Because many of our clients here at Design Inspiration are new businesses, we are often asked for business tips. One of the most frequently asked questions is: “How do you sell?”
Since we’ve been in business for over 21 years, it seems like a reasonable question. We must be doing something right. Maybe it’s selling. My answer to the question though is always the same: if you want more clients, stop selling.
I don’t like people who sell. They’re the ones who ring me without an appointment and try to tell me why I should buy what they have. They haven’t researched whether I want it. They’re the people who accost me in the street on on my doorstep with their wares. Do they really think that will make me suddenly need what they’re pushing?
Selling is So 20th Century
I’m pleased to say that the Age of Selling is over. We now live in the Age of the Buyer. The rise of online shopping and social networking means that consumers hold the power; which is exactly how it should be. I’ve always been a bit of a maverick when it comes to sales. Hardened ‘Old School’ salesmen (and they are usually men) prefer to try sales techniques or strategies to trick people into buying, as if it is a military campaign. I’ve always felt that the job of a business is not to sell products, but to help clients buy the best product for their needs.
How exactly do I do that? There are 3 simple rules.
How To Do It
Rule 1: I never cold call. That’s just rude and pointless.
Rule 2: Whenever we have a new enquiry, I try to find as many ways as possible to help them. I think about what they need and create strategies to help them get it as effectively as I can.
Rule 3: If I can’t find a way to help, I say so and we part company as friends. If I can, I point them in the right direction. Not everyone is destined to be a client.
The trick is to be absolutely honest about how you can or can’t help. Maybe a new website is the answer; maybe just a makeover. The best solution could be giving social media advice, or teaching them how to use their blog to attract business. Sometimes it’s just about giving help when it’s needed.
This is why the artist Jane Davarian had this to say about working with Design Inspiration:
“The great thing is help is only an email away, I explain where I’m having difficulty and a speedy response with the necessary instructions lands in my inbox and my problem is solved, it just couldn’t be easier or more convenient”
The “trick” is to genuinely care more about helping than selling. That is incredibly attractive to buyers. If you keep applying this approach, wprd of mouth and online referrals will build a reputation for you that acts like a magnet for clients. Because quality, trust and authority will always be more attractive than selling.
Care More Than Everyone Else
Whatever the specific answer is, the fastest way I know of to find it is by caring about our clients’ success. We have to care as much about their success as we do our own, because without the former, we’ll never succeed at the latter. And in order to be the best at what we do, we commit to out-caring our competitors. That’s why we work so hard at improving our skills and knowledge. We have remained in business through boom times and recessions because we care about our clients’ interests. It’s as simple as that.
Old school businesses held the upper hand when it came to selling to us. If we wanted a TV, we had to go to a shop that stocked them. Then we had to choose from whatever was in stock or what could be ordered in (provided were happy to wait). Furthermore, the number of shops available to buy TVs from was limited by geography. Today, things are different. In a world where the purchaser can source whatever TV they want online, the buyer is in charge. The challenge for marketers is to become as attractive as possible, to stand out from the crowd. That’s what attraction marketing is all about. Exactly how we attract buyers is up to us but there are a variety of tactics available to small businesses. We can always advertise but that is becoming less and less effective and the cost is often ridiculously high. More effective tactics can include content creation such as blogging, infographics, video marketing, podcasting and all of the social media options available to us.
The Next Step
If you want to find out more about a new website, developing a social media strategy for your business, creating magnetic content, or some of the many other ways Design Inspiration can help your business succeed, talk to us.