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Have a Conversation

Are you talking and listening to your customer or are you shouting “buy my product!” and wondering why they are ignoring you.  Try a conversation.  You may be surprised what you hear.  Listening to the voice of the customer will lead to higher engagement and more sales.

Engage your Customer

Engage your Customer

What is a conversation?  The dictionary defines it as informal interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words; oral communication between persons.  The key thought is communication between persons.

How often have you received an email, video, or a phone call and felt that you are being shouted at.  It is like someone stood up in a restaurant and started talking to everyone there through a megaphone.  “Hey everyone you need this, I’m here to sell it to you, and if you buy it before tomorrow you can get it for 10% off.”  That’s not a conversation.  That’s shouting!  What do you do?  9 out of 10 times you ignore the message even if you need the product.  We don’t like being shouted at.   We want to be listened to.

One of Stephen Covey’s 7 habits is to Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.  According to Covey we need to listen and understand a person’s individual situation before we offer a solution.  We need to have a real conversation with them.  We need to listen.  We need to let them know we are listening and prove it.  Only then will they listen to what we have to say.

Matt Zilli, a senior product marketing manager at Marketo says we need to have conversations not campaigns.  Zilli says we need to be trustworthy in our one on one communication.  For example only send email communications to individuals that have explicitly asked to be communicated with.  We need to be relevant.  Don’t blast your audience with general messages not targeted to them.  He suggest uses behaviors they have exhibited to target relevant messages.  For example if someone has visited a particular page on your website you may want to follow up with an email listing other articles or pages they may want to visit.  We need to prove to the customer we are listening and send them information we think they will find valuable and relevant.  We need to be inviting.  Some intros he suggests for prospects at various parts of the sales funnel are:

  • Welcome, here is what to expect
  • Check out this article
  • Here is what others like
  • Here is a cool video
  • See our latest offering
  • Happy Birthday
  • See what others like you have purchased
  • What can we do to help you

Trigger (emails sent to an individual after they have taken a particular action) and drip (email sent to an individual a certain amount of time after they have performed the triggering event) tactics can help promote engagement.  Marketing automation (available from a number of different vendors including Marketo) is helping take a lot of the complexity out of the process.

Measure what is working.

Track and score what individuals are doing.  Inform sales when targeted individuals are ready to buy or ready for human intervention.  In most cases pass a lead to sales just because they visited your website or watched a video.  You’ll chase them away.  Finally measure the ROI of what you are doing.  Improve on what is working.  Change what is not. If every time the CFO gave you $1.00 you gave her $2.00 back how many dollars would she give you?  How difficult would it be to fund your next project?

In summary

  1. Plan your content strategically – make sure it is relevant to your target customer
  2. Listen to your customer
  3. Have a real conversation.  It may not go the way you expect.
  4. Listen and pivot when necessary
  5. Measure, measure, measure
  6. Never stop experimenting and making your process better
  7. Have fun!

Is this helpful?  Let me know what you think.

Until next time – all the best!


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