Over the years I have learned that it is best to cast a line where the fish are biting. Since a large part of my job as a search engine marketing professional is business development, it is important to know who the buyers are. Out of all of the blogs I read that are written by search engine marketers on their quest to achieve digital dominance for their clients, none of them talk about sales. Let’s face it, we are kind of an industry of hipsters, which reminds of a joke: Q: How many search engine marketing specialists does it take to screw in a light bulb??? A: It’s a really obscure number; you’ve probably never heard of it… Hey, I thought it was funny! But the truth is this: We might think we are cooler than anyone in the room, but we ignore the obvious – how do we grow our business?
I see the search engine marketing sales effort as being broken down into four buckets:
- Self Educating
- What is the product?
- Why are you selling it?
- Do you believe in the product or service?
- Do you actually know what it is you are selling? (Dream Vs. Reality)
- Networking (Here are my favorite networking and educational groups)
- Staying Involved
- Don’t love them and leave them!
- Maintain and nurture the relationship.
- Be Honest. They are smarter than you think they are.
- Be OK with the occasional 8:00pm phone call.
- Be OK with the regular 11:00pm email or text.
- Be a problem solver.
- Be nice.
- You are only as good as your last business deal and your reputation depends on it so be pleasant! (Most Importantly)
The best way I have learned to watch the line fall into a bountiful stream is volunteering and being there when the fish bite. Most sales do not occur quickly in our industry. The ones that last are driven by the relationship created prior to the engagement. I ask the question to all business development representatives in digital marketing… Why not let the sales cycle be a little longer? Why beat prospects over the head?
Get out of the office! While I am all for email marketing and have seen its effectiveness over and over again, I really don’t want to get another email today from a content agency or a WordPress plug in developer. I’d rather spend the time it takes to clear out the inbox and attend a Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce business networking luncheon or a SEMPO Atlanta event. I really enjoy the TAG and AMA events as well. I’ve served and do serve on a few boards and a leadership council in technology marketing groups and find it interesting to step away from marketing and advertising from time to time. This is when the lead generation begins.
Enjoy the soft sell when you can. Relationships go a long way. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in or in which community you reside; there are tons of great opportunities for business networking and in turn, sales. Be nice to your neighbor and make sure your team delivers great customer service. Everything will be alright…and you will still be cool.