The buzz in marketing circles today is engagement. How do you effectively hook potential customers into a committed relationship? The investment a business makes in the engagement process should be directly tied to revenues. If you expertly and skillfully engage, sales will increase.
Competent engagement helps a business target, influence, nurture and convert prospects to customers. The more expeditious a business is in engaging with prospects, the bigger impact to the bottom-line. How are you engaging your potential new customers?
The easiest way to initiate engagement is to view customer and wedding engagements as the same. The difference between the two are in the details of tactics. How you move from targeting into proposal are nearly identical in overall strategy.
Engagement begins by determining how to get someone to respond to your offer. First, identify the target based on the qualifications of a “good match”. Who is a suitable candidate for engagement? What are the qualities you are seeking, both in demographics and social behaviors? Then you need to determine what makes you attractive to others. Packaging and presentation of your “stand out” qualities are critical in the initial step of the engagement process. Know where to direct your message and selling to the most qualified targets.
Second, you start the courting process, where all long-term valuable relationships begin. This step is more difficult to measure and needs careful preparation. You can spend a tremendous amount of resources influencing others and never get to the proposal. Laws of attraction and suitability apply. Who you target, what you say and why they are a good candidate must already be known to successfully influence the “right” prospect.
Using engagement tactics like research, focus groups, asking for referrals can speed progress directly influencing better qualified prospects when cultivating relationships. Put out a few “asks”. Look for agreement. Identify the buying signals. Know what makes this prospect want to engage further in the relationship. Define what is in it for them. It might take some sampling and analysis to reach a successful outcome.
Third, define acceptable terms of the relationship. Nurture your relationship to fully understand the “how and why” you need to partner. Build upon the strengths of your bond through mutual consent. Constant communication, validation and envisioning the success of your relationship solidifies the “why”. This is the beginning of a potentially long-term committed relationship, one that must be mutually beneficial. Are you both in agreement? Create timelines and set expectations to help control spending, time and resources while nurturing your relationship.
Fourth, make the BIG proposal. It is time to go all in and ask for the close. Whether it be a hand in marriage or to partner in business, the only way to get to a “yes” is to make the proposal. If you have taken time to go through an engagement process, building consensus along the way, you will have eliminated most of the risk in making the proposal. Converting a prospect to a buyer requires you to “pop” the question. It is time to seal the deal.
The opportunity to engage is there, are you ready to start the process? Only if you are able to commit to an engagement, will you be ready to “tie the knot” with a new customer.
[W]hen you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. ~Nora Ephron, When Harry Met Sally
By Jamie Glass, CMO & President of Artful Thinkers and Managing Director of Sales & Marketing Practice at CKS Advisors.
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