Let’s have a conversation about, ummm, conversations.
OK not the best start I admit, but here’s the thing; conversations are fantastic and I love a good chat, don’t you?
Seriously though, a great conversation is thrilling, enthralling, and engaging.
What’s more is that when you have a fantastic conversation in business, you can seal deals, forge future partnerships, and achieve amazing successes.
Conversations shouldn’t be the final step
Here’s the thing, conversations shouldn’t be the final step in your marketing and sales funnels.
They should be right near the beginning of them.
Conversations build trust, personality, and act as both a great nurturing tool and a great “list cleanser”.
With a single conversation, you will find out if you want to work with that person, if you want their business, if you can upsell or cross sell, or even just if they are wonderful to talk to.
The point of all this is to emphasise the need for actual conversations in your marketing.
In fact, you should facilitate conversations between you and LOTS of other people.
Note I say people, not customers or clients. You want to write to them as people always. Because as soon as you write to them as customers they will smell the sales pitch a mile off and make your work a lot harder.
This doesn’t mean you can’t pitch to them, of course you can and should, but you need to develop a rapport first.
Cast your mind back! First there was talking, then there was letter writing, then there was telegrams, then telephones, then radio, then mobile phones, then text messages, then emails, then video calls, then live IM chats.
All of these are your conversation proxies (bar the first one, of course you would talk to people face to face normally). These are all the technologies and processes that allow you to have effective conversations.
Using any of these can have a fantastically substantial impact on your marketing. But there’s one catch in today’s modern world; saturation.
There are so many people talking all at once. So many channels and methods and ways of communicating and alongside the expectation of a speedy response expectations rise.
Having a phone conversation or an email conversation or a WhatsApp conversation is all well and good but not everyone has that kind of time to handle that many conversations at once. Especially if you’re a small or medium-sized business that can’t afford a 24/7 plugged in team of customer service extraordinaires.
That’s where conversation proxies come into play. Email marketing is one of the great conversation proxies that you can use. There are now a bountiful amount of tools and software that can allow you to streamline and organise your conversations effectively without needing to resort to staying alert 24/7 to answer all queries.
How to have conversations and influence people
We’ve emphasised the importance of personal branding here before but I want to bang that same drum again – be personal!
Much like life, you are not going to have scintillating conversations with everyone you meet.
Some people will be direct, others will be duller than ditchwater, and a select few you will really get on with.
No matter what happens though, keep talking to them (as best you can).
You’re going to want to build relationships and form partnerships.
So how do you do that?
Practice the art of good communication, i.e. ask meaningful questions and listen carefully to the answers.
Over and Out
Conversations (aka conversational marketing) are incredibly important and for most businesses a vital life blood of marketing and sales and customer service.
Being able to foster and nurture communications in bulk, whilst maintaining the personal touch of 1-to-1, is an art form but one well worth investing your time and effort into perfecting.
If the people get to know you then they will more likely buy from you, advocate for you, buy from you again, and just generally be amazing customers.