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Sep 13, 2020 Mike Midgley

How to Win Clients in a Downturn Economy with Helpful Inbound Selling

6t30_Downturn Economy Blog Header - Part 4

A Different Approach to Selling


With dark economic times on the near horizon, the role and art of selling has never been more significant.

Get it wrong and it could be game over. Get it right and you might not only survive but also buck the trend and grow.

People are becoming a little weary of traditional sales methods like cold calling, demos and the obligatory ‘buy now’ discount. All the more reason to consider a different approach - selling the inbound way.

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Introducing the Inbound Way

The inbound way is a smarter and more effective way to approach marketing, sales and client service for the fast-changing world we now live in.

It’s an approach which puts the focus on building relationships with people, giving them valuable information, careful listening, advising and adapting at each stage of the buyer’s journey. 

Solutions are only offered when the pains, challenges and goals of the prospect are fully understood. The solutions are tailored, flexible and designed to maximise outcomes for the would-be client.

If that sounds like a better way to do business, here is a brief guide on how to do inbound.

Adopt a Multi-Channel Outreach Approach Prospect Strategy

That may sound like a bit of a mouthful but it simply means this. Don’t just market one way.

Send good emails to your list. Post on relevant social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Blog on your website. Write a mini series of articles. If you’re able, attend networking and other events. Join virtual events online.

The idea is to provide valuable content for your target audience, build authority and trust, and guide people along their first steps on their buyer’s journey. Monitor your performance using inbound analytics.

Understand the Buyer’s Journey

Don’t make the mistake of putting your deep focus on your sales process. Having a clear understanding of the buyer’s journey is your real priority. 

The buyer’s journey follows three stages - Awareness, Consideration and Decision. Build your sales process around that journey, not the other way around.

Here at 6teen30 Digital we use a four-phase sales process: Identify, Connect, Explore and Advise.

Target your perfect prospective clients and create their buyer persona. You are looking to find people who are most likely to become a buyer of your products and services. Otherwise you can end up spinning endless hours of frustration on that hamster wheel.

Build out your persona for inbound marketing and sales, by answering these questions. Start by interviewing your team, existing and previous customers. Give them a name and target these prospects.

6t30 - Downturn Econoy - C3 - Buyers Persona

6t30 - Downturn Econoy - C3 - Persona Podcast

Leads and prospects will be at different stages of awareness. Your aim is to build relationships, nurture MQLs (marketing qualified leads) into opportunities. Then convert to clients.

Using a Sales Matrix

If you use a sales matrix tool it can help you make smarter sense of the opportunities. Which ones are worth pursuing. Which ones are most likely to be receptive to what you have to offer. Which ones you should drop or put on the back burner. 

The matrix matches fit level (Good Fit, Neutral, Bad Fit) with interest level (Interested, Neutral, Not Interested).

It provides a framework for you to prioritise and plan marketing, sales and customer service activity.

6t30 - Downturn Econoy - C3 - Sales Matrix

Personalise Your Outreach with Video

This is not a time to be just doing ‘the usual’ standard. Remember to mix and match your outreach efforts. Understand that the personal touch matters. A phone call with people is good, video even better.

With video, people can see your face and get a better impression of who you are and what you’re about. Video messaging and communication is easy with tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts and Vidyard.

Use the 3-Step Consult Process

If someone experiences health issues they go to their doctor. The doctor asks them what’s wrong and runs some checks or tests. The doctor makes a diagnosis. Then they prescribe the solution - take these tablets or see a specialist, for example.

And this is the 3-step process you should follow with each of your prospects. Consult. Diagnose. Prescribe. You match a solution to their problem.

This is the way the team here at 6teen30 Digital operates. We don’t do quotes. We uncover the symptoms, identify the problem and offer a personalised and flexible solution with our Plus, Pro and Premium level options.

Reduce the Risk for Buyers

Ensure you have ways to remove the risk for people. Do you have a low-level product or service you can offer? Notice how supermarkets often sell cheaper, own-brand items as well as the popular and premium brands.

For mid-level or high-price investments, offer payment plans. Let the buyer choose between paying in full or spreading the cost over three monthly payments, for example.

Make It Easy for People to Buy

Remove friction in the buying process so it is easy for people to buy.

One way to do this is by increasing the use of automation in your systems. Introduce e-signatures for instant approval of projects. Add a Stripe payment button. Simplify the online shopping cart and checkout experience for customers. Take advantage of online store platforms like Shopify.

Do you see how much more powerful this inbound approach is than the traditional outbound sales model?

6t30 - Downturn Econoy - C3 - Sales Strategist Call

Be The Trusted Advisor in Sales

Inbound steps away from heavy pitching, the big ego, the salesperson’s agenda riding roughshod over the prospect’s stage of awareness, and aggressive discounting to force a sale.

The inbound pro acts as a trusted advisor, building trust at each stage of the buyer’s journey as they listen and adapt to the prospect’s online conversations. They make contact through qualified personalise messages and adopt an exploratory style as interest increases.

With inbound, solutions are matched and personalised to what’s needed (not what you want to flog somebody for a quick sale). Solutions are offered in sales, marketing and client service so customers can attract new leads, grow their pipeline and connect with prospects who are ready to have a meaningful sales conversation.

Being in Sales Means Being in Service

And once you’ve secured clients and customers you’ll want to hang onto them. That’s where a client-first service and support approach will serve you well in these challenging times.

In summary, get your strategy in place. Use multiple channels. Focus on the buyer’s journey and align your sales process with that. Follow the Consult, Diagnose and Prescribe formula. Make it easy for people to buy.

Want to Know More About the Inbound Way?

Whilst this approach helps to maintain growth in a downturn economy, you don’t have to wait until it’s too late. Becoming an inbound organisation will serve you through it all - the bad times, the recovery times, the good times and the boom times.

To find out more about becoming an inbound organisation, access our range of free resources. Check out our blog. Listen to our podcast.

Visit our 6teen30 Digital website. Or join our free Growth Engine online community for shared support, ideas and success stories.

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Want to discover more about the inbound way?... watch our free interview on how to scale in a downturn economy.

Want to find out if inbound marketing and sales is right for you?...take our interactive quiz here.

Published by Mike Midgley September 13, 2020
Mike Midgley