She had me and she knew it.
I’m sure she spotted my American naïveté as soon as she swept from the back room and laid eyes on me. She turned up her French accent, put on the sweet French grandma routine, and came at me.
I was unsuspecting as I eyed the most expensive tablecloth I have ever seen and was trying to quickly decide if I could afford to actually take it home. In just a few minutes, we were sharing secrets like we were old buddies and it made me feel like I finally had a second French friend (I have one already).
I might have walked away had it not been for her Frenchness and her great selling ability. And, my experience makes me think of four traits this woman had in her traditional selling that also work as content marketing tips (or really for any kind of marketing).
1. Know your audience. – She could tell I liked the tablecloth; I was sitting there telling her I loved France and all the French things she had. She didn’t have to work that hard to figure out I was in her target market. And the fact that I didn’t flinch (well I did inside) when she told me the price meant that she knew I could afford it if I wanted it. I just had to be persuaded that this was the tablecloth I actually needed to buy. She did an excellent job.
There are tons of tools out there now to learn more about your audience: social listening tools, upgraded analytics and CRMS, etc. It is possible to get to know your audience and what they are looking for. Sometimes they’re sitting there telling you, like I was, but sometimes you have to seek it out. It takes some time and effort but it can have big payoff in the end.
2. Share the benefits plain and clear. – When she realized she was close to selling me, this lovely French woman began to expound on the benefits of the tablecloth: how you can’t cut it with a knife like those cheap ones you buy at the store (she had her very own story about one she loved too!), how it’s easy to clean and maintain (throw it in the machine no problem!), how people in France love designs like this and this is an especially popular one (French people use them too?! Where do I sign?), and how it was the last one in this design she had (It’s destiny! I can’t let it get away).
Your customers are typically looking for a solution to their problem so explain the benefits of your product or service and how you can solve their problem. Make it easy for them and they will purchase from you when they have enough information. If you make it too hard for them to find what they are looking for, they’ll just look somewhere else.
3. Make them feel like they’re your friends, like you’ve bonded during this sales cycle and that you shared a secret. – We talked for maybe five minutes but she shared the story of how she came to America and why she worked in this shop and how an old tablecloth that she bought was poor quality, unlike the one we were looking at. We were like gossiping girls in a schoolyard sharing secrets of tablecloths and I loved it.
She shared something personal (as far as I know) and it resonated with me. I could spend money on something like this that would last. She listened and was open and I felt like I had known her for years. She became the French grandma I never had, and I felt comfortable actually going through with the purchase.
It’s about building trust with your audience and making them feel comfortable. When they feel like they know you and can trust you, they will buy from you.
4. Make them feel like they are getting a great deal. – This lady reiterated how this tablecloth was on sale at an already low price and made it seem like I was getting the deal of a lifetime. She asked me if I was a New Orleans resident (while nodding) and said that she was giving me the resident discount so there would be no tax on it. I have no idea if this is a thing but it solidified the thought that I was getting a deal. I had already decided to buy; this was just an extra bonus she gave me but it helped. I was sold.
If someone is on the fence, explain how the benefits will outweigh the cost, give them a good deal they can see or an extra discount, or something else that will reward their trust (even if they’ve already bought from you), and your customers will keep coming back. Once you’ve gotten a customer, you want to keep them so reward their trust, be easy to work with, and provide great customer service. It can go along way.by