Thursday, August 24, 2006

Don't try to sell before a person is ready to buy

When is the best time to sell your products or services? Easy question - when they're ready to buy them!! Whether you have some products on e-Bay, your own e-commerce site or a B2B business with real sales people, it's much easier to sell when your prospect says "where do I sign" or clicks the checkout button.

I read a few articles that have clearly demonstrated this concept for B2B purchases. Marketing Sherpa has just published a case study in which Career Builder improved its conversion rate by adding a "learn more" button underneath the "buy now" button on its home page. It demonstrated that people don't want to be forced into buying something until they're ready. Makes sense eh?

Brian Carrol over on his blog wrote an article called "Using White Papers for Lead Generation" in which he claims that you shouldn't try and sell to people who just downloaded a white paper. Brian adds "don't pass white paper inquiries to your sales people until they're more rigorously qualified as sales-ready leads". These people for the most part are at the beginning of the purchase process where they've realized that your company can fulfill a need of theirs. Instead of having Joe Sales call them, either send them some additional information such as a webinar link or have someone who is a "trusted advisor" call them.

If you have business blog (which you should), you can even send them a link and encourage them to subscribe. This continues the conversation and can help you determine if this person is truly qualified. It can also help the purchaser decide if you are the company that they want to purchase from.

Bottom line - always have the option to further educate the potential buyer which gives you a better chance to convince them to buy your product when they're ready.

Chad H.

PS - The Marketing Sherpa case study is really more B2C. Take the advice from this case study into consideration for your own e-commerce sites.


2 comments:

Michael Stelzner said...

Hi Chad;

Great article on white papers. Brian was referencing an article I wrote for MarketingProfs. I totally agree with Brian and you. White papers are ideal for cultivating leads. This is supported by some research from KnowledgeStorm (July 06) that states: "White papers were the most appealing tactic among prospective clients that were in the early stages of a sales cycle."

Check out this link for all of the latest research on white papers for lead generation: http://www.writingwhitepapers.com/blog/category/statistics/

Mike

Chad H said...

Thanks for your comment - I had a look at your blog and it's a good one.

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