And she said, "YES!"

If someone walked up to you on the street, got on one knee and proposed, would you say 'yes'?

NO!

'But, I'm good looking', says the suitor.

NO!

'I'm great at chess, run 3 start-ups and wear only Armani!'

NO!

'But I love dogs'

'Okay, I'm calling the cops.'

Why wasn't that interaction successful? Was it because the proposer wasn't a good fit? Because it was a street and people were looking? Because the ring wasn't good enough? Because the person wasn't looking to get married?

All of the above might be true, but the reason that proposal failed is because the person being asked is thinking: 'I DON'T EVEN KNOW YOU!'

So we all agree that wasn't a great way to find a partner. Then why do brands think that's a great way to find customers? Brands interrupt total strangers on their Instagram feed and expect them to say YES right away. And the user is goes - "I don't even know you!" and continues scrolling.

Now it's possible that the two people that met on the street might actually have made a good couple. They could have met at a party, had a great conversation, exchanged numbers, gotten to know each other over time, begun dating and the one day while they stood on the street -  the one knee, the proposal and ring comes out. And the answer could have been YES!

It's also possible that the user that you are bombarding with your 'BUY ME, I'M AWESOME!' ads might actually really like your brand and enjoy buying your products.

But the answer with the going the first route is mostly NO!

I don't know you, how can I buy from you!?

I don't know you, how can I marry you!?

So how do you go from being a stranger to getting your customer to say, "Yes!?" Let's dive in!

But before we start, you need to know who you are trying to reach. If you are that brand getting on your knee to everyone on that street, odds are your yesses are going to be scarce. You've got to have a TYPE! And this is assuming you know your type. If you don't, head over to our blog on segments and personas to understand how to find your type. Also, if you do know your type and don't know how to reach your type, then head to our blog on reaching your customers.

Now for those of you who know your type and know how to reach your type, let's get started.

Step 1: Get their attention

If you are reaching your audience digitally, you are either going to them on their social media feeds or they are finding you on social or search. Either ways, you need to catch their attention. And it all boils down to what you say to them. You have anywhere between 3 - 5 seconds to grab their attention and you've got to make it count.

Here is a thumb-rule to do that. No matter what medium you are using, be it video, blog, infographic, photo, paper etc. you need to communicate these 3 things in this order.

  1. Make know you understand what they need: This could be a pain point they have, a need they need met or a desire they would like to see fulfilled. But before you sell anything, you need to get their attention by showing them you understand them.
  2. Tell them you have a solution for them: Your solution has to be inline with the need you are addressing.
  3. Show them what success looks like: You want to give your audience an idea of what having that point point addressed would feel like.

Here's an example:

Pain-point: I know you care about animals. We have a strict policy against animal testing so that you can use all your favourite products guilt-free.

Basically you are first saying to that person you like: I know you love puppies. I've found this amazing dog shelter that I'd like to take you to that would totally make your day.

Step 2: Take a walk before you go jogging

Most brands are so busy trying to convince their users to take the big leap with them. But how about a step first. Just ONE step. Before you invite them to go jogging, rock climbing and salsa, how about getting them to take a single step with you.

Ask yourself the question, why would my customer NOT go on a walk with me? What are his/her barriers? And based on the answers, create one small step the user can take towards you.

Maybe they don't know enough about you, so get them to watch a video explaining who you are.

Maybe they don't trust you, so get them to see testimonials of other people who like you.

Maybe they aren't excited about you, so show them how you are about the change their lives.

Figure out that one step that your user can take towards you and get them to take that single step.

What you are doing is getting that person to go to the dog shelter with you before you ask them out on a date.

Step 3: Date before you propose

Take it easy. Let your customer take their time getting to know you. Don't get jumpy and push them to buy. They still need time to build trust with you.

Once they have taken their first step with you, you've got to nurture the person. Make them feel you care about them. Add value to their lives. Talk to them. You can do this using a whole bunch of tools and methods but the easiest example is email marketing.

Email marketing is a great way to date your customer. Welcome them with a warm email when they come in, constantly add value to their lives by giving them valuable information, resources and even gifts that will make their lives easier. Talk to them using polls, surveys, office hours, webinars and free consultations. Tell them more about you, how you are great at what you do and why you can be trusted.

The dog shelter could lead to ice cream, walks on the beach, flowers and chocolates and a whole bunch of hanging out. Take your time.

Step 4: Pop the question

The key to getting your prospect to say yes to your offering is knowing when to sell. Sales is all about timing. It's about knowing your customer and how they have been responding to your brand and exactly when they might be willing to buy from you.

Marketing automation is a great way to track how your customers are relating to your brand. With effective marketing automation, you can see how many emails your customer has opened your emails, visits your website, followed, liked or commented on your social media handles, read a blog, etc etc.. You can set-up sales emails, chat or push notifications to users you feel are ready to buy from you.

When you know, you know.

To sum up, the answer doesn't necessarily have to be NO. So if you are getting a lot of NOs with your marketing efforts, it might not be because your product or service isn't great. It just might be how you are approaching your customers.

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