Converting Trust Into Profitable Outcomes

One of the most challenging steps in the sales and marketing process is the final conversion into a desirable outcome for the buyer and the seller.

One reason for this is the terminology. The word conversion has a connotation bordering on manipulation. At the very least it suggests the transition is mechanical, like flipping a switch.

Trust is earned gradually, over time, and on its own time. It takes a skilled and experienced human being to know when a sufficient level of trust has been achieved. Of course, this is much easier in face-to-face selling situations than with online marketing.

Nevertheless, these principles apply in both situations, which means successful web marketing is simply a matter of adapting your traditional practices to a digital format. Here are three steps for converting trust into profitable outcomes.

#1 – Create Content That Shows How Things Work

In the earlier days of selling we often had to rely on the spoken word to communicate. You could also illustrative brochures to demonstrate what a product looks and feels like.  Actual samples were effective too.

Part of the genius of the Apple retail stores is they provide an opportunity for test driving the machines. A business has to manage expectations, and this includes whether or not the product or service will get the job done, and how well.

In addition to these traditional methods, online content works nicely to earn the trust and confidence of buyers . Content is usually thought of as text, yet, it also includes image, visual tutorials, videos, and audio that educate buyers about how your product or service performs.

Consider creating using a combination of these methods to convert trust into desired outcomes.

Video – Demos of how things work. Live performances. Interactions with real customers. Testimonials. Unusual or interesting applications.

Images – Products or services in use. Step-by-step, how-to tutorials. Happy customers. Comparisons, such as before and after. Diagrams and charts.

Audio and Written Copy – Engaging stories. Lists. Ask and answer questions. Persuasive or personalized content.

#2 – Clearly Communicate the Process for Earning Trust

How and when trust is earned varies from one person to the next. Therefore, it is best to take your time, because moving too quickly to covert interest into a sale or agreement of any kind will likely stop or even end the process.

When a business moves too quickly the buyer has a sense that something has been skipped, or will be. This is why it is essential to have a written sales process that communicates to the buyer in advance where you are taking them, and how you will get there.

Think of your content in as earning the attention of the buyer. What should then follow is a process of interaction that is ideally collaborative. Buyers readily engage when they understand you have a defined plan for taking care of them. This is why it is smart to sell the process that sells your products

So, to be clear. Show your buyers why and how your product or service is the solution to their problem. Engage them with a collaborative process that delivers on that promise. Then be alert to their readiness for moving forward with your company.

#3 – Announce Your Intention to Convert in Advance

I often say that conversion is a by-product of a well-designed sales process. However, there is one thing that will significantly improve your rate of conversion, and that is letting your buyer know in advance that you will be doing so.

The process we created for my landscape business required four meetings to achieve a final landscape design and a signed agreement or contract for building it. Each meeting had a name that informed prospective buyers of the purpose of that meeting in advance.

The fourth meeting was named the commitment meeting. That is what we expected after a series of meetings that often spanned a month of more. Thus, there were no surprises or uncomfortable situations. If a buyer decided not to engage with our process they simply backed out after the first meeting.

My friend Chris Brogan has a creative way of adapting this to his digital marketing. He announces at the beginning of his content that he will be making an offer with the phrase “selly sell.” Knowing that in advance, one can easily skip over that content, and most important, trust with the community is preserved.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)  

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+.

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Organizing Your Social Media Marketing

You can take the stress out of your social media marketing process by organizing it into written plan that is consistently implemented. That organized and written plan can then be refined as you grow with it.

The key to an effective social media marketing plan is following specific rules that are organized into a process. Following that allows you and your team to capably respond to unforeseen challenges and opportunities, thereby avoiding social media overwhelm.

Organization is not an activity, but rather the design and implementation of proven practices that are Built-in — a planned structure that gives everyone confidence for the accomplishment of practical objectives that sustain the growth of the organization.

Social Marketing is a Process

While earning my college degree in the sciences I learned an important lesson about managing change. Put systems in place to control what is controllable, so that you can better respond to what you cannot control, which for social media could be changes in the networks, or simply the actions of other people.

As you know, the various social media networks do seem to change like the weather. So, instead of stressing about the inevitable changes to LinkedIn, YouTube, or Facebook, expect and plan for them by getting and keeping everything else organized to run like a well-oiled machine.

Your social media marketing process should include, but not be limited to the following best practices.

1. Actions you will take daily, weekly, and monthly. This is simply building a schedule to which your business is prepared to commit, such as a weekly newsletter, daily Facebook page updates, checking your blog or Twitter for comments, Facebook for birthdays, and so on.

2. Specific topics that your content marketing will address. This will keep you on topic and more aware of balancing the type of content you create and share across multiple channels. Limit this to as few as one, and preferably no more than seven topics.

3. Keywords and hashtags that you will use. Having a handy list of hashtags and keywords that relate to your topics will streamline your work.

4. Tools that you rely on. There are thousands of social media tools and many of them work quite well. Choose and limit your use to just a few, but do your homework to learn about newer and better ones as they come along.

5. Allocating time for research and education. All of us have to do research to learn. So, make a list of blogs and other resources to subscribe to, while also attending educational events online, or in person where you can make new connections.

6. Making lists of like-minded friends and colleagues that can help you. Try to organize your friends into categories of expertise. A quick email to a colleague can save hours of research.

7. Methods for batching your work to build in flexibility. Some of the more prolific marketers do all of their content creation in one focused period every week, rather than pushing it all to a deadline.

8. Allocating time for making progress with what you have been putting off. You can dramatically reduce your stress by committing to periodically fixing or updating one channel you have been ignoring. For many of us this is Pinterest, and for others it is your blog.

9. Write down your process steps. That alone will give you more confidence.

Refine Your Process

At this point you have practices that got you here. Applying even a few new practices on a regular basis will serve to refine your process into a valued resource. You’ll also discover it helps with recruiting good people who will recognize your business has a process in place to help them succeed.

The process of organizing social media marketing comes down to understanding not just what to do, but also why. After years of working with thousands of small businesses as a social media coach and trainer I discovered the primary source of poor implementation, and often giving up altogether, could be reduced to simply not understanding why.

You absolutely have to believe your work will produce results, and that comes from knowing both why and how it works. This is the primary reason I wrote the book Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business.

Do yourself a favor and get the Introduction and 1st Chapter for free by clicking here. Reading just those 30 or so pages will teach you more than most small business will ever know about social marketing. Then take a look at the Table of Contents and you’ll get a sense of how the rest of the book builds on that essential foundation.

Everything in business is a process. What should be exciting is knowing that refining your social media marketing process will make your work easier, better, more readily managed as a team, or outsourced to skilled professionals.

Organize your social media marketing process; and have a plan for implementing it well.

About the Author: Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

Social Marketing is a Process

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