With Halloween just a few days away, the season of scares is fully upon us.
In light of the jack-o’-lanterns, zombies and Honey Boo Boo’s that will flood our visions in the coming days, we spoke with a few experts about how marketers scare away prospects, along with some tips on how they can avoid doing so.
Relationship before sale
One surefire way to scare off a prospect is by going for the sale too early – sort of like talking about marriage on the first date. Marketers should look to build relationships and trust first.
“Marketers are salespeople and often go directly to the sale, without the process of engagement,” says Robin Samora, president of Let’s Make You Shine, Business and PR Strategy. “They forget that there’s an important dance to see if there’s a fit and it feels right.”
Samora tells marketers to instead “lose attachment to the sale and just have a conversation.” Marketers should study and practice the art of conversation, she says, and they should learn how to back off a bit, stop pushing and lead from behind. “Offer valuable advice and make yourself the go-to person for what the prospect needs. Follow up mindfully, with an incentive — even if it’s one you create.”
She adds that marketers should take a long-term perspective, and that it often takes up to seven conversations or interactions before they can close a sale. “A strong relationship with the customer is key to sales and referrals, both online and off-line.”
Marketers should also remember that relationships aren’t built by being an automaton, according to Noah Fleming, president of Fleming Consulting & Co. “You don’t build relationships by automating your tweeting, pinning and poking. We need to get serious about the relationships we have with our customers and clients, because if we don’t, there’s someone else that’s going to take the time to cultivate and nurture those relationships.”
Blah, blah, blah
Another way marketers alienate prospects is by blabbering on and on and on – about themselves. “Marketers don’t listen,” Samora says. “They talk and talk about features, features, features. What the customer wants to hear is ‘WITF’ — what’s in it for them. How can they benefit from the product or service? That’s what matters.”
Fleming adds that marketers often make the mistake of trying to talk to everyone, and as a result they end up talking to no one. “Focus on talking to the right people and stop worrying about the wrong ones. We need to develop a very specific customer avatar of our ideal customer and focus our messages directly to that person.”
Nothing will turn off a prospect quicker than annoying emails. Jeff Nicholson, vice president of global marketing, CAI (customer analytics and interaction) at Pitney Bowes Software, shares that a survey of 800 people conducted by his company found that 31 percent of respondents opt out of receiving promotional emails because they were annoying and irrelevant. He adds that nearly half of customers who opt out are unlikely to opt back in to receive emails from a company.
Nicholson points to five factors marketers ignore in their email campaigns, thus rendering them irritating:
1) Frequency: less is more
2) Permission: make sure recipients signed up or requested to receive email communications
3) Relevance: make sure messages are relevant to each individual recipient
4) Timeliness: recipients might not be perpetually interested in a company’s products or services
5) Repetitiveness: make sure emails aren’t too similar to previous messages
“In effect, every irrelevant message one’s business sends decreases the probability that a relevant message will be acted upon,” Nicholson says. “Marketers can rise to this challenge by offering options for customers to manage the frequency or the type of content the customer can receive. By governing communication frequency and relevancy around individual customer preferences, organizations can make a dramatic impact to consumer ad fatigue and opt-out, increasing the opportunity to drive conversion and greater customer lifetime value.”
By Jason Hahn