I don’t know about you, but I get inundated with people pitching me online. It’s something I call the connect and pitch. Somebody connects with you and they may wait a week or they may just jump right in and ask, “How are you doing?” You know it’s coming and then boom, they hit you up and they try to sell you what they have.
Somebody hit me up on a Sunday afternoon and said, “Hey, you got a minute for a quick question?” I went, “Sure.” He seemed confused then I answered him what sure meant. So finally I said, “Yes, I have a minute for a quick question.” And his question was, “I’m running a free workshop for impact-driven coaches coming up on the 1st of October. And you seem to be into impact and purpose as well. I’ll be teaching you how to raise your prices and scale to six, seven figures with emotional brand intelligence and omnipresent marketing. Want to join us?”
My response was, “Hey, I have a coach who already doubled my business. Do you need any help with your marketing for that event? I get my clients 10 times the return on their marketing investment. What do you do?”
He said, “Well, I guess the marketing people inviting you to their event have never gotten you 10 times ROI though, but I may be wrong. Thanks for the pitch anyway.”
First and foremost, I was just doing what he was doing. I call it the boomerang pitch. In other words, they pitch you, I pitch you back. Do I expect him to do anything? No, but I’m trying to let him know what he’s doing is not going to work.
Follow The Ball?
I’ve seen the same thing at a soccer game. Have you ever been to a little kid’s soccer game or a basketball game? It’s the same thing. The ball goes one direction and you see this blob of little bodies running after that ball.
And if the ball goes to one goal, they all run there and the ball goes to the other goal and they all run there. That’s the way that a lot of businesses treat their marketing or they treat their sales pitches. It’s like, (insert guru name here) says “This is the new HOT thing this year”, and everybody follows it.
But Ellen Huxtable, (friend and fellow marketing maven) says, “Go where the ball will be. Not where it is. There are too many elbows where it is.” And she’s 100% right.
All of these people attempting to “Connect and Pitch” are learning from people that are teaching “Connect and Pitch”. And I’m here to tell you “Connect and Pitch” generally doesn’t work. It will. If you do it enough, you’re bound to get a client, but it’s a lot of work. So instead of following that bouncing ball, here’s my suggestion for you.
Start At The Goal
What you need to do is start to work backward. What I mean by that is, ask yourself, “What is the goal?” All those kids chasing the ball are hoping to score a goal, but it’s really hard to do when you’ve got this blob and it makes it so much easier to watch what’s going on.
When you watch professional soccer, you see the ball getting passed from person to person to person. That’s because they have a system in place. And the ultimate goal of a soccer game is to score more goals than the other team. I hate to be Captain Obvious, but the team that scores the most goals wins.
In business, what is your goal? Generally speaking, it’s to make a profit, right? So one of the things that we focus on in the marketing world is nurturing and starting relationships. Thus, closing sales should be the next step of working backward.
Sales Require Relationships
How do we maintain and grow relationships into a sales relationship where we’re solving the problem of the end-user and they continue to count on us to solve that problem? As you’re looking at sales, it all starts with relationships!
If we start working backward, the first thing we want to concentrate on is nurturing current and past business relationships. One of the things I try to get my customers to focus on is spending more time working on nurturing current and past customers than prospecting. You can always grow relationships with prospects, but nurturing current and past relationships is one of the surest ways to grow, maintain, and develop new relationships with other customers. Happy customers tend to refer you to other people who are not their competitors.
So, in order to nurture relationships, moving backward, the next thing we have to do is create those relationships. And that’s where the prospecting side of things comes in. If you can get somebody interested in your solution, you can start to have conversations with them. In the B2B world, it can take anywhere from three to 12 months to convert a prospect into a sale. But in some cases, bigger sales or bigger projects take longer. It could take two to four years to develop, maintain, and finally solidify that relationship. You have to be willing to invest the time to nurture and grow relationships of prospects who engage.
I’m telling you right now, the “Connect and Pitch” is not nurturing. It’s going for the jugular. “Hi, you don’t know me, but do you want to buy my product, or do you want to come to my free webinar so I can get an hour of your time to sell you harder?” That’s essentially what they’re trying to do.
Nurturing a relationship means having conversations, finding out about that person, what their problems are, what makes them unique and how you can solidify the relationship by providing them a solution. Are you going to be a perfect fit for everybody? Probably not. But if you start off from a place where they’ve identified you as somebody who can help them, the chances of that turning into a sales relationship greatly increase over this random connect and pitch mentality.
The final piece of this working backward in steps is to capture prospects. That means that you have to get inside the minds of your prospects and provide content that says, “You know what? That’s me. That’s MY problem! Ooh, that’s a good idea. That might be a solution.” You’re trying to plant the idea that you understand them and their world. Your goal could be prompting them to invest some time in you if they feel like they’re going to get value. That’s where content marketing comes into place.
You start to capture and learn from your current customers. What questions are they asking? What problems are they having? How is this solution working for them? What is the biggest impact? What are the greatest pitfalls? And then you try to preemptively, let people know, “Hey if you’re in this space, we’ve been there. We’ve done that. And we can help you get around those roadblocks.”
That’s what creating great content does. Start working forward. You create great content that attracts the right prospects. This allows you to start and maintain relationships where you can patiently nurture those over a period of time to generate more sales. So instead of chasing that bouncing ball, what you want to do is stand at the goal and get somebody to kick that ball to you. So while everybody else is at the other end of the field, you can kick it in and score that winning goal for your team.
I would love to hear your thoughts on your relationship marketing system (or, your kid’s soccer game). Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about your own marketing system.