Episode 3: Take my money please!

One of the things that I look for on a daily basis when I interact with other businesses is how they run their sales process and how it makes me feel as a customer .  I had an interesting experience this summer that really highlights the need for a “Connecting the Dots” approach to your sales process.

I really enjoy networking on Twitter and often times when I am away on vacation, in my down time, I will strike up a conversation with someone on Twitter.  This summer I had listened to an interview with a Facebook advertising guru and I thought they had done a bang up job with the interview.  They had gone out of their way to give real, practical, and useful advice that one could actually implement immediately without the need to purchase their services.  I always respect that in a professional so I reached out to them on Twitter and ended up having a fabulous Twitter conversation.  We talked about the interview and I indicated that I could see a need for their services down the road.  They commented that based on our conversation they could tell that I would be a great client one day.

As we got further into the conversation I started thinking about some immediate application for their services and tweeted to them “Actually I can see an immediate need for your service.  Can you tweet me on Aug. 27 when I am back from vacation”.  The response I receive floored me.  They directed me to their online lead capture page and asked me to input my email address on the form there.  Again, I was a little taken aback.  When someone says to me “Call me on such and such a day because I want to buy what you have to sell” I am certainly not going to make them enter my drip campaign so I can ‘set it and forget it’.  I thought I would give them the benefit of the doubt and went and filled out the online form.  I even included my Twitter handle in my name so they could identify me.  I had hoped that they would cross reference this with the request for follow up on August 27.  Well it is well into September now and while I am receiving some ‘valuable’ free information via their newsletter, I most certainly did not receive a follow up anything.

I find it fascinating that these lead generation gurus seem so intent on ‘building their lists’ that they appear to forget how to serve the customer once they actually want to buy.  While I am a huge believer in process and having a clearly defined sales process, you cannot expect your customer to bend to your way of doing things.  It seems to me that we all want to think ourselves so valuable that our clients will beat down our doors to work with us.  I worry that this has become an ego thing and that perhaps we have lost sight of what truly matters here.  The customer.  While I understand there is some merit to building scarcity around what you sell, at the same token you need to deliver when you have a serious buyer.  There is no point in spending money building a list and capturing leads if you refuse to convert them when they put up their hand and say “I want to buy from you”.  Qualifying your prospect is important so that you do not waste time, however it is equally important to meet that qualified prospect where they are in the buying cycle.  If I have done my research and decided you are a strong candidate to complete the work I need I don’t want to read your latest white paper.  Please don`t make me join your list.

I see it time and time again.  Experts who make me resubscribe to their list to view their latest `Free content”.  If you are emailing me then you already have my contact info.  Why make me go to your lead form and fill it in all over again?  I seriously do not get it.

As mortgage brokers it is important to make sure that we work with our clients to ensure that we do our best to meet them where they are at in their purchase decision.  Ask questions to find out where they are in the process.  If they have already researched and decided that a mortgage broker is the best option don’t spend hours trying to “sell” them on the merits of a broker.  Instead point out why you are the best broker for them to choose.  Conversely, if they are new to the concept of a mortgage broker you may want to spend some time bringing them up to speed on the value of working with a broker vs. their regular bank.

Am I the only one who sees the folly in this?  Surely there must be an “Expert” out there that will concur with me.  I can assure you that if you contact me and want to hire me as a speaker, trainer or private coach I will respond directly and not make you go to my website to fill in my lead capture form.  I think there is a real opportunity for us “Experts” to step up and stop talking about “value” while forcing our audience into our “funnel”.  Let’s try simply providing the value and being ready when our customers need us.

In any event start paying attention to how your suppliers treat you and how it makes you feel.  Are there lessons that can be learned that you can implement in your own business?  Share with me your experiences in the comments section below.

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