My last post introduced the idea of the first, first impression. This is the idea that your prospects are forming an opinion of you and your company before ever calling or contacting you. The companies that make the first, first impression a good one stand a much higher chance of earning the business.
One point about the above statement, not only do prospects review companies but they will check up on executives, sales people, and other employees of the company to see what type of digital footprint and impression they are leaving. If your LinkedIn profile stinks and you are cold calling people do not be shocked if you never get a call back. People absolutely do check on you before returning calls - that is assuming you were interesting enough to look into.
Buyers use online searches, directories, and social media to understand the vendors and partners they are considering as much as you do when you are prospecting (at least I hope you do). If all these buying prospects find is self promotional sales material instead of the helpful education and value they seek then guess what? They leave and you never even get the call. Leave a bad first online impression and they will most likely move on to the next guy that does 'get it' from thier perspective.
People expect to be able to Google something and get an answer. Buyers expect answers and good ones, quickly. If you are not answering the questions they are asking online then you are not even getting a chance to make any impression much the first one.
Buyers expect you to give them insight on the problem and not just the information about the product. This is a sea change for most salespeople and it shows how much more important marketing is getting in the overall buying cycle. If marketing using SEO and other online tools cannot get in front of the prospect first online then sales may never get a shot.
Marketing is becoming more about publishing proof, evidence, and insight than it is about prospecting, promising, and telling. This is the emergence of inbound marketing and the power you have when you make the first, first impression.
So, if you make the first, first impression one that educates the prospective buyer, shows that you understand their situation and how you can help, and show some digital chops then you have made a first, first impression you have a great head start and chance to earn the customer.