Friday, April 16, 2010

Create Demand and Value with the Soft Sell

Let's face it… most folks don't want to talk to a sales person. Unless they're looking to buy immediately, most people would rather walk around the showroom, kick the tires, and browse without fear of being pressured into buying something they don't need or want. And in the B2B marketplace, it's really not that different. In today's "do more with less" world, there's just not a lot of time to spare, and most of us really don't want to spend what little time we have being sold to. So that hard-sell approach that may have worked in boom times? It's probably not gonna work now… so as a marketer you need to come up with different approach.

The Hard Sell and the Soft Sell
Typical lead generation campaigns are all about the Hard Sell… "Respond Now for a Free Consultation" or "Act Now and Get Your First Month Free" are examples of a hard sell. A Soft Sell, on the other hand, is designed to provide high perceived value to your prospect, without too many strings attached. An example might be a complimentary White Paper that discusses typical pain points for your prospect base, along with an overview of how they can address them. Or, complimentary access to industry research, vendor reviews, or tips on how to increase productivity. And while you still need to capture contact information from those leads who elect to receive these items, the "threat" of a hard sell is greatly reduced in the minds of your targets.

The next time you are planning a lead generation campaign, put yourself in your prospects' shoes… think about how you would want to be approached, and craft your campaign and offer accordingly. And watch your response (and conversion) rates go up!

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