As buyers we all know when it is time to “tell” rather than “sell”.

This weekend I met a salesperson who knew the difference between the two. My eldest daughter, Maddy, is in the early stages of looking for a new Apple iMac computer. So we ended up at one of the hundreds of Apple retailers in Auckland. It was picked because it was near a cafe we planned to go to for lunch afterwards.

We started in front of some shiny Apple screens not knowing exactly what we were looking at. Now fortunately for us, we managed to flag down the right salesperson. She sauntered over and started to gently ask Maddy a few questions. Questions about what she wanted the machine for, the applications she would be running and how long she expected to spend using it.

The salesperson brought with her a small piece of paper showing the product specs of the range. After a short chat, she pointed out the ones would be ideal and why. I then asked the “Dad Question”: why wouldn’t she buy the cheapest of the two? The assistant did a great job of explaining the technical differences in a way that we both could understand.

And then she said nothing. No fancy close. No whipping out a handheld computer to tap in stuff to give us a special deal. Just handed us her card and told us which of the two we were in front of. Advising us to have a play and get a feel of what we were considering.

And considering it, we were. Spending over $3,500 takes a bit of time to digest. So we left knowing more than when we arrived and with a feeling that this business: (a) could help us, and (b) knew a lot about how to match the right iMac to the right Apple purchaser.

As I said before, there are probably hundreds of Auckland retailers who sell Apple products but after that simple exchange these guys would now be at the top of our list.

Effective lead nurturing helps you get to the top of the list your prospects have for what you sell.

Here’s how to get involved.

#1 Produce great content to capture your prospect’s attention – and their email address.

We all head to the Internet when researching that next chunky purchase. We will trade our email address along the way for content that will make our search so much easier. Think value, not necessarily volume.

Automatically most people think “eBooks” here, but that doesn’t have to be the case. We have a customer who created a very simple MS Excel calculator plugin that was extremely valuable for his prospects. When they registered to get it for free, which many hundreds did, it solved a very complex calculation in a jiffy. This same theme permeated their very comprehensive and expensive software product which these prospects were ideal customers for.

#2 Talk to them as long as it makes sense.

Maddy will need her new computer before March. I would guess that a three month consideration period is usual for a computer like this. Deciding on what car to buy could take a lot longer, and likewise deciding which graphic designer should design your next logo may be faster than picking a car but longer than buying an iMac.

Let’s also assume that all decisions that should be made by prospects: will be. So there’s an ideal time period to say what you need to say while people are considering. Leave it too late and the purchase would have been made and the relevance lost.

#3 Givers gain.

Capturing your prospect’s attention is the top task after they have traded their email address for your content..

Just a quick refresher: now is not the time to sell, but to tell. And the “telling” part focuses on helping the prospect through the decision-making process. Those that sell complex services have a distinct advantage here, especially when there’s a lot that can go wrong with a poor decision. Think “complex software purchases that never go live”, i.e. business rebranding exercises that actually reduce sales rather than increase them. Situations like these where the risk of a negative outcome can be quite high.

Any content you can offer here to help people avoid these steps will be well received. Drip-feeding it to people in manageable chunks of email ensures you remain at the top of people’s minds as the time of consideration continues.

This leaves you with the task of managing who gets what and when. Thankfully there’s a range of technology to make this a breeze.

#4 Dissolve the complexity with the right technology.

So you are drip-feeding snippets of highly valuable content to possibly hundreds of prospects who are “considering” what you offer. Some are more active than others at this and could be clicking the links in your messages with a frenzy; others could be a bit more passive. The rest flit between the two states while receiving the series of messages you provide.

Somehow you need to isolate those who are keen to buy, possibly for some telemarketing activities, and respectfully and gently nurture those who are still pondering their choices. Thankfully there’s a range of lead-nurturing technology that can make this mind meld act a relatively simple task.

We support a range of tools that do just this. You can start from just $10 per month and head northwards. The more you pay, the more complexity you can manage. However most starting out have quite simple needs so the low-cost technology is usually a starter.

Our experience doesn’t start and end with the tools. We have expertise in creating the content to get the system started AND the messages required to keep the momentum going to the successful end.

Follow these steps and you should end up with a pipeline packed with prospects slowly moving further along their decision-making process.

Contact us today to learn how to design a pipeline like this for your business.