Jun 18, 2013

First Call Advantage: Be Your Clients’ First Choice

(This post is the third installment of the Demand Generation: How It Works series.)

You can prospect and sell to 10% of your market at any given time. The rest of your market, the Bottom 90%, aren’t interested in your services. They don’t have a need, or their need isn’t enough to act upon.

The Bottom 90% of the 3% Rule are not buyers. And there’s no way to convince, cajole or persuade them to buy. They don’t need you.

Traditional sales and marketing messages will fall on deaf ears in the Bottom 90%. But that’s no reason to ignore them. The Bottom 90% is your most fertile ground for demand generation.

You can’t pitch what you can’t see

The goal of demand generation is to be your clients’ first call when they’re ready to buy.

Most opportunities go unnoticed, because buyers don’t shop around. They call the people and companies they know first.

One of the greatest obstacles of demand generation is buyers go with what they know. They don’t search Google or ask a friend for recommendations. They call their existing service providers, or they call the companies they have a pre-existing relationship with.

Your goal is to get in the know, and create pre-existing relationships. Your goal is to be the first call.

Start relationships early and often

The best time to start a client relationship is 3 years before you’re needed.

The Bottom 90% is a big world. There’s no shortage of prospects, clients and centers of influence to meet and get to know. This is your opportunity.

The challenge is finding something interesting to talk about, because the Bottom 90% aren’t buying and they won’t engage with any of your traditional marketing collateral.

Building relationships early and often is a content and database strategy. The demand generation process of the Bottom 90% focuses on creating and sharing engaging content with the largest audience possible.

In the digital-era there is really no excuse for not creating valuable content. Play to your strengths:

  • If you’re a great writer, write: blog, share an email newsletter, or write a book or ebook
  • If you’re a great speaker, speak: podcast, vidcast, or speak at events
  • If you’re an artist, make art: illustrations, photography, infographics, painting, or whatever you can do that can be shared broadly with your target market

That’s interesting. Tell me more

The measuring stick of great content is a simple phrase, “That’s interesting. Tell me more.”

If it’s interesting, it’s probably valuable. And if you’re delivering value than you’re investing in a relationship.

Content that builds relationships has 3 key elements:

  • Interesting
  • Relevant
  • Sharable

The first two are straightforward. Create content that is interesting and relevant for your market. The third item, sharable content, is where you separate yourself from the competition.

When your content is shared it transitions from passive to active. Your market is engaging with you, and there are clear, measurable actions. These actions help you reach new prospects, but they also set the behaviors for a client to call you first when they have a need.

Action Item

Creating a First Call Advantage starts with content. You’ve got to engage your market early and often with interesting, relevant content.

Analyze your company’s content marketing activities:

  1. What content are you creating, and how are you sharing it?
  2. How many people is your content reaching?
  3. What are they doing with the content? Are they engaging with it and sharing it?

Once you have a sense of your content activities ask a follow on question, “How do we double it?”

How do you double your reach? How do you double your engagement? How do you double your impact?

Demand Generation is a process

Over the course of the Demand Generation: How It Works series we have looked at 3 key ideas:

  1. Segment your market for buying states
  2. Be in your prospects’ Path of Search when they’re looking for options
  3. Create a First Call Advantage so they choose you first when they have a need

An effective program works in harmony. If you’re content is interesting and relevant it will not only help you form a First Call Advantage, it will place you in the Path of Search.

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