Here is some advice for business to business service businesses, i.e., professional business services. If you want to gain more customers you must be viewed as a trusted advisor. Large corporations are finding that they have to use consultative sales techniques to win business. The days of the adage “the three most important aspects of sales are close, close and close” are over. This is especially true with the advent of web 2.0 marketing and sales. There is a great book on the market entitled Spin Selling by Neil Rackham, and while it has been around for a while, it is gaining ground in influencing sales and business development departments in companies large and small. Neil advocates consultative selling….in other words, establishing your self and your company as a trusted advisor.
Briefly, Spin Selling is a style of selling that takes the emphasis off presentation and closing and puts it on discovery of needs. It achieves this discovery with four types of questions, thus the acronym SPIN. It stands for Situation, Problem, Implication and Needs-Payoff questions that are designed to discover pain/problems and lead the prospect to the logical conclusion of a solution that becomes increasingly self evident. In order for this to work properly, the seller has to establish him/herself as a trusted authority who understands the prospects pain and likewise the solution to it.
So how do you establish yourself as a trusted advisor? The answer is made easy with web 2.0 and the social media. The first way that I would suggest is to publish a blog that offers helpful information to the market that you seek to serve. If you maintain a blog that offers at least forty articles a year, (I think more is better) that publishes information that is beneficial to your market segment you have gone a long way toward becoming a trusted advisor. If you don’t have time to write articles all the time, you can find writers that will take your topics, use your research and information and will write your articles for you. I think that you can find writers that will give you quality at an affordable price.
You can use FaceBook, LinkedIn, and twitter to establish yourself as a trusted advisor also. A great way to do it is by sharing blog and news articles that you happen across in your daily web activity. They can be written by others and, you show yourself as a trusted advisor by the articles that you choose to share. It is all about presenting value to people. If I use myself as an example, I can assure you, that even when I spell out how to do things in marketing…making it possible for one to do it on their own, the truth is that many people are too busy to do it themselves and will then call on me to do it for them and, they choose to do that because they see me as a trusted advisor an expert.
In part two of this article I will discuss how to create an offer that will open the door to becoming a trusted advisor.