We cannot be all things to all people! Not only do we need to focus on the applications of our products or services but, as our first step, we must clearly define, exactly, who our “Top Tier” customer is, where he is, and how to get there. The top tier customer is that person who is willing to pay for the value added service we provide (i.e. give us the margins we want) and will normally repeat that sale if that is important to us. Once we know who we want, we need to fine tune our message to them in order to set standards for ourselves around how many steps it will take to secure each sale. Our message confirms the “customer promise” (what the customer expects) and defines the value proposition that our business must deliver (we set up centers of excellence behind the value proposition). The standards define the resources we need to get the results we must have.
Hooking a potential customer takes much deliberate work. The first step is to find out where he lives and how to access him. It may often take a third party introduction or finding the proper conduit for reaching the prospect. The second step is to arrange that first meeting. That may sound odd, but the less you come across “selling”, the less the chance you will be lied to in return. Just think about all the times people have tried to sell you things you didn’t want to buy. You would tell them anything to get them out of your way. That applies to even the best sales person when talking to someone who doesn’t know they need your services. So the approach here is not to sell, but set up the prospect to buy! This is called “hooking”. If the hook is buried deep, you can close. Premature closing can result in that fish pulling away and the “sale” lost.
So how do you hook? First, you must appreciate the research that says that people “buy” emotionally and not intellectually. Second, you need to get your prospect into your system of selling and get them out of their system of buying. During your discourse with them, qualify their emotions to determine it they fit a “real” customer profile. If you undertake your discourse correctly, you will lead your prospect into a funnel of emotional pain. That emotional pain is not an “OUCH!”, it is an emotional need to change and buy your service in order to solve their serious issues or needs that you can address better than your competitors. Once you have captured the emotional issues surrounding your prospect’s ability to do a better job for themselves by using your product or service, you have placed the hook. Setting the hook deeper requires a constant reinforcement in the “selling” process. Their relief from pain comes from working with your company using your solutions that he is very willing to pay for at this point.