Earn Permission to Sell by Serving

Marketers may solicit permission with the best of intentions.

But then the math (or CFO) kicks in, and permission granted just becomes an excuse to suck as many sales as you can out of each customer and as quickly as possible.

It’s like depositing a small amount of “permission” in the bank and then spending it all at once.

Trouble is, once you’ve done that, the permission is gone. The account’s overdrawn.

So here’s a way to protect the permission you’ve received.

Don’t view it as permission to sell.

Treat it as permission to serve.

There’s a significant difference here. Permission to sell says, “Here, buy this.” Permission to serve says, “Hey, what else can we do for you?”

How can this be achieved?

Well, technically it’s not so hard. Think about the tools and systems that many sites now use to upsell and cross-sell at their sites. And the tools they use to generate outbound marketing emails.

Now think of the tools these same sites use for customer service and support.

They’re often the same.

Software and service providers like Primus, Kana and Annuncio come to mind.

These folks, and several others, integrate customer relationship management software tools that handle both inbound customer support and outbound email and site marketing.

You may want to visit www.accelerating.com to check out some of the many vendors in this space.

In short, if “permission” to you means “permission to serve,” the tools are available to implement that vision.

You just build out from the support side of the mix, not from the marketing side.

The tougher sell, to yourself even, may be the idea of changing the concept of “permission marketing” to “permission to serve.”

But if you can make that switch, there are some great benefits to be had.

Each time you sell with permission, you may end up spending a small part of that permission.

But each time you serve with permission, you’ll likely add to the level of permission achieved.

Spend it. Or grow it.

How do you actually sell stuff if you’re so focused on service? It’s just a matter of how you look at things.

For instance, let’s say I just sold you a printer from nicksPrinters.com.

With your permission, I could send you an email saying,

“Buy a double-pack of toner right now and save 40 percent!”

That’s a regular, permission-based sales pitch.

Or I could send an email saying,

“We can auto-ship you toner, with free shipping, at any time interval that suits you. Set your preferences in the form below and click Send.”

The first version said, in effect, “Buy now when it suits us and we’ll give you a discount.” The second version says, “Let us know what suits you best and we’ll make it happen.”

Same outcome, different approach.

Sell by pushing. Or sell by serving.

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