Regardless of the size of your company or the industry you are in, the goal of your business is to convince people they need or want your goods or services in exchange for their money. However, if you market yourself solely with that goal as the forefront, your efforts will fall short. This happens mainly for two reasons. The first is that people don’t want to be solicited to. The second is that most people are not ready to commit right now. Even though the end goal is to make money, your marketing strategy should not focus on persuading people to choose your business. Instead you should focus your effort on consulting people to make smart and beneficial choices, and ultimately they will choose you. This change in mentality can be accomplished by putting aside the question of “what does my business want” and instead asking the question “what do people want?”

People Want To Feel in Control

Successful advertising can be thought of in the same vein as the plot to the movie Inception. A person will be motivated to act on an idea if they think they came up with the idea on their own. While they may not take the action immediately, that idea will grow into ambition, which will lead to action.  To better relate to your potential customers, think about your own purchasing habits. How often will you need to buy a new dining room set? Probably only a few times in your entire life. If someone tries to sell you a new dining set right now, you probably won’t be ready to buy.  You will likely feel uncomfortable with the hard sell, even if the price and quality seems great.  You will be convinced that the deal is too good to be true, and you are too smart to fall for it.  The persuasive strategy failed, because someone tried to take away your control by telling you what to do.  Now, let’s look at what the consultative strategy would be.

People Want a Lot for a Little

From day to day eating lunch before work and dinner afterward, you find yourself looking around your dining area. You think about redecorating the room, noticing that some of the furniture is getting worn out. During your free time you look through a search engine for “dining room sets” and visit at some websites that appear in the results.  As you scroll through one of the sites, an unobtrusive pop-up appears that offers a discount to new customers after entering their email.  The cost for this discount is only your email address, so you type it in.  You probably won’t buy now, but maybe in the future.

People Want an Expert

You start receiving mail from the site you gave your email to.  The articles are on topics like what to look for in quality furniture, how to match dining tables and wallpaper, and the best times of the year to buy. You begin to envision what the ideal furniture set would be. At some point when you feel ready to buy, who are you going to buy from? Would you go somewhere you haven’t had any experience with? Most likely, you will visit the store that has been handing you information and consultation over the months without asking for anything in return. This company has been marketing to you for a long time, but you came to the decision to buy a new dining set with your thoughts on your time. The marketing campaign has succeeded without ever telling you what to buy and when.

Reflect on Your Own Habits

How did you go from not being ready to buy to committing to a purchase?  The keys were time and exposure.  Over time, you gradually began to desire a new dining room set.  When you were ready, you looked for more information about it.  Good SEO is what got the furniture website listed in the top search engine results you looked at.  The price discount is what convinced you to provide your email address.  Informative articles are what positioned that particular distributor as the expert.  You then followed through with the purchase that you decided on.  The customers you are hoping to attract are thinking the same way that you do when you buy.  Keeping that in mind when you create your marketing today will help to build a better sales pipeline for tomorrow.