This week I had an interesting question from a business owner.
She runs a highly successful tailored recruitment service, and had now been given the opportunity to introduce herself to a friend’s private network – packed full of prospective clients.
“I want to really show off my strengths – but I don’t want to come across as blunt and ‘salesy’. How do I do it?”
This is a question I hear from time to time, both from marketers and entrepreneurs. And it’s a valid one. Because let’s face it, everyone’s pretty clued up when it comes to sales messages these days! Your prospects can smell a pitch a mile away. And if they’re not ready to listen – they immediately switch off.
But how do we get around this?
How do we sell without selling?
Breaking through the ad noise
We live in an age of advertising fatigue. We choose on-demand TV and fast-forward through adverts, we disable ad pop-ups and we chuck direct mail straight in the recycling bin.
This may seem like a huge challenge for marketing, but it’s actually a brilliant opportunity to go beyond the traditional one-way-street messaging. You have the chance to create influence and engagement and win long-term trust. All you have to do is give people what they are actually looking for and interested in.
The 5 principles of influence
In this blog post I will outline some ways to get started with influencer marketing and how it can improve your lead generation.
- Ditch the scattergun. Get to know who your client is, what their challenges are and what they need. Visualise one specific ideal client and keep them in mind when you create your message. You will need to demonstrate that you are aware of their issues, and that you understand the frustration they feel. They need to know that you care.
- Ask: How can I help? Be clear not only on the challenges your prospects face, but how you can help them overcome those challenges. You must be able to show a clear connection between their ‘pain’ and your ‘remedy’. Sometimes the prospect isn’t even aware of their own problem, but they can begin to understand their limitations when they see how you are able to help.
- Show, don’t tell. Everyone can say how great they are and how amazing their product or service is. But most of the time, nobody else cares! We need to show our audience how our amazingness can be applied and what difference it makes. Let customer quotes, statistics and tangible benefits shine through in your message.
- Go where you’re wanted. While adverts and sponsorships do still play a part in the promotions mix, there are plenty of ways to introduce your brand in places where people already come to search for services or products like yours. Become a trusted advisor to those searching for help by answering questions and offering advice.
- Create high-value content. Rather than spending money on glossy videos telling the world how great your brand is, start creating content that actually helps your prospect achieve something. Teach them best practice, offer free high-level guidance, and share your knowledge. While this may sound like you’re giving away your skills for free, you are actually helping yourself by pre-qualifying your prospects. Those who turn to you after reading your content will already have ‘bought in’ to you and have an established interest in your offering.
Applying the principles
In a conversation with the business owner, we loosely walked through these principles. We both agreed on the first three, and the fourth one was already sorted out in this instance as she had a specific network to address.
This left the final principle: The content. What content should she create to influence this audience?
With limited timescales, I suggested that a targeted blog-style article would fit well. It would be an opportunity to address the wider issues and challenges of recruitment and to showcase how well she understands the prospects’ pain points. She could then guide the reader through the various checkpoints they should consider when choosing a recruitment partner – all built on her decade-long business legacy and insight.
Content creates influence
Content marketing is a powerful tool for creating influence. By using helpful, relevant and non-invasive content strategies we can build up engagement with our audience without being dismissed as sales noise. There are so many interesting ways you can promote your business through content, there’s no need to worry about running out of ideas.
So the next time you’re reaching for your pen to draft that promotional letter, email or sales page – have a think about these five principles and how you can make them work for your business!
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