Car Salesman in Drag
You know that moment.
You’ve seen it on TV a million times.
You’ve experienced it when buying a car or a TV.
That feeling when a commissioned salesman comes up and does his best to sell you.
It feels contrived. A bit icky. Even intrusive sometimes.
And if you do buy something the sale never seems to end. The extended this and special that.
Yes. It can be frustrating.
Look. Listen. Learn.
Now I may be an aberration, but I love to be sold.
I’m looking forward to the opportunity to hear a great pitch along with a well-executed upsell.
But the difference is I am evaluating the seller. I’m thinking about what he or she is trying to accomplish.
I’m assessing the process they choose through the questions they ask. The voice, the words chosen, the body language all tell me something about what they are doing.
I look for the upsell.
And if it’s good, I tell them so. I love a well-executed pitch. I find these interactions very educational.
Yes, I also hate a bad one. It leaves me feeling used.
The Word is a Bond
As a reader however, the experience is different.
The written word is typically more personal. It’s read individually. Quietly.
The experience of voice intonation and body language are missing which means the job of the writer connecting with the reader. The audience is more challenging.
The reader is asking a series of questions like:
Why should I trust this guy? Why should I listen or spend the time reading what he is saying? How is this relevant to me?
All good questions by the reader.
In a typical B2B format your reader is usually an employee. Probably a manager or an executive with the power to make big dollar purchases.
He or she has colleagues who will be impacted by the decision who will need to be consulted. Other colleagues will need to be brought on board to share in the decision to spread the risk.
There is real career risks if their decision does not have the intended outcome, or proves to be a bad one. They are often guided by budgetary considerations. And time constraints. Sometimes interdepartmental politics.
The goal of the seller then is to educate the buyer through the writer. To provide a road map. To address concerns. Meet nagging questions.
And address them convincingly with facts and logic.
The objective is to generate a lead and help the buyer meet all of the needs and concerns they have as a manager or maybe an executive.
Buying is Personal Even in Business
But the other part of the equation is personal. Because after all the buyer isn’t a robot. Well not usually….
The buyer is a person with concerns and feelings of their own outside of their work.
They may have a family to support. They may want more free time away from the office. A better quality of life. Less stress. A smoother running operation that helps them avoid constant conflicts.
A more profitable department meaning promotions and bonuses.
But if they make a bad decision they may get passed over for a promotion. Their reputation may become tarnished. End up with angry colleagues. And have to spend more time at the office at the expense of their family. And ultimately their mental and physical health.
They could lose their job.
Forgetting these important personal possibilities means that a crucial part of the buying process is missed. Making the package less effective.
The writer must address these two different personas of the business buyer in their lead generation.
To acknowledge the person and to meet the business requirements.
So how do you do that?
How to Delight and Inform
Well, for starters. The tone should be conversational. Always.
The technical things that need to be present can be present. But the reader needs to be able to hear the voice in their head as they read.
Some additional considerations are:
- Longer pieces need to be broken up by sub headings and lists. This makes a document easy to scan.
- Sentences are short, concise.
- The item should be educational. Informative. Demonstrating at a minimum, respect for the readers’ valuable time.
- And it should not be for selling. This is to help with the buyer’s decision. A lead generation tool.
- Visually the document will benefit from lots of white space.
- Visual aids like pictures or videos can be used if useful rather than distracting. These can help the reader to remember the content better for longer.
- Arguments need to be well presented and effectively made.
- Evidence needs to support the claims with references.
- The marketing document needs to be targeted to different buyers in the equation. Not just the stakeholders but those that will be impacted by the decision.
It’s a GOAL!
Each document also needs to have one goal. ONE. Not extra links and various distractions.
One single solitary goal.
To generate a lead. Or to keep the lead warm. Or to bring the lead closer to the decision to buy.
Multiple goals make a marketing piece confusing. Especially for the time and attention starved executive or manager.
For the B2B writer, the goal is the lead. To develop and advance the lead on behalf of the seller the writer needs:
- To make a compelling argument and to the buyer and support that position with facts and logic.
- To inform the buyer on behalf of the seller acting as the translator of the important message.
- To address any potential objections and questions.
- To help the buyer make the most informed decision possible.
- To do so without selling per say. But rather to help them learn something new and valuable.
- To give something of value that the buyer can understand and feel is relevant to them professionally. And personally.
Trust Makes Bank
Through your B2B communication your prospect will learn about your offering, its benefits and features.
These benefits and features will be directly relevant to what they need both professionally and personally.
After all, they are people hoping to make the right purchase to enhance their business performance and profitability while improving their own personal well being.
The more informative and useful the documents are due to their relevance and clarity, the more your future clients will trust you.
And trust means you are more likely to get a sale. And a referral.
So while everyone is a seller, and no one likes to be sold, there is always the process of relationship building. Trust. Lead generation.
A process bringing two parties to a mutually beneficial outcome.