In the ad agency business, no one is going to hire you just because you pick up the phone and ask them to. (If there is someone like that, send me your number and I’ll give you a call.) Same holds true for most every other product, category and industry too. People today want to buy, not be sold to.
The Typical Buying Cycle
I got to thinking about this the other day as I was going through my daily routine of reviewing prospects, planning content distribution and looking at website activity. I thought about the typical buying cycle and how long it takes many times before you actually make a sale. It truly is sometimes years.
I thought about how people look for and find agencies. In some cases, it’s just like buying a treadmill. Maybe you’ve been thinking about getting one for a while so you start a file of ads or magazine articles. You google treadmills, look through the hundreds of models, read the ratings and reviews and talk with the friends you know who own (or used to own) one. All of this is done before you ever talk to a salesperson. So in our business, a potential buyer goes through the same process as buying a treadmill (unless they retain an agency search firm to guide them.)
Leveraging Your Online Presence
What this means then is that your online presence better be good. It better represent you in a clear manner and accurately reflect who you are. It better have great content that someone can digest to help them narrow down the playing field and keep you on it. It better communicate exactly what you do and how you do it so they’ll know if you meet their needs or if you’re a good fit culturally.
And again, this all happens before they ever talk to a salesman, because they’ve used your “silent salesman,” your online presence, to get to this point. It better be good and if it is, maybe you get a shot.
Get your online presence in line now; every bit of it from your website to your social media outposts to your profiles. Then keep them there and make them better and better. You can never stop.
The buyer doesn’t want you to sell them. They want you to sell to them so they can buy on their terms, on their time. They’re going to go through a big part of the buying cycle without you there at their side. Make a good showing with your online presence, then be ready to close the deal. When the buyer gets to you, most likely they’ll be ready, and they may know more about whatever they’re buying than you do.