If you’re like me you really dislike nuisance offers from people you don’t know or worse, from people you just connected with. You know the type. They lay in wait and connect with you for the sole purpose of getting an offer in front of your eyes. 90% of the time this offer will instantly follow a connection request, way before you can even check out your new friend. Wow, that relationship ended fast!
In our business a lot of these unsolicited requests are often about outsourcing web projects or SEO retainers. They'll tell you about how much time you'll save, how cheap they are compared to other people, it's safe to outsource to them and you'll be amazed with their results.
What they struggle to see is this approach rarely works because It’s an impersonal, one-sided viewpoint and I bet like me you get them all the time. Depending on my mood I take great pleasure in sharing my dislike of this approach and always block people because of it.
So when I caught myself scouring Facebook groups or LinkedIN comments for people to message, who most likely wouldn't appreciate a similar blunt-force trauma approach to selling, I had to take a step back and consider what the heck I was considering. I was going to do the very thing that others have done to us, and that we dislike so deeply. I was gearing myself up to become a jerk developer with a team who you could outsource your projects to.
Note to self: Not a great idea.
Why I avoid selling
You see the problem is not with selling. Selling, if done right, is a useful skill to have and can help people make an informed decision. The thing is I'm no salesman. To me selling is an alien concept and its not where I thrive at all. I'm better at developing friendships and building trust with my peers. That's where I enjoy being in the community and feel most confident, as well as genuine.
When I try to sell I struggle to sell the right way like nurture people and offer value first, and come across as a needy guy who wants to get the selling part over and done with. I come across like someone that will hound you to work with me and it doesn't feel good. This is why I avoid selling and follow a no sell policy.
You’ll be glad to hear that I refrained from being a jerk and took a different approach to generating business. I’m going all in on building relationships that are forged on leading with value and sharing insights.
People want to outsource at their own pace
One of the biggest lessons I would learn from recent Zoom calls is that people don’t want to outsource even if they say they do — well, at least not right away. Instead, they want to get to know you, engage with you in a risk-free and no-obligation manner and make micro-investments at their own pace. The first type of investment is typically their time spent with you on a call, judging your character and developing their opinion of you. Alternatively, they'll do what you're doing right now and read a blog or two.
Relationships matter more than ever
Now, I’m fully aware the world revolves around money. We need it to survive and thrive. However, in our modern age we are bombarded with sales messages online and offline. Those who avoid hard-selling are playing a long game, but its worth it in the long-run. We can avoid the numbers game that so many others feel they have to play to survive and thrive. This approach rarely works and even when it does; Do you think they feel good about themselves?
Are you working hard to make relationship building an integral part of your agencies culture?
Injecting some humanity into your sales pipeline
We’re not interested in playing the numbers game or running around for scraps at NO LABEL Studios. We have goals and aspirations to make our agency a world-wide name on the web. We strongly believe that working with the right people and caring about them will lead to us achieving our goals, and often faster than those who focus solely on their sales targets and profit margins. These sales-focused people disconnect themselves from the beauty of genuine human interactions, and instead solely focus on materialistic gains like wealth and power.
It’s sad to see how much the digital age has stripped away a lot of what makes us human, and replaced it with the ability to “connect” with an insane amount of people, with machine like precision, and all at the click of a button. Think about your marketing automation tool for a moment. You can send every subscriber an instant email about your latest blog (like I did today). But if that’s all we do are we really caring for and nurturing these subscribers (aka humans)?
I’m not saying unsubscribe anyone or write everyone a hand written letter, but perhaps we need to be encouraging more two-way communication, or interacting a bit more.
A man I am genuinely inspired by is Robert Cairns from Stunning Digital Marketing. Rob sends out a very personal style email to his subscribers sharing knowledge and insights, and people like me feel we can have a conversation with him because of it. You feel like you're the only person receiving this email. I have a lot of respect and appreciation for the Roberts of the world who consider his subscribers as equals.
Sharing knowledge and letting prospects come to us
Hopefully I’ve convinced you that solely focusing on selling, not selling itself, can strip away the humanity and genuine connection required to build relationships with your prospects.
As mentioned before I’ve personally found that I severely limit my chances of establishing trust and connection when I attempt to sell in any of my initial calls with a new prospect. In fact, I struggle to establish a meaningful connection, that could lead to business opportunities, when I’ve gone into a call with a focus on selling. Some people can pull it off but not me and that’s OK, again for the reasons I shared before.
What I do now is remove obligations, allowing myself and my prospect to get to know each other and nurture our relationship. Secondly, releasing a weekly blog of personal and agency insights, as well as unbiased answers to prospect questions help encourage people to make an informed decision before they even come to us for their outsourcing needs. This eliminates, or at least reduces, the need to sell to someone because they'll already be well-informed and ready to move forward in some way, if only to make a micro-commitment like jump on a Zoom call.
If we’re a good fit our prospects will reach out to us, and we’ll go from there. It’s friendlier, non-intrusive and will produce results given enough time and dedication.
Our agency may not be thriving or scaling beyond belief, but we have a concrete plan of action for making this possible. It will take time and a lot of investment in terms of sharing insights and giving to the community, but we know it is the right approach to take for our agency.
Will you be following a no-sell policy?