Why you need to ask questions in your sales and marketing

Questions are powerful in sales and marketing. When you use them right they uncover needs, challenge thought processes, demonstrate your uniqueness and increase conversions. 

If you aren’t convinced already, here are four reasons why you need to ask your potential customers more questions in your sales and marketing.

1. Questions engage

Questions draw readers into your words and make them involved. When a question is asked (a closed question in this case) we naturally answer it, we can’t help but agree, disagree or form an opinion.

When this happens, your potential customers are more likely to read on. Your potential customer will want to see if you share the same opinion, have an interesting point, or can provide the solution to the issue, problem or ‘what if’ scenario raised in the question.

2. Questions challenge beliefs

A well-posed question can help you challenge your potential customers beliefs, disrupt their thought process and help them uncover needs they don’t know they have so your message or point of view can pierce through. 

These piercing questions are particularly important when people have “heard it all before…” or when you are launching a new product, service or concept and need to educate people on why they need your business.

3. Questions break down perceptions

A lot of times potential customers bring perceptions to your business and industry. They make assumptions about what you do and how you do it based on their level of understanding and experience with competitors. 

While this can work in your favour (the education is done for you), it can also work against you and fuel their objections if they have had negative past experiences.

When you pose a question based on your point of difference or a failing in your industry (think “Tired of [insert point]?” “Sick of [insert point]?” or “Isn’t it time you [insert point]?”), it can change your potential customers perceptions of you, demonstrate your understanding of them and separate you from competitors.

4. Questions can make sales

Leading questions, where you ask your potential customer a series of questions you know they will say yes to, have been proven to increase sales conversions.

When you can get potential customers in the habit of saying “yes” when you ask them to act or buy they are more prone to say “yes” again. 

What questions could you ask to engage and convert your customers?

Amanda


Four truths to accept when positioning yourself as an expert

Having the confidence to establish yourself as an expert doesn’t always come easy, particularly for the more humble among us. But to build your profile, and make the difference that most entrepreneurs want to in business, you need to.

To give you a little more confidence that what you have to say is of value, here are four truths to accept when positioning yourself as an expert.

#1 – It’s a matter of opinion

Becoming an expert isn’t just about what you do or how you do it – it’s about what you know, and what you think. Put forward your opinions, derive conclusions based on your experiences and share your passion. 

Your opinion and experiences will help you bring a different perspective to the information you share.

#2 – What you know is NOT common sense

This is one of the biggest hurdles you need to overcome in your own mind. We each have skills, strengths and specialties. While something may be easy, or seem like common sense to you, it doesn’t mean it will be the same for others. 

Chances are you have studied, researched, serviced customers, learnt lessons, overcome challenges, had wins, sought council and grown in experience to know what you know now. For this reason, most people will never have the distinct skills, knowledge and perspective you do.

#3 – You don’t need to know everything

You don’t need to know as much as others in your industry – you only need to know how to package it better. There will always be someone who knows more than you, but that doesn’t mean what you have to say is of any less value! 

You might be able to package up your knowledge in a way that is more relatable, easier to understand, or more profitable to a customer. Your explanation might just be what they need to take action, get the breakthrough they need or achieve the result they want.

#4 – Everything has NOT been said

There is a lot of information out there – and a lot of experts, but that doesn’t mean everything that needs to be said, has been said yet. Times, needs and challenges change and consumers  will always want the latest tips, hacks and facts.

Amanda


The top three selling emotions – and how to use them

As we are discovering “why?” is one of the most powerful questions we can ask. Not only in terms of problem solving, but also for motivating and influencing our customers and prospects. 

When we can convince our prospects as to why they should buy from us, and take them on an emotional journey to get there, we are in a far greater position to make the sale. 

But what emotions should you appeal to and where do you start? In my experience here are the top three selling emotions and how to use them. 

1. Discontentment

To move quickly, people need to experience discontentment with their current situation. As much as we want to move towards pleasure, we are far more motivated to move away from pain. Just think about it if we were all motivated by pleasure, we’d all have what we want, or be well on the way to getting what we want. 

The purpose of using discontentment is to create a need or desire in the mind of your prospect. Discomfort can come from many different emotions including frustration, envy, resentment, regret, guilt and even fear to name a few. You might find yourself appealing to current emotions or the possibility of them experiencing them in the future by taking prospects to the ‘worst case scenario’ (think life insurance for instance). 

When you can demonstrate their pain and frustration or potential or pain and frustration, you start to make your prospect discontent.  If you can make them uncomfortable and then show them a way to be more comfortable than they have ever been, you have increased your chances of making the sale. 

A word of warning: When you are appealing to emotions, particularly strong, negative emotions tread carefully and sensitively. You need to make sure the feeling is about one specific area that you can move your prospect out of quickly to not leave those feelings associated with your brand. 

2. Hope

Hope is a powerful emotion. It can motivate us to act completely out of our comfort zone and do some crazy things for the potential of a reward. 

Once your prospect is discontent, give them hope that there is a way out. If discontent is your ‘worst case scenario’ then hope is your ‘what if…’ scenario. 

A word of warning: Hope is where expectations are made. While you do need to build up your ‘what if…’ scenario, don’t build it up to a point where they could experience disappointment if they buy from you. 

3. Excitement

Now your prospect has hope it’s time to build excitement. Excitement motivates us to move forward, and it also ensures that whatever we are excited about stays at the forefront of our mind. 

To get your prospect excited though, they also need to see the value, incentive (“what’s in it for me?”) and urgency. You need to demonstrate to your prospect that they need and most importantly want to act now.

A word of warning: When someone is really excited they want to act immediately – and you want them to act immediately because the feeling can be fleeting. To cater for this make it easy for them to act by being clear on the next step. The fastest way to squash excitement is to make the process too hard or long.

Are you appealing to the right emotions in your marketing?

Amanda


Five ways to overcome blank page paralysis

There can be something quite intimidating about a blank page. The pressure to fill it with words can be overwhelming. Even the most experienced writers can, at some point, feel as though their ideas have dried up, and they don’t know where to start. But it can be overcome.

Whether you need to write a presentation or proposal, a book or a blog, an advertisement or an anecdote, a newsletter or news release, here are five ways to help you overcome blank page paralysis.

1. Work backwards  

When you are stuck, it can help to look at the end goal. What do you want to happen as a result of this? What is the next action step? What do you want customers, readers, journalists, staff members or other stakeholders to take away from it or do as a result of it? 

Once you know the end goal, it is easier to determine what you need to write to achieve it, giving you a place to start.

2. Be inspired by the work of others 

Need to give a presentation? Watch some TED Talks and other great speeches in history. Have a blog to write? Read other blogs and publishing websites. Need to develop an advertisement? Look over the most successful advertisements developed over the years. 

Sometimes we need a touch of inspiration to get us on our way. To see an example of how it is done right or to see it achieving results for us to know it is possible and make a start.  

Inspiration should not be confused with plagiarism though. You don’t want to copy what you have read, listened to or watched. Instead, look at the subtle details that appealed to you like their tone of voice, presentation of facts, how they formulated their argument, captured attention or used imagery.  

3. Reconnect with your creativity  

Sometimes sitting behind a computer can stifle our creativity. We can get too caught in the humdrum of routine and are too easily distracted by the noises of new emails and social media updates coming through.  

Think back over the times when you have been the most creative. Chances are it wasn’t in front of your computer screen; it was with a pen and paper, over a whiteboard, away from your desk or talking with others. Also, take into consideration the time of day it was. Identify any patterns and do what you can to recreate these moments of creativity.  

4. Write your way 

You don’t need to write from start to finish. If you are more inspired to start at the end or halfway through then follow your inspiration. Pressure will only fuel procrastination and overwhelm.  

Make notes under different sections or headings and come back to them when you feel you have more clarity. There is no right or wrong way to fill a page. You need to find the process that most suits you.  

5. Delegate it 

If you are experiencing severe writers block and can’t find a way around it personally, then delegate it. Give yourself something to work with by asking a staff member, ghostwriter or copywriter to do the first draft for you.

It might just take someone else’s interpretation of your business, product, service or topic to help you gain more clarity around your positioning and what you do and don’t want to say.  


How to find customers you want to work with

Our customers are the lifeblood of our businesses, the very reason we can open our doors each day and do what we love. While many are brilliant to work with, some have the ability to drain the time, energy, ideas and life out of us.

While every customer gives us the opportunity to learn and improve, I’m sure we’d all rather work with customers that challenge us for all the right reasons. So how do you find the customers you want to work with and not just have to work with? Here are four tips to help.

1. Know who you want to work with

The first step in finding the customers you want to work with is to know who they are. If you can’t clearly identify who you are looking for, how are you meant to find them?  Take a look at their defining characteristics. Do they come from a particular industry or location? Do they have a specific income, turnover or budget? Do they share a particular problem, want or need? Do they have a certain mindset?

The clearer you can be on your ideal customers characteristics, the easier it will be to find where they are, what they read, watch and listen to and who influences them.

2. Build a business they want to do business with

Now that you have a clear idea of the customer you are targeting, determine what kind of brand they want to do business with. What personality and image would attract them? What benefits or solutions do they want from your products and services? What sales and marketing messages have worked to attract these customers in the past? What information must they know to buy from you? What testimonials from past ideal customers can you use to attract them?

Once you have the answers, proactively build a business that they will want to do business with. 

3. Communicate your vision and ‘why’

As Simon Sinek so wisely said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. Communicate your vision and why to your customers. Make your business bigger than the products and services you provide. 

Step away from the thousands of businesses who do what you do and give your business a bigger purpose, passion, cause or meaning. Then communicate it authentically to your customers.

4. Remember like attracts like

Like attracts like, so in order for you to attract your ideal customers look at who you need to become as a person and as a business owner. How do you need to talk, act and present? Who do you need to be associating with? What referral partners and strategic alliances do you need to form that will also attract your ideal customers? What circles do you need to be mixing in?

The people you want to work with are within your reach; you may just need to stretch yourself to get to them.

Amanda


Four content marketing mistakes you need to avoid

There is no questioning the benefit of content marketing. But while attracting and converting customers with valuable, relevant and consistent content can yield a significant return on investment, not everyone gets it right.

To ensure you do, here are four of the biggest content marketing mistakes businesses frequently make so you can make sure you avoid them. 

Mistake #1 – Thinking like a marketer not a publisher

When it comes to content marketing you need to think like a publisher not a marketer. A marketer’s focus is on selling, where a publisher’s focus is on producing interesting content that engages readers and keeps them coming back. 

Your content should build your credibility and expertise and showcase your value in such a way that readers see the benefit in working with you without you having to push for the sale. Sales naturally come when you add value. 

Mistake #2 – Being inauthentic 

When customers and potential customers sense inauthenticity they lose faith and you lose followers. To build credibility in your content marketing you need to be authentic.

To ensure you are being true to yourself and your brand you need to know what you stand for, why you do what you do, who you are targeting, what they want and why you are using social media. When you know this you can then establish your tone of voice, personality and the content that aligns with both you and your target market. 

Mistake #3 – Unoriginal content

There is nothing worse than reading blog posts, books and resources that are a regurgitation or blatant copy of someone else’s content. 

While it is only natural that some content will be similar when you have a similar viewpoint or process to someone else, you can always find a way to make it your own. It could be through using a personal anecdote, a case study of a client, your professional experience or approaching the topic from a different angle. 

Mistake #4 – Publishing for the sake of publishing 

We’re all told about the importance of regular content. In fact it’s drummed into us so much that often regularity gets prioritised over quality. 

The result? We publish content we know isn’t our best, prescribing to the theory that something is better than nothing. But it’s not. 

You can lose credibility and followers if your content isn’t valuable to your readers. Missing a blog because you can’t think of anything to write is far better than publishing something that is irrelevant or of a lower standard.

Amanda 


Four unexpected places to strike marketing gold

When it comes to crafting winning marketing messages you can often find inspiration in the most unexpected places. 

To help you strike marketing gold, here are four places to start looking to uncover marketing messages and product or service developments. 

FAQs

Frequently asked questions give you an insight into what is important to your customers, the potential limitations of your products and services, the features or elements customers don’t understand and what may be missing from your marketing messages. 

If you keep getting the same question numerous times and there is a positive answer, try to identify if there is a key selling point you can draw out of it. If not is there an innovation you could make that will fill the need and give you a competitive edge?

“No”

Nothing causes us to stand up and listen like a “no”. Though in order to learn from each “no” the important question to ask is “why?”  

Was it because they couldn’t see the value? Was it the price? Did it lack a key benefit, feature or inclusion? Was it the sales message or process? Was it just this particular customer (one “no”) or are changes needed to suit the needs of your larger customer base (more than one “no”)?

Examine the scenario yourself and solicit feedback, it could be as simple as needing to change your message to demonstrate your value from a customer’s perspective. 

Objections

Objections are often seen as the first step towards rejection but it’s not the case. A customer who is objecting is still engaged. They are still interacting, listening and evaluating. Objections aren’t a “no” they’re a “not yet” or “I need more information”. 

Just like frequently asked questions, objections uncover the priorities of your target market and, when you listen closely, can give you the information you need to customise your sales pitch so they see the value for them personally. 

They can also show you what case studies and testimonials you need and what information you should include in your marketing material and sales process to overcome objections before they’re even verbalised. By doing so you’ll show your customers you ‘get’ them. 

Testimonials

While this is a more obvious place to find marketing gold, if you’re like most businesses it’s unlikely you are using them to your full advantage. 

While they can help you ‘prove’ your value through your marketing material and overcome common objections of customers (provided you get the right testimonials), they can also tell you what to prioritise in your marketing message.

Your customers may love a particular product, service, feature or result more than those you are currently pushing and chances are what your future customers love about you, will be the same thing your future customers will want from you. 

You can also uncover the true frustrations of your customers through your testimonials. Often you will solve a problem your customer didn’t know they had. Testimonials are a great way to capture the relief and give you the gift of hindsight for your next customers. 

Have you found marketing gold in any unusual places?

Amanda


Five words to boost your marketing in the New Year

Can you believe the end of the year is right around the corner? To help you gear up for a bigger, better year with your business, here are five words to put into action to help boost your marketing in the year ahead.

1. Strategise 

Now is the time to review. What worked, what didn’t and what can be made better? Will you be aiming for a different market this coming year? What do they need and want? What problems, worries and frustrations do they have? If you aren’t changing target markets, are your messages working or do you need to change your approach?

2. Personalise

We are doing business in an increasingly global, faceless environment, don’t underestimate the need to personalise your marketing. People want and need to feel as though you are talking just to them, but to do this you need to be more aware of your audience and more targeted in your marketing approach. 

It might be a case of doing three specific marketing or advertising campaigns to key target markets as opposed to one general one. While it can sound like more effort, you will get far better results being specific.  

3. Theme

Make your marketing easier in the New Year by theming your content and campaigns. Grab a large wall planner and write down all key dates, events and tradeshows within your business and industry. Then write in all related causes, awareness days, weeks or months, and public holidays. 

If you are planning public relations and advertising campaigns in the New Year, request the media kits of the publications you want to target and write down the editorial themes they will be covering.
 
Very soon you will start to see possible themes emerge within your calendar. Then once you’ve decided you can theme your social media, marketing material and promotions around these making it easier to find content and identify the best marketing activities.

4. Care

There is no marketing strategy more powerful than genuinely caring for your customers. Go the extra mile, help where you can and take the time to answer questions. Build relationships with your customers don’t just bank transactions.

5. Authenticity

Customers don’t just want to purchase a product or service from a business anymore they want a genuine, transparent experience from a business that knows who they are and what they stand for. 

For this reason, you need to be authentic and transparent in your marketing and in the way you do business. If you make a claim, back it up. If you make a mistake, own it and fix it. Be real, at the end of the day most people are buying the people behind the business, not a product or service.

How will you be shaking up your marketing in the New Year?

Amanda


Influencing the influencer

Could you be marketing to the wrong person or leaving off a key influencer and costing your business sales? While we spend most of our marketing budgets targeting the end user of our product or service, the truth is in many situations that one person rarely makes the purchase decision alone. 

They consult with someone else, present their findings and in some cases even ask for approval or make a joint decision to proceed. In other cases someone else (think of the child in the supermarket) can have far greater influence over the buying decision, convincing your potential customer to buy your products or services in a more persuasive way than you doing it direct. 

So how do you influence the influencer? Here are three tips to get you started. 

1. Identify who your potential customers’ influencers are 

There can be different influencers of a purchase decision depending on the product or service you provide. From business partners, colleagues, employers and different departments within their organisation, to husbands, wives, kids, mothers, fathers, extended family and friends. 

Not too mention the trend setters, ‘in crowd’, celebrities and even the ‘enemies’ or competitors of your potential customer can influence the way they buy and determine if they’ll do business with you over someone else. 

In order to influence the influencer you need to identify who else you are marketing to in addition to your potential customer. Ask yourself who will be in their ear? Who else will need to sign off on the purchase? Who else will have a vested interest in the purchase? Is my customer aware of this influencer and trying to convince them too?

2. Get in the mind of the influencer

Marketing to an influencer often requires completely different messaging than marketing to your potential customer. They have different needs, frustrations and motivations and tend to be less engaged with your product or service. 

Normally only having the incomplete, second-hand information to go on, the influencer may even be wary and skeptical of how you can help, planting seeds of doubt in the mind of your potential customer. For this reason, you need to ensure you give them the information they need to get on board with the purchase. 

To do this ask yourself, what will your target markets influencer be saying in their ear? What concerns and objections will they have? What benefits will they want to see? What information do you need to share (either directly or give to your potential customer) to help the influencer to fall in love with your product too?

3. Target the influencer in your marketing  

Once you know the influencers you are targeting and what concerns and motivations they have, address them in your marketing messages. 

It could be as subtle as working in benefits and features that will appeal to them and address key objections, or it could be as obvious as a ‘how to convince your husband/wife/business partner’ guide. 

How can you influence the influencer in your own business? 

Amanda 


How to find your point of difference

In business it pays to be different, but when you’re selling the same products or services as everyone else in your industry, it can be hard to find a way to differentiate yourself that doesn’t include competing on price.

While it can seem like a good idea to begin with, focusing on price alone means you have to work harder to make a profit, it leaves you vulnerable to competitors who undercut and you tend to attract a certain kind of customer – those difficult, fickle, price-driven customers who will up and leave you the moment they find a cheaper price. 

So how do you find your point of difference when you have the same offering as others? Here are six ideas to get you thinking about how you can differentiate your business without competing on price.

1. Experience or expertise

Take a closer look at what you personally bring to your business and clients that your competitors don’t.

  • Have you been in business longer?
  • Have you had more industry experience?
  • Have you built your business out of your own need so have first-hand experience with the issue your clients are facing?
  • Do you specialise in an area most don’t?
  • Do you have any specific qualifications that are hard to attain or very exclusive?
  • Have you dealt with difficult or uncommon situations that have given you more specialised knowledge
  • Are you or your business more well-known and trusted?
  • Have you worked for any major companies?
  • Have you written a book?
  • Are you a member of any exclusive groups or associations?
  • Have you won an award? 

2. Better processes

Are there any key differences in the way you develop, produce (or source) and deliver your products or services compared to the way others do?

  • Is your project briefing more comprehensive to ensure more tailored products or services?
  • Do you take extra steps to ensure higher quality products or services?
  • Do you follow a specific process or formula that gets more consistent results?  
  • Do you have better client follow up to ensure they received what they needed/wanted?
  • Do you offer a guarantee that is more inclusive or longer than your competitors?

3. Exceptional quality and/or consistent results

Do you produce higher quality products or services or do you get greater or more consistent results? If you can prove you products or services are of a higher standard, have more value or achieve better results than your competitors, a potential client will quickly select your business even if you are more expensive.

  • Have you helped a large percentage of clients achieve something? (70% of clients achieve their goal weight within six months of training with you)
  • Do you have quantifiable results that are proven through testimonials or case studies? (Doubling profit, halving expenses)
  • Do your products last longer or work faster?
  • Are they more environmentally friendly or energy efficient?
  • Do you use more stronger, durable and/or safer materials?
  • Do you as a business have a better safety record?
  • Do you have the exclusive rights to sell a particular brand or product? 

4. A wider range of products or services

Do you or could you offer a wider range of products or services than your competitors? 

  • Do you have a wider range of colours, shapes or styles?
  • Do you have it available in different material?
  • Do you have better or more add-ons?
  • Do you offer (or have you aligned with other businesses to offer) a one stop shop of services?
  • Do you include “how to” guides, workshops, or webinars on how to get the most from your products or as a value add for your services?

5. More personalised and/or quicker service

Do you provide a really quick turnaround on products or services compared to others in your industry? Or a more personalised service where your competitors are faceless? Many people will choose a business and pay more if products and services are recieved quicker and/or they have the convenience of being able to contact someone easily.

  • Will customers always talk to a human being or only be on hold for a certain period of time? (particularly important in industries where you are normally left on hold or have to do everything through a website and not talk to someone)
  • Are you easier to get hold of?
  • Are you available for longer hours or have an emergency after hours call service (if applicable to your industry)?
  • Do you have a set time you answer enquiries by?
  • Do you ship products or deliver services quicker?
  • Do you have a guaranteed delivery time?
  • Do you give your clients more one-on-one time?
  • Do you spend more quality time getting to know clients in order to help them better?

6. Well-known clients

Do any well-known individuals or brands use your products or services? Being able to differentiate yourself by the quality of your clients can be a great way to establish credibility and generate publicity for your business. Not only do you appeal to their fans and clients, people will naturally assume you are good if high-profile people or businesses use and endorse your products or services.

Ask your well-known clients if they would mind giving you a testimonial (video is ideal) about how they have enjoyed your products and services. Also ask if you can use their name and logo on your website and in other promotional material, as this will help build credibility and rapport with potential customers. 

There are literally hundreds of ways to differentiate your business and establish your value. The key is to get a little creative. Look closely at the needs and frustrations of your potential clients and what your competitors are doing and more importantly not doing, very soon you will start to identify your existing points of difference and additional opportunities for you to differentiate.

Amanda


Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Youtube
Consent to display content from Youtube
Vimeo
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google