If you sell at all in your business, you’re always looking for ways to speed up your sales cycle.
Too many people look for things to add to their sales process to speed it up rather than evaluating what they already have and how they can use existing resources to close the deal in less time.
Even slicing off a few hours from your sales process could mean huge time and savings to your business almost right away.
Let’s dive into a few ways that you can do that by using content marketing with content you may be surprised to find that you already have.
1. Build a Good Reputation With Google
Referrals are one of the best ways to speed up your sales cycle because good referrals are usually qualified and move through the sales process faster. This makes them especially helpful for high-ticket sales or items with very long sales cycles. The problem is, they are tough to scale because you always have to be present. But what if you could get referrals other ways?
Say you write an excellent article on your website that you share in a local business group on Linkedin. Another local business owner that could use your services, happens to be in the same group. He reads it and learns a lot from your educational post but it leaves him wanting more. What happens? He’s overjoyed to find that you are just down the road and instead of looking at you like a salesperson, he looks at you like a rock star.
How can you replicate this? Create and share content in places you know your target audience will be looking. Write for specific industry niches by using examples for that industry and posting them where thought leaders look for information. For example, if I wanted to target the HR industry, I’d guest post for HR blogs and use HR examples in my blogs posts on my own blog. This often-overlooked step makes it easier for your name to come up when important people who are the decision makers are looking for solutions – your solutions.
2. Create a Content ‘Gate-Keeper’
How many times have you had a prospect waste your time?
The average “one hour meeting“ at a coffee shop actually takes more than two hours of your day when you factor in driving time, prep time and time it takes to get back focused on what you were doing before your meeting. That’s a quarter of your day!
We know building relationships is important, but what people fail to leave out is building the right relationships. If you don’t have a process to determine who to meet with, you are going to waste several days out of each month on unproductive coffee meetings. So here’s what you can do.
Use content you’ve created and turn it into e-books, articles and webinars that you can send prospects before a meeting to prequalify themselves. Not every prospect deserves a meeting, so send this ahead of you to see how serious they really are.
If they email you back with questions or comments regarding the material, you know they have read it and are serious. If they never open their email, (Pro Tip: You can use a free tool like Yesware (aff) to see if prospects open their email), you can be sure they were just window shopping and aren’t worth the meeting. For those times that you just don’t know, start by scheduling a quick phone call with a start and finish time where you can still talk to the prospect, but don’t have to take the time of a physical meeting.
3. Turn Unqualified Prospects Into Advocates
This is a strategy I don’t share very often in public, but it works extremely well. Whether I can work with someone or not, I want them coming away from our chat with more value than before we met. I’ve developed a system that makes that possible every time.
Of course I can ensure that they get great value if they hire me, but for those unqualified prospects that aren’t right for me, I still want a way that I can help them. After all, they did come to me and if I turn them away with nothing, I’m discouraging them from coming to me in the future. I’m also ensuring that they won’t refer their friends and colleagues (who could be qualified clients) to me because I was of no help to them.
I’m not suggesting giving them all a free consulting session. Here’s what you do: If you have a piece of premium content like a course, an e-book or an actual book, give it to them for free just to say thanks for reaching out. Instead of making someone mad, you will turn them into an advocate who will sing your praises.
Remember, your content better be great and have a high perceived value or your unqualified prospect will just see it as pushy and salesy.
For this, you need to market yourself using means such as promoting your offer of premium content or e-books by reaching out to them via emails, ads, text marketing, webinars, etc.
These three tips are supremely easy. You already have great content. If you don’t, get on it!
Great content is the key to your success. If you do have great work already, start using it to your greatest benefit. Get your star stuff out there where great people will see it. Use your content to weed out window shoppers. Finally, when you do meet and it isn’t going to work out, give them something worthwhile.
Make them want to be a qualified client. Make them want to spread your message. Make your prospects recommend you without ever having worked with them officially. That is using content for your greatest sales benefit. Now go out there and do it.
Image from Photodune