We left one another a fortnight ago, thinking about the specifics of your target market.  The task was to describe a typical business in your market and brain storm the issues that they face to ensure a true understanding of ‘living life in their shoes’.  This is important, as ‘empathy’ builds ‘affinity’ and takes you one more step towards engaging with a new client.

We set this task so that you could prepare for the next stage in the sales process; ‘A problem!’

The process

Stage 3.  A problem!

Your target market has a problem that they need help in solving.  At this stage, your goal is to educate your market about similar problems that you have helped others solve successfully.  You need to build trust that you can support them in solving their problems too.

Thought leadership plays a big role in this stage of your sales process.  Thought leadership not only educates, but also shares insights.  True leaders share and empower – this is what you are aiming to do.  You are seeking to develop a range of communications and marketing resources that educate your target market, demonstrate that you understand their problems, know how to solve them and have done so regularly.  You should offer helpful information and share resources to improve their understanding.

Some people have said to me…

“Why would a client come to me if I have already educated them on a problem?”

My answer is, that providing an education about a problem:

  1. Demonstrates that you know what you are talking about
  2. Engages and connects on an issue that is important to them
  3. Enables your potential client to approach you with an understanding themselves – being on ‘the same page’, so to speak
  4. Supports your potential client to see a range of solutions
  5. Builds trust, based on the fact that you are skilled and experienced, demonstrating this through your story telling
  6. Shows them the potential to do things differently.

The format of your marketing resources should vary, enabling different targets to connect in different ways and to seek information from a variety of channels.  They may include blogs, research and reports, ebooks, white papers, webinars, in person seminars and even individual meetings.  Educational events are a very popular way to connect personally and intellectually with both your current clients and target market.  But they are only successful if you plan a purposeful follow up.

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