Rookie Success

As she was telling me about her new business, her eyes lit up. She had seen an early success gaining a large client and it had propelled her forward with enthusiasm, proving to her that the business world was exciting and success possible.

But as she’s built up her experience, knowledge, and skills it seems that business itself is getting harder.

It’s like, the more she knows about marketing and sales, the more difficult it becomes.

And she has not had another client like that first one in the 18 months since.

Can you relate? I certainly can. Sometimes it seems like our experience and increasing competence can actually hold us back.

So what is this about?

I attribute the “Rookie Effect” to the way we learn and act.

Once we have gained experience in any one direction, it becomes easier to do things that way again and again. In this way our minds learn to think of that as being the most valuable path. Even if it’s not. Even if there are others we haven’t even tried.

Before we have experience, when we are still rookies, all the options seem possible. We decide on the way forward using the data available to us and what seems most appealing. With a healthy helping of “gut instinct” thrown in.

As a rookie, we know that we don’t know. We are actively seeking, looking and learning.

Innovation requires that we regularly re-evaluate the best options, to make sure they still are the best. Put yourself in a rookie’s shoes again.

Last touch gets the glory

Recently, while I signed up for a relatively pricey software package, the sales person insisted that I sign up with an email address I hadn’t used before when dealing with them.

It seemed like a funny request, but I gave him one of my nickname emails and went ahead with the purchase.

It wasn’t until afterward that I realised the truth about why he had asked this.

By using a unique email, he was able to claim the referral fee for my sale – rather than have it count to one of the previous salespeople I’d dealt with in my winding journey of demonstrations and questions before getting to this point.

It didn’t annoy me, rather I found it a little amusing.

But it made me think about something we don’t talk about much with statistics online: we’re not very good at tracking the pathway that leads to a sale.

Our Google Analytics referral tracking only show us the place a visitor has been to immediately prior to clicking through to our page. It doesn’t show what history they’ve had with us before, or how often they interact, or whether they’re a current client, or social media follower, or not.

This can distort our understanding of what is working for us, as the action immediately prior to someone hitting our website and getting in touch, is the one most prominently shown to us in the stats.

Earlier steps in a campaign, if they are tracked at all, are often aggregated statistically.

How can we stop the last touch getting all the glory?

The answer is two-fold.

Yes, there is software that helps. CRM and marketing automation software like Infusionsoft can help you track individual people who respond to your messages in different places.

But a better way to understand your audience is through getting to know them personally.

If you talk with enough members of your audience, often enough, you’ll hear them tell you about what they do and why they are seeing you.

Pay attention to who interacts with you in different places, and find the similarities. Watch how they talk and what they are looking for.

Above all, ask. Then listen for the story of the entire journey.


How to create a sense of “Reveal”

Reality TV is ripe with programs that build a story around their characters as the season progresses.

Whether it’s home renovators, singers or amateur chefs, these shows all have two things in common when telling a story that keeps us watching.

Firstly, they set up tension between characters as they put people into unlikely scenarios of competition or team companionship. Stakes are high and pressure is on, and this provides drama that keeps the audience entertained.

Emotion is powerful.

I’m not suggesting you have a cook-off with your competitors. But you can show that you fight for a worthy cause, report progress, and build a team of people that believe in a common vision.

Creating drama in your brand story is a powerful way of connecting with your audience.

The second thing reality tv does is build a sense of “Reveal”.

The nights that get the highest viewer numbers, and are by far the most intense to watch, are the nights where we finally see the results of the previous episodes.

The story unfolds, the relationships simmer. The suspense is undeniably drawn out, with commentary and adverts – until, finally, the new room, or the last challenge, or the best meal, is finally revealed.

Why is this so compelling?

And, importantly, how can we create the same experience for our clients?

If you run events, then a “launch sequence” is a contrived way of building suspense and revealing your offer.

This works as a tactic, but I’m talking about something deeper and more important than that.

How can you make your clients yearn to hear more from you, to find the final piece of the puzzle, to hear the end of the story?

Create a story arc with your brand messages. Tell people where you have come from. Show them the results they will achieve. Guide them through the terrain they’ll see on their journey.

Use real humans as examples, complete with names and faces and experiences.

Your brand story can be as large or small as you need, and the more you think of it as a “story”, the more compelling you will be able to make it.

And you, and your clients, will live happily ever after.

Concierge Sales

Concierge sales

Picture this: it’s my wedding anniversary, and my wife and I are at a nice restaurant. We had the oysters as an entree and a superb main course. A good bottle of red between us.

It’s warm, the conversation is flowing, and we’re enjoying the experience (the kids are with a capable babysitter).

A waiter comes to offer us the dessert menu and some more drink options.

We want to stay for as long as we can, so end up with something decadently chocolate and a couple of cocktails. And then coffee after that.

That waiter – the waiter who gave us the opportunity to extend our experience – that waiter.

He’s doing sales.

But I love him more than any “salesperson” I’ve ever met.

Think about it.

He’s offering us products, and we buy them. And we love him for it.

So why is it that so many people are afraid of sales?

If a client has a good experience with you, and if you’re giving them a service that they need and value, then buying from you should be a similar experience as with my waiter friend. It should be something they want to do.

An important part of your client’s journey is her experience of you before she actually meets you. Your marketing, your social media persona, the gossip she hears about you from your other clients.

This experience primes her to like and trust you.

Then when you talk or meet in person, this feeling must be reinforced and authenticated – she needs to be confident her trust is well-placed. When she experiences your services and their benefits, the value she receives must be tangible.

Aim to line up all these steps along the path, and your client will be happy to engage you, and pay for it. The sales conversation changes totally, from needing to convince a client, to being their concierge and simply showing them what is on offer.

In fact, just like a waiter at the end of a great meal, it would actually be bad service not to offer her more.