I’ve been in sales virtually all of my life and the one thing I’ve learned over twenty years is that you have to find ways to create relationships with your prospects and customers that are not intrusive. Experienced sales professionals understand that meeting people where they are at and solving their problems is the entry way to a meaningful, lasting, and profitable business relationship.
In the world we live in today, sales professionals must learn how to market themselves! After all, do your customers buy you or do they buy your company when they first meet you? I think you know that answer?
Yet, many in sales still market themselves in the old traditional means. I walked the other day into a Chamber of Commerce and saw their display board filled with hundreds of business cards and brochures. I asked the lady at the table how many people still visit the display?
“Not many. We’ve talked about doing away with it because many of the cards and brochures have been there for a few years.”
That’s telling isn’t it?
In another instance I was in the lobby of a company preparing for a meeting to share how this company could increase their online influence. As I waited a young man entered the office with the purpose of soliciting his product. He was promptly asked to leave. He tried at no avail and then was told to leave immediately.
He actually made the receptionist angry. That certainly didn’t help his cause did it?
I met this company online through social media where they clicked on a blog article on my website. They then chose to contact me to schedule a meeting.
Which instance do you think is preferable; the intrusive walk-in or the inbound marketing online?
While there are many, many examples of people getting it wrong in sales there are many more that are getting it right! It all comes down to training and experience. You don’t just one day wake up an instant sales success. Or at least very few do.
To become successful in sales you have to learn to think like and entrepreneur, as if you own the business. Many companies want and expect that of their sales professionals. If you don’t own it and believe in your company, why should your prospects?
In a previous article titled “Mastering Your Business – 5 Areas You Must Perfect to Succeed” I shared how mastering your business is the key to success. While I’m talking to business owners in this article the principles equally apply to any sales professional.
Why a Sales Professional Needs a Website
Most corporate or business websites rarely mention their sales teams and how to contact them. In many instances, I find that many companies only shares their senior executives.
Who cares? Are they going to be the ones out making the sales? Probably not, but they are sure going to be the ones who hold the sales team accountable aren’t they?
A good sales professional must become a good marketer. When you become a good, or better yet GREAT, marketer sales come much easier.
What should be on your website? Here are a few ideas:
- What problems you solve for your customers
- How your product or service you sell is part of a solution to your customers problems.
- Information about your product or service
- Information about yourself – your interests, hobbies, why you chose this profession or company to work for.
- How they can contact you
- A blog – this is critical!
Using a website properly as sales professional shows that you take yourself and your company seriously. It says that you are willing to engage people and build relationships with them through the value you offer via your blog.
We live in a time where we have to give our prospects a reason to buy us. How you can best do that over and over again without having to make the same presentation over and over again?
A website can offer that for you. It can offer efficiency and the prospect of a larger audience than you can meet at one time.
Think about it for a moment. You may find that you get a lot of the same questions over and over again. What if you created a short video and put it on YouTube. Then you created an FAQ page and started answering the repetitive questions you get on a regular basis with the text and embedded YouTube videos.
How much time could you save yourself if you had that available for people?
I guarantee a lot! And we all know that time equals money!
How To Use Your Sales Professional Website
Having a website by itself is not enough. However, any good prospector ought to be learning how to use the internet to help fill their marketing funnel that turns into leads and sales.
We all know this, but few sales professionals actually do it.
Your website ought to be loaded with valuable information that helps solve your prospects and customers problems. After all, that’s why your company exists.
It either manufactures a product or sells a service for the purpose of helping someone. If you know what that “really” is imagine how much that changes the game for you and for them?
How do you do that?
You have to identify the problems you “really” solve through story telling. Your blog if done right will be the main catalyst for your website traffic. It will be the initial touch point. As you offer more information that is helpful to your prospects and solves their problems they will over time (maybe a month or three months into it) start connecting and resonating with you.
You will be earning trust and the opportunity for them to reach out to you instead of you having to reach out to them.
Wouldn’t that be a nice problem to have?
The goal of your website is to create more opportunities for sales. All sales are driven by relationships that start with competency. Once competency is established they will decide if they feel they know, like and trust you.
If you create the environment and then validate it with great articles and testimonials you will start to see an influx of new sales opportunities.
So I Have a Website; What Now?
As I mentioned above it takes more than just having a website. You will have to promote and market your articles.
The principles online are the same as they are offline. Keep it simple and don’t complicate it.
This is where social media and connecting with other influential bloggers become important to helping you establish and grow your audience who will in turn become sales opportunities or referral partners.
Here are some links to a few articles that share how to build your targeted website traffic:
Challenges of Having Your Own Sales Professional Website
Outside of putting in a little effort and energy to writing two articles per week and promoting it, the biggest hurdle you may have is the out-of-touch business owner, executive, HR department, or sales manager.
It’s amazing how short sighted and narrow minded some people can be. They may be working from an area of scarcity and fear. I have heard it all:
- Anyone can say what they want online – you’re right and they are anyway regardless of whether you have a presence online or not.
- We are allowing our sales team to prepare to leave – bad news… they will eventually any way. Will it be because you push them out or because they spent a lifetime helping your company and they have earned the right to retire early?
- This online stuff doesn’t work – you’re right. If you create the conditions for it to fail it certainly will.
The biggest challenges you will face will be mindset challenges from yourself and from your co-workers and maybe even your bosses.
Here is the reality: if you like the results you’re getting then keep doing what you’re doing. But if what you’re doing isn’t working or getting the results you want then you will have to change what you’re doing in order to get what you want.
It’s really that simple.
The Benefits of Your Own Sales Professional Website
The benefits of having your own website are HUGE. Let’s just list a few:
- You can target your specific audience
- You can bring your offline audience online to expose and share with them more
- You can bring your online audience offline to personalize their experience with you at a more meaningful level
- You can be more efficient at answering people’s questions once instead of one-at-a-time
- You could be meeting tens, hundreds, or thousands of your prospects at one time
- You have a platform to create many relationships you would never have otherwise
- You can create competency, authority, trust and confidence quicker
- You can shorten your sales process long-term
Do those benefits sound appealing to you at all? They sure do me!
Every day I gain new opportunities for leads. Want a few examples that came as a result of my website, blogging, and social engagement (see article above on If Content is King…):
- A medical student finishing his residency wants to discuss building his first website for his new upcoming practice.
- A fellow blogger needs help to create a new website
- A bio technology company wants to create a comprehensive online strategy
- A light construction company wants to build a new website and hire me to coach them through their business to help them learn how to properly message and market their company
- A non-profit is hiring me to help them work through how to use the Internet, understand who all their different audiences are and how to message to each one online
The list goes on and on. In addition, in my comments throughout each article I receive messages like these:
- “Great job here Don and no wonder your business is booming. You know your stuff and I bet every company you work with is singing your praises.” ~ Adrienne Smith
- “A 30-60 minute FREE conversation with Don might be just the thing I need!” ~Tina Ashburn
- “Great information for business owners. I am going to send a friend your way. I think you could really help them.” ~ Rebecca Swenor
I could fill up this whole page with similar quotes. If you look throughout the blog articles you will find them buried everywhere, and it’s also all over my social media pages.
I guess I need to make a compilation, lol… I’ll add it to my list of things to do.
Here’s the point; How is all this for validation and credibility? And, it’s all in two months time. You can’t tell me it cannot be done. It’s all in what are you willing to give to it for a while so that it can get easier in six months, nine months, twelve months and in twenty-four months from now.
Your marketing and the benefits get easier with time. This isn’t my first go around and I’ve done it and seen it over and over again.
Success comes to those who earn it by contributing great information online, sharing it, connecting with influencers in your industry who serve the same audience you do but in a different way, sharing their content on your blog and social media.