7 Things You Need To Know About Prospects - InformationWeek
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8/16/2010
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Michele Warren
Michele Warren
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7 Things You Need To Know About Prospects

If you're a business owner, you probably know by now that selling your product or service requires more than giving prospective customers a laundry list of features. These folks want the nitty-gritty: They want to know how your product is going to make their lives easier, how it will make them more likable (i.e., more popular), how it will make them more productive and happier.

If you're a business owner, you probably know by now that selling your product or service requires more than giving prospective customers a laundry list of features. These folks want the nitty-gritty: They want to know how your product is going to make their lives easier, how it will make them more likable (i.e., more popular), how it will make them more productive and happier.Notice the use of several "touchy-feely" words. You know what I'm getting at, right? OK, I'll say it outright. Emotions. People want to use products and services that make them feel good, and that's the bottom line.

Not so sure how to pull on a prospect's heartstrings? Never fear. Clate Mask, co-founder of Infusionsoft, offers small businesses some tips about "emotion selling"--focusing on the benefits of a product or service, instead of the features, when making a sale. "In order to sell to your prospect's emotions, you should know something about them," he writes. "[Here are] seven things you absolutely MUST know about your prospects."

1. Age. Everything you say and write, including slang, allusions, word difficulty, and topics, should be adjusted to take your prospect's age into account.

2. Gender. Despite the dual roles men and women tend to fill, most individuals can be segmented (and sold to) based on gender-specific interests or needs.

3. Location. Values and culture tend to vary based on demographics. Having a clear understanding of regional differences will improve your targeted messages.

4. Education level. This should help determine how you address your prospects and what benefits they'll derive from your product or service.

5. Income. Needs and wants vary from one social class to another. These differences should serve as a guide to the types of products and services you sell.

6. Marital status. Simply put, marketing family messages to single people (and vice versa) can lose the deal for you.

7. What keeps them up at night. This is the most important one. You've got to know your prospect's fears, worries, concerns, excitements, hopes, and dreams. When you know the conversation inside your prospect's head, you can enter it, speak to it, and build a relationship.

In June, Mask and his Infusionsoft co-founder, Scott Martineau, made a big splash in the book world when they released "Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a Small Business Without Going Crazy." In it, the authors offer strategies for getting organized, achieving a work-life balance, and cultivating "realistic optimism."

Their company tries to help small businesses do just that with its Email Marketing 2.0 solution, which combines multi-modal marketing (e-mail, voice mail, faxes, and direct mail) with CRM and wraps it in an automation engine so that users don't have to keep tabs on every one of their contacts. The software was designed to help small businesses-ideally, those with 1 to 25 employees--get organized, convert more leads, and automate some of their sales and marketing tasks.

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