July 18

How Do You Turn Conversations Into Customers?

Do you hate sales prospecting? Making cold calls. Sending cold emails. Interrupting folks in their social media inboxes? All in the name of effective sales prospecting… because you know… it’s a numbers game.

If you’re ready to be done with that approach… to find a better way to prospect for sales that doesn’t make you want to throw up in your mouth a little bit each day… read on.

Redefine Your Definition of Sales Prospecting

Do you know why most folks — including sales people — hate sales prospecting? Because the goal of most sales calls is selfish instead of selfless. And we’re all taught as children that selfish is wrong and selfless is right.

Because traditional sales prospecting approaches are premised on failure vs success, the goal is to convert vs connect with a potential customer. And in a world where your average close rate might be anywhere from 5% to 25%, that seems to make a lot of sense. To make real money, you have to churn through a lot of no’s before you find those precious few yes’s.

But sales prospects don’t want to be a conversion. They want to be a valued customer.

And that’s why you always hear folks say that sales is a numbers game.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Painless Prospecting: The Easier Way To Prospect for Sales

What if you flip the script? What if you decided that instead of interrupting a lot of folks that really don’t care to talk to you, you’d spent your time finding the folks who might want to chat and then get to know them better.

What if you decided that instead of just trying to convert anyone, you’d focus instead on building a high level of trust with people that you absolutely, positively know you can help?

But I’m not talking regular trust. No, I’m talking about building a level of trust based on this definition.

Trust – choosing to make something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions.
– Charles Feltman

So how would you do it? How would you figure out what is truly valuable to them? That’s where the Painless Prospecting approach comes into play.

The Painless Prospecting approach is based on the 3 P’s: Proximity, Presence and Preference.

Step 1: Proximity

Proximity is the most important step in the Painless Prospecting approach. Without proximity you can’t build Propinquity. And without Propinquity, you’ll never really build the foundation of a trusting relationship that can move from awareness >> knowing >> liking >> buying.

The easiest way to understand Proximity is to think like a Taco Truck. Taco Trucks are the ultimate Propinquity Marketers. The pay attention to where their potential customers hang out and then park their taco truck in close proximity.

See how that works?

Now, for those of us that are trying to build brands or build relationships that support multiple, long-term or complex sales, it’s a bit more convoluted. But the core idea – proximity – is the same.

If you want to learn more about that – feel free to register for my webinar next week – Turning Conversations Into Customers.

Step 2: Presence

The second P is the one that truly determines success — Presence.


Because it’s the character trait most in demand and least in supply.

Don’t believe me? Look around the next time you’re in a meeting, at the park, at a restaurant, airport, hotel, the list goes on. Find couples or groups of people that are clearly together.

Where are people looking?

Chances are, at least some, and in far too many cases all, of them are looking down at a screen in their hand. Maybe not the entire time, but watch for 15 – 20 minutes and count how many times each person glances down at a phone, a watch or some other electronic distraction.

We live in a FOMO (fear of missing out) world. Everyone is so damned worried about missing a Facebook update, Instagram post or just the latest in an endless string of usually marginally valuable text messages, that they are checking out when they should be checking in.

I have always had one simple rule. If I’m talking to someone and my phone rings, I don’t answer it. Now this was far easier before smartphones and caller ID, but still it can be done.

Why? Because if I’m talking to you and then I stop when the phone rings and answer it, I’m basically telling you that whomever is on the other end of the phone is more important that you. And back in the pre-caller ID day, just think how insulting that was to your current face-to-face conversation.

And when we pick up our phones to read or answer texts, etc., during conversations, we’re sending that same message to the person we’re talking with in the real-world.

And that sucks. And not just for the other person. It sucks for you too because you’re missing out on an opportunity to truly connect with that person. To discover some piece of common ground between you. And in today’s world… you might just be the only that tries.

And that effort… it separates you from the rest. It’s sexy… seductive… and best of all… effective.

Step 3: Preference

If you do the first two steps correctly, then this one pretty much takes care of itself. But, while it’s easier, it’s no less important.

Here’s why.

I’ve been in this business for about 25 years. I grew up in the traditional sales & marketing world where you didn’t have the luxury of digital tracking data to help you see a potential buyer’s invisible sales signals.

Nope. You just had to hope that when a person moved into consideration or buy mode they thought of you.

And in that world, TOMA (Top of Mind Awareness) was king. Brands advertised. Researchers reported. And everyone believed it was the best overall approach.

But today, TOMA gets you into a Google Search.

We live in a world where your competition is literally at your sales prospects’ finger tips. And in that world, TOMA just doesn’t cut it. Hell it might even lead to a Google Search that ends up creating a sales lead for your competitor vs you.

Nope. Not good enough.

Today you have to achieve TOMP (Top of Mind Preference). Ideally you have to create a category of ONE in the mind of your sales prospect. Short of that, you at least have to create a world where it’s a 50/50 decision. They’re either going to pick/hire/buy from you or anyone else.

But in their mind, it’s an either/or decision vs every competitor is equally weighted.

Dive Deeper Into Turning Conversations Into Customers

Obviously there is a lot more that we can talk about. And if you’re interested, I created a 50-minute webinar where I take you through all of this and a lot more.

BONUS CONTENT: I’m also going to tell you the three biggest hurdles that lead to Painless Prospecting failure. That alone is worth the price of admission.

So what do you say? Feel like spending an hour with me talking about Turning Conversations into Customers?

This post was originally posted by Tom Martin on the Converse Digital blog.

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