The biggest hurdle between you and your plans for growth is this: nobody knows you. This is true if you’re a freelancer, an employee, an executive, even a company founder. You may be going all out with your company brand, but you’ve neglected to hone your own. The first thing your business needs to grow… is you.Michael Humblet on the back cover of Nobody knows you
Michael Humblet is an experienced sales manager turned thought leader of sales methodology. He believes in empowering and providing value to the customer before he even shows any signs of wanting to buy from you. Customer delight first. This matches Theda’s philosophy of Humane AI: measure and aim to maximize customer delight and all other results will follow.
Michael wrote a very hands-on book about the new sales and how to do this.
Here are the 10 lessons I take away from his book.
LESSON 1. At any given time, only 2% of your prospects is looking to buy.
As Michael says it: “You are swimming a sea of rejection.” And still you do not want to drown of course. You want to emerge victorious. To do that however you will need to answer two questions:
- How do you get more sales opportunities in the pipeline?
- How do you make deals go faster through that pipeline?
Humblet’s solution? Listen to the problems your customer has AND DON’T TRY TO SELL ANYTHING.
First, figure out in which stage your customer is in the Customer Buying Journey. You can only start SELLING once your customer is aware of the problem, has done his research and is ready to look for the solution.
Good luck cold calling 100 people without losing hope. With Theda we are in an even worse situation.
We apply Humane AI to optimize customer and employee delight (instead of internal processes) which drives business performance forward.
An approach most businesses are not even aware of.
That is why we are very good in not selling. We do not even try. We prefer to avoid the awkward phone calls.
And still, here we are.
LESSON 2. It’s not about you. It’s about the problem your customer has. You want to be the Sledge Hammer.
The first hurdle towards growing your business is getting past yourself. The first ‘no’ to negotiate is your own ego.
Talk about the problems your audience is facing and they will listen. Nobody cares about your sales pitch. Have a real conversation, just like you are having one with actual people, because you are. Imagine you are waiting for a drink at a bar and somebody stands next to you. What would you say to kill the time? That conversation is the conversation you should be having in your marketing communication.
Don’t be shy. It’s too late to be shy. You are entering the arena of thought leadership.
Make it about them, go from WHY YOU to WHY NOW. If you have done everything right, you don’t have to explain the WHY, just make them trust you and then underline the urgency of the execution.
LESSON 3. A roadmap to success : Inspire, Educate, Experience, Deliver
Once you found out what the problem is and where your prospect is in the Customer Buyer Journey, you can start providing value.
First understand who your audience is and what makes them tick so you know where to point at in your storytelling and content. Talk about your vision, the industry and the practical things.
Teach customers exactly how you do it. They might do it themselves, true. But they will also know you are the one who can definitely do it if they want to save themselves the time and trouble.
Free content adds maximum value and leads to maximum referral and distribution of the content.
Throughout the journey, make the experience top notch. From a good UX to deliver the training up the quality of the paper when delivering physical mini books.
Add structure. Explain the solution to the problem you are going to fix in a simple way. Break it up if that makes it easier.
Answer the question: “how you do this” upfront. This saves you MASSIVE time in the process and creates piece of mind for the buyer.
Add social proof. This is how we did it for X. Logo’s offer instant credibility and trust. If you can’t share other projects, make sure you have a way to transfer your knowledge efficiently to build that trust.
Get in touch for some Inspiration on how to use Humane AI in your business.
LESSON 4. Be patient. On average It takes 5 to 8 touch points before closing a deal.
A full cycle easily takes 3-6 months with different types of content spread across different channels.
About that comment I made in Lesson 3?
Ok, too soon.
Let’s keep in touch.
LESSON 5: move your prospects up in the Value Ladder
You need a plan to move people forward in their Value Journey.
The Value ladder has two axes: value (the 3 steps in the Value Journey) and willingness to buy. When a prospect interacts with you, you will be able to plot her anytime on the axis. Always give her the choice of what she wants, more inspiration or education or delivery and then tailor your information based on her needs.
If you only have one button: ‘book a meeting’, you are neglecting that sometimes people want different things. Add a ‘watch now’ or ‘download a free e-book’ to leave the prospect the choice of where she is in the ladder. Don’t forget the Call To Action at the end of a presentation: get in touch OR check out the website does miracles in terms of conversion rates.
Cool, we are in the stage of doing Surveys to measure customer delight and identifying the Tipping Points in customer behaviour:
why does your customer love you (not)?
LESSON 6 : People buy from People. Be the one people TRUST and want to buy from.
People can buy what you offer anywhere they want. They will choose for you because they trust you. If you are the expert, you must build a brand of yourself by sharing your knowledge. When the time comes that customers are looking to buy, they will find you.
When you post something under your name, interactions will be much higher than when a company posts an article about what they have been doing.
It’s great to be a human.
Let’s connect on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maartenforsure/
LESSON 7: Nobody Knows You. Literally, nobody. You have to do something about that.
OK, maybe a handful. But unless you are a true celebrity already, that’s no way near a strong enough basis to build a business on.
Solution: you need to become the Though Leader in your sector.
Fun fact: you probably think you’re not good or charismatic or visionary enough yet. You’re wrong, you are ready to start the journey.
We came together with all the data scientists and drew straws to decide who could leave our cosy dungeon of anonymity.
I drew the short straw, that’s why I am now the one telling the world about what technology can do for good.
Good for the world though.
LESSON 8: Four stages of thought leadership. Where are you?
You’re living the action, but you are not leveraging it beyond the office.
You are on stage from time to time, do webinars, write blogs and share insights but few people really follow you. You have not felt the massive pull of thought leadership nor put in the work to achieve it.
You have a better storyline, start commenting more strategically within your domain and have a more professional presentation to share your insights.
If you are getting negative feedback of opposing opinions, it means you are doing it right.
To move forward and becoming a thought leader you will need to produce content in big batches and carefully segment your audience, giving prospects the right information at the right time. Create a website with you name on it and do professional personal branding. Offering valuable content to build a professional contact list.
Only few people get here. You are the one newspapers call when there is a question about a certain topic. You have a following and you are more famous than your company.
I’m at 2 going to 3.
Where are you?
LESSON 9 : how to act like a thought leader
The holy trinity of being a thought leader:
- BE BRAVE
have your own opinion, don’t be afraid to polarise, show your expertise
- BE UNIQUE
be different and create a unique view on the world
a higher purpose that encourages people
That all companies and organisations may use AI to empower people as their prime objective. Empowered customers and employees make good things happen. Old school AI uses old school data, which had ‘grow sales’ as prime objective and was successful up to a certain point. Using old school AI will never deliver results beyond that point. Growth beyond the level you have reached is a consequence of using AI with new targets on new data.
NPS is the wrong metric to measure customer delight because you cannot act on it. You need to measure customer delight on the level you can act on it. It’s the ONLY way.
We are an AI company without Engineers. It’s not about the technology. It’s about the customer, about the people. That’s why our team consists out of Humane Scientists
LESSON 10 : how to become a thought leader
HOW TO GET THERE
- Buy the domain name of your personal name today.
- Create content you know and love. Be authentic.
- Get on stage at least once a month.
- Produce content
Post one piece of content per week that is valuable: article, how-to video, podcast… something more than a status update.
Original content, your content.
Okay, I purchased maartenforsure.com.
I guess I need to put a landing page on there as well now.
Then there is a whole chapter about Content Formats and tips on how to create content in a scalable, structured way.
I suggest you read the book to learn more about that 😊.
Buy it here : https://nobodyknowsyou.com/