Form a relationship before you request action
On a recent visit to one of my SaaS clients, I was able to sit in on a few of their sales calls. I overheard one of their reps ask for a 12-month, 5-figure contract directly from a cold call. He was abruptly rejected. But this did not waiver his spirit. He went right back to his call list. A few minutes later he had another prospect on the line. Within a few minutes the exact same conversation took place: rejection.
I assume this process continued over and over but I had seen enough. We went back to the VP of Marketing’s office and had this exchange:
Me: Did you propose to your wife the first time you met?
Client: What? Absolutely not. It took years.
Me: Then why would you treat your prospects differently?
We’ve become so fixated on this “buy-or-die” model that we forget building a solid relationship takes time, in life and in business.
Desmond Morris, author of Intimate Behaviour, wrote about the 12 stages of intimacy. As humans, we are programmed to follow 12 stages to build a relationship with a significant other. Eye to body, hand to hand, and so-on. Skipping a stage leads to turning off the other individual and, in dating, results in you coming off as “creepy.” This same model can be translated into business.
Your intent should not be to take someone from an awareness stage directly to a signed contract. Instead, you should focus on identifying in which stage your prospects or customers are getting stuck today and create campaigns focused on moving them from one to the next.
Here are a few campaign examples:
Engaged -> Subscriber: When a reader is on your blog, use a pop-up to ask them to sign up for your awesome content by putting in their email address.
Subscribed -> Converted: Offer your subscribers a special discount on a low-cost item.
Converted -> Promoter: Send a welcome package with swag and ask them to promote it on social media with a specific hashtag.
Think about how you interact with your prospects and customers. Are you that creepy person? If so, even at one stage, use this model to monitor and improve how you interact with your audience.
Growin’ ain’t easy.