To earn our prospects’ attention and trust, we need to put them, their problems and their goals at the center of our marketing efforts.
“This is what we do. And these are the things we sell.
This is why they’re so much better than the ones our competitors sell.
We have the best people.
And we also have the best customer service.
Oh, and our quality is simply unparalleled.
You should definitely buy from us.”
This is exactly how most manufacturing organizations talk about themselves to the outside world – on their websites, in their advertising, in prospecting emails, on cold calls and during 30-second elevator rides.
And guess what?
Because here’s the truth:
People care about themselves. They care about the problems they need to solve. And the things they’re trying to accomplish.
Think about it for a second. When’s the last time someone started pitching you out of the blue? You probably half-heartedly nodded your head, eyes glazed over, thinking to yourself, “where’s the closest door?”.
So why is it that we punish the exact people we’re trying to engage by immediately blasting a megaphone in their ears, and launching into unsolicited diatribes about ourselves?
Leading with your expertise
Let me offer an alternative approach to communicating with your future customers:
Start with them (instead of you).
Picture one of your very best customers right now. What kind of organization is it? Who are the people inside those companies who were feeling a pain that you were able to address? What real-life challenges have you helped them overcome? And in what ways did you and your team consult and guide them as they chose a solution?
Now think about all the other companies out there that resemble them – likely experiencing the same problems and trying to achieve the same goals.
What if you could reach them by simply being helpful?
- By answering the common questions your sales team and engineers hear all the time in conversations.
- By comparing solutions to their common problems and explaining when one vs. the other is appropriate
- By breaking down long-term cost of ownership and ROI of different options
- By telling the success stories of other similar companies who had to deal with these same problems. And by keeping the spotlight on them (with you as their guide to the solution)
This is the marketing that your prospects actually want from you.
In fact, they’re even seeking it out.
They’ll find you in search engines when they’re asking Google questions and you’re the one supplying the answers.
They’ll trade you their names and email addresses and phone numbers for white papers and buyers guides and ROI calculators on your website because those things create value in their buying processes.
And they’ll call you when they’re ready for a conversation because you’ve been the one helping them all along the way. They’ll already trust you. And they’ll already have confidence in your expertise.
So put your customer at the center of your marketing and lead generation strategies. Teach instead of preach. Focus on what they care about. Then notice the quality of sales conversations that follow.
Joe Sullivan a Co-Founder of the industrial marketing agency Gorilla 76. In Gorilla’s Industrial Marketing Strategy Learning Center, you’ll find an ever-expanding collection of articles, videos, guides and tools to help manufacturers identify, attract, engage and drive sales with ideal-fit customers.