In a traditional sense, salespeople are no longer viable—at least, according to most of today’s consumers. The sales pitch has become an ineffective tool at best, and in many ways, it’s obsolete. Consumers are now continually bombarded with sales messages ranging from the subtle to the blatant and cringe-worthy.
Particularly in an online environment, people have become adept at ignoring obvious “marketing” attempts. Hard selling, soft selling, banner ads, FAB (feature – advantage – benefit) techniques, page-long teasers and overblown sales-y language—all of these methods are just part of the background noise for the online browser, and no longer attract attention or clicks.
So how can you reach your digital audience in a landscape of increasing competition and decreasing attention spans? The answer is to stop selling…and start caring.
Customer-centric: More than a buzzword
Customers aren’t interested in being sold to. The traditional sales pitch method makes the messaging all about you—your company, your products and services. What customers really want is to know what’s in it for them, but they don’t want the benefits hammered over their heads. They don’t want to be lured or hooked—they’re people, not fish. So the real definition of customer-centric is not to “highlight the benefits,” but to open a dialogue, and let your customers sell themselves on your products or services.
Understanding the needs of your customers and delivering value is the most important part of the sales process. Your audience wants to know that your company cares about their satisfaction, which means less flash and more authentic connections.
The caring approach to marketing
In order to sell without selling, you have to change your marketing mindset. This can be challenging, since it requires dedicating more of your resources to activities that are harder to track. Improving customer service goes a long way toward demonstrating that you care—including shifting the focus to solving customer problems instead of assigning blame, interaction and answering customer questions on social media, and providing multiple customer contact channels like phone, email, and live chat.
Providing more valuable online content also helps you move to pitch-free marketing. This includes both original and sourced content in a variety of formats, from blog posts and articles to videos, whitepapers, case studies, and ebooks.
When you lose the sales pitch mentality and start truly focusing on the customer, your revenues will automatically increase—without having to sell.