or hide information from them until they at least get in touch. I’m not saying they do this is on purpose. Often it is this way because everyone else does it this way. It’s accepted as the ‘norm’.
Unfortunately, this is highly frustrating for your potential customer. But it’s also a pain in the arse for you too. Because it means you have to spend your time with lots of people who are potentially not the right fit.
People Don’t Care What You Say, They Care What You Publish
One of the main reasons we use content to ‘do the selling for us’ is exactly that – people don’t care what you say, they care what you publish.
Buyers are cynical and they fear getting ripped off, or making the wrong purchasing decision. They don’t want to waste money (understandably).
And even though I’m sure you’re a super-honest person who delivers an excellent product or service – it’s difficult for your buyer to tell on a sales call or even in email. That’s because you could say anything to them. They have to take what you say with a pinch of salt.
That’s why bringing content into your sales process works so well. If you create public-facing content and send this to your client/customer, it’s instantly trustworthy because it’s out there. It’s content for everyone to see.
How to Use Content Within Your Sales Process
In this blog post, I’m going to tell you how to bring content into your sales process at 3 key stages of the sale…
- Just before someone gets in touch with you
- Once they have got in touch with you
- Once they’ve purchased from you
And if you do this, you’ll see so many benefits. You will
- Deliver excellent customer service to your potential and existing customers – wowing them and building trust
- Deliver sales faster and more efficiently
- Get sales from your ‘ideal clients’ who are eager to buy from you
Ready? Let’s get stuck in!
Content Marketing and the Sales Process: Just Before Someone Gets in Touch
Most content marketing is aimed at helping people. That’s why you see so much ‘how-to’ content. Like this article, for example. The aim of this article is to educate business owners about content marketing.
But what this article (and many, many more like it) doesn’t do is talk about our products or services directly. It doesn’t help you make a decision about whether or not you should buy from us.
And that’s the biggest mistake business owners make with their content. They produce too much content like this, and zero content that helps their readers invest in them.
What they need to do is create content that’s aimed at the decision stage of the buyer’s journey i.e. content that helps people decide whether they should work with you.
What Happens When You Don’t Create Decision-Stage Content
We grew our business by creating lots of helpful content. However, our enquiries looked a little like this…
We attracted anyone and everyone! And a lot of these people simply weren’t the right fit. So we wasted a lot of time with the wrong people. Or worse, we’d take someone on as a client and they wouldn’t be the right fit for us.
Decision-based content tackles this. It helps your prospects qualify (or disqualify) themselves from your business. And it increases trust and loyalty because you’re prepared to publicly talk about your products or services in a frank and transparent way.
What Does Decision Based Content Do?
Decision-based content helps your prospect make an informed buying decision. If they are comparing companies to buy from, it helps them understand you and your products/services better.
There are a few key elements that make good decision-based content:
- It’s content that directly relates to your products and services
- It’s content that informs your customers and gives them what they need to make a buying decision
- It’s not overly ‘salesy’ i.e. it’s not pushy! It is helpful first and foremost
What Are Some Examples of Decision Based Content?
These are some examples of decision-based content that you use in your business right now…
- Why I’m Not The Right Fit For You
- What is My Step-By-Step Process
- Everything You Need to Know About My X Service/ Y Product
- Why We’re More Expensive than X
- Reasons You’re Not Ready to Invest in My Product/Service
- How Much Do I Charge for X?
You can see clearly how this kind of content will help your website visitor make a buying decision. This should be the content that either:
- Encourages your audience to get in touch
- Repels the wrong fits from your business
You can find out more about this kind of content via these two articles: What is sales content and how can it help you get more sales and how to get more sales with objection-led content.
Content Marketing and the Sales Process: Once Someone Does Get In Touch
So, you get an email into your inbox from someone asking to work with you. If you’re a service-based business, many prospects will request a call or face-to-face meeting at this point.
And we have one thing to say to this!
You don’t have to go on a call with a prospect at this point.
You have no idea at this point whether your prospect is the right fit i.e. will they have the right budget, do they have what they need in place to start working with you, are they ready for your service, do they have the right timeframe in mind etc?
There’s no point wasting an hour meeting with this person if they’re completely wrong.
So at this point, we recommend you send your prospect some content.
Sending Content Before You Meet: An Example in Action!
It may go a little something like this…
Example email from your prospect:
I’ve just finished my fiction book and I’m looking for an editor. I came across your website. You were recommended to me by a friend and I’ve checked out your website. All looks great, can we arrange a chat?
Instead of jumping straight into the call, you can send content at this point to make sure they’re right for you (and also deliver some extra customer service magic). Your reply could go a little something like this.
Thanks so much for getting in touch. Huge congratulations on finishing your book!
A call sounds great. Just before we do that, here is some content about me and my business that will help you decide if we’re the right fit. If this all looks good, just let me know and we’ll arrange a call.
- How Much Do I Charge?
- What Is My Process?
- Everything You Need to Know About My Editing Service
Do you see how simple that is? In this example, Emily has prevented wasting her time with Steve if he isn’t the right fit.
What she’s also done is provide Steve with excellent customer service. Imagine how impressed you would be if you got the answers to your questions like this, without having to speak to someone first?
Plus, when the call does go ahead, it’ll be a much more productive and engaging meeting. That’s because don’t have to talk too much about price or process or how something works. All that’s been covered by your content, so your prospect can ask more specific questions.
This is just an example and it works differently for every business. Sometimes, we might send prospects to an article called ‘Why You’re Not The Right Fit For Us’ – this is usually when we pick up on something in their initial email that tells us they might not be the right fit.
Every time You Waste Your Time…Prevent It From Happening Again
This is a good rule to follow. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of time-wasting in business. People want to absorb your time and before you know it you’ve had a few calls and your day is completely wiped out.
This isn’t a criticism of the people who book those calls or want to speak to you face-to-face. They’re usually unaware of what they’re doing. And they’re unaware of how much time you have (or lack!)
So it’s your responsibility to prevent time-wasters. A good way to do this is to create a piece of content every time someone wastes your time in order to prevent it from happening again.
For example, as web designers, we were often asked to pitch for work. We’ve pitched once in our lives a long time ago, and it took days out of our business. We had to prepare a presentation, do research, and come up with ideas. We even mocked up a homepage of a website.
So we decided to never, ever pitch again. And when someone asked us to pitch we’d politely say no. But it still took time explaining why.
So we published a blog post about Why We Don’t Pitch for Projects, and never again have we done this or had to explain why we don’t do it!
And the amazing thing is, we’ve actually been hired by companies who initially wanted us to pitch because they appreciated our honesty.
Next time someone asks you a question as part of the sales process that requires a lengthy explanation, create content instead!
Content Marketing and the Sales Process: Once Someone Becomes a Customer
Have you ever bought something and then wondered what the hell was going on right after you bought it?
Or have you ever bought something and immediately felt like the company’s initial enthusiasm about you completely waned as soon as you handed over your cash?
I know I have.
And it’s a horrible feeling to face as a customer, right? You instantly start to question your purchase. You may feel ripped off. You may feel angry. You may have buyer’s remorse.
This is the absolute last thing you want your customers to feel as soon as they buy from you.
In fact, you want them to be more excited after they’ve bought than they were before they bought from you.
But this takes time, right? To make every customer still feel excited and at ease.
Actually, it doesn’t have to take too much time, because you can you content to support you.
Sending Content to Someone Once They Become A Customer: An Example in Action!
As part of our onboarding process for our 90 Day Content Marketing Challenge, we send all new subscribers a document on exactly how the challenge works, where they can find everything they need and what to do next.
This isn’t public content (although it can be) and it’s actually just a simple Google Doc – to show you what we mean, you can check it out here if you like.
It’s nothing super fancy, but it helps answer any questions our new members might have and it also makes people feel at ease. You don’t want anyone confused about what is happening!
Content is So Much More Than Driving Traffic…
Content isn’t just about getting more traffic. It can be used throughout your entire sales process. And it can do a lot of communicating on your behalf – saving you time, making sure you attract the right people and delivering excellent customer service.
If you’re ready to take your content to the next level, then check out our content marketing challenge…
Owner at Jammy Digital, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer of Young-Adult Fiction.