A good B2B prospecting strategy selling high ticket offers is much more focused on outreach and personal relationship building. But you do still need a list of contacts to work from – a pipeline. So I’m opening up the discussion about the difference approaches to building a pipeline versus building a list.
Selling high ticket offers? Think the money is in the list? Think again.
The real money is in the follow up.
Without a great back end to support your pipeline efforts, you’ll wind up with a huge list of names that do little but cost you money. And nowhere is that more true than when you’re selling high ticket offers.
In this episode, I’m focusing on a B2B prospecting strategy that isn’t all about building a big list. You may be surprised!
PREFER TO LISTEN?
This continues the conversation about getting corporate clients where we left off last week where I talked about getting in front of the right people starting with working out who that is and when’s best to contact them.
Today we’re approaching B2B prospecting from a slightly different angle. When you’re selling high ticket offers into organisations, you will need a working list of people to approach, but I’m talking about building a pipeline of contacts rather than building a big email list.
There’s a subtle difference.
A lot of people latch onto the marketing advice that ‘the money’s in the list’ – the more people you have on your list, the more revenue you’re going to make. It’s a bit of a myth in many ways.
Because it really depends on who the people are who are on your list, and in the case of corporate contacts, they generally don’t roll with mass automated emails, webinars and funnels in general.
So if the money is not in the list, where is it hiding?
Well, in actual fact the real money is in the follow up. And this is great news if you’re looking for corporate clients, because you work with people within and across an organisation.
Because a good B2B prospecting strategy is much more focused on outreach and personal relationship building. But you do still need a list of contacts to work from – a pipeline.
Building A Pipeline Versus Building A List
Think about it – list building sucks. You spend time and money – and lots of it putting out really great content just to get someone to engage and then you spend loads of work crafting great emails to nurture them, creating sequences over several days, weeks, months, sometimes for years. And you think maybe maybe one day they’re ready!
In the meantime, your email provider charges you a tonne of money for having thousands of leads on your list. That’s all fine and dandy if you’re in a business where that slow burn works and it’s all profitable and doesn’t involve you in a fielding questions from low rate prospects who will probably never buy from you.
Now look, don’t get me wrong, even for B2B you need a list of people to contact.
And whether you’re using a proposal or a front-end giveaway, you will need to invest some time, energy and possibly money to identify people to approach.
If you’re doing digital marketing, between the funnel work, writing copy, setting up the infrastructure and promoting some list-building giveaway, it’s a lot of effort and isn’t really that effective in a B2B context.
But if you’re building a pipeline of highly targeted leads and you spend a little time doing your homework on the company, and sifting and sorting, those people you do contact will be more pre-qualified.
So you can focus your efforts on actually contacting the best B2B prospects at the top end of your pipeline. I still just use a simple spreadsheet for doing this. I have columns that help me rank and then sort. I’ll then send my proposal in batches of 10.
The way to make up for that is to create a solid, profitable back end and implement a consistent outreach strategy to bring in sales and contracts dependably every month.
But let’s say you are doing content marketing – you’re putting thought leadership pieces out there, on your website or on LinkedIn for instance. Or using a CRM – a customer relationship management system – to capture contacts that come in from networking or a downloadable report.
You may well gather up names and contacts that way too. And you pop them in your CRM so you’re constantly refreshing and refilling your pipeline.
What I’ve noticed, talking to my B2B business acceleration clients is this.
There’s a lot of business that gets lost down the gap between someone opting in to join your list, and you making the offer.
And that’s why I believe the money is in the follow up. Follow up is fortune!
So first off, here are some tips if you’re capturing leads on your website.
The Most Underutilised Page On Your Website
Want to know the most underutilised page on your site? It’s the confirmation page. You know, that page where new opt-ins land while they wait for your confirmation email to arrive?
And if you don’t use a double opt-in and confirmation step, then it’s the thank you page or the wraparound you have for your giveaway.
I realised I was leaving this to chance and recently re-did our main lead magnet so it provided a more personal touch and a call to action.
If your confirmation page says something like “Thanks, now go check your email” (or worse!). When you’re using double opt-in setting in your email program (like AWeber or LeadPages, that message is actually part of their default template).
And look, you’re missing a golden opportunity to take your prospect to the next step in their journey building a relationship with you.
After opting-in, before they get the very first welcome email from you, the confirmation page is potentially the first exposure your new subscriber has to you. So it pays to make it a good one and create a favourable impression.
That confirmation page is actually a place where you could immediately be offering a low-cost product that is a natural fit with your free giveaway.
In the case of a B2B prospecting strategy for selling high ticket offers, your free offer is probably something like a short report or case study.
Think about your products, programs and services that lead on from it. Could you perhaps take a slice off or offer as a first step to get a tangible result for client and offer that as a paid product? Maybe it’s simply a planning template or help with the project design stage.
What will help participants make the most of the free thing you gave them, that would extend, amplify or accelerate? That’s the thing to offer on the confirmation or thank you page. And if you can offer a special pricing incentive, even better!
But at the simplest maybe that call to action is to get on a call, so to book a call with you.
The download page is another often overlooked opportunity. Give your readers a relevant offer that ties in nicely with their download (or in this case, the gifts they’re receiving) and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the number of takers you get.
So you have a list of contacts, you’ve captured their name, email address and maybe even a phone number or postal address too – lots you can do with traditional print based direct mail in fact.
But now let’s talk about email.
Why Email Still Works to Nurture Relationships
If the real money is in the follow up, email is still the most effective way to keep in touch with your contacts. And yes I know that means you do need an email list, and I’ll come back to that argument in a moment.
While a lot of buzz is about how no-one reads emails any more or how much email ends up in the spam/junk, it’s still way more targeted and effective than most other marketing you can do.
So your key job is to make sure they want to hear from you! That you help them ensure your mail doesn’t end up in their junk. So some of the confirmation page is about doing that, short sharp instructions for adding you to their VIP contacts.
But beyond that point, unlike social media, email is a place where most people check with serious intent several times a day. And they either skim read, read or hold things as unread to read later.
Think about your own habits with email lists you’re on. If you’re enjoying and getting value from someone’s messages, they stand out more. If you don’t have time to read it when you see it, you may file them or mark them unread, something that helps you remember to go back. Especially if you know they send long thoughtful pieces.
I love Seth Godin’s emails and I’ve been a subscriber for years. They’re short, sharp, sweet and very on-point. They don’t really educate me in any depth; they just give me a little inception of an idea, yet always seem to land at just the right time.
Other people I subscribe to, provide me with really useful starting points that I can go and research in more depth. But some just feel thin, or are too hypey, and I’ll go through ‘delete, delete, delete – if I’m constantly doing that, it’s no good to either the sender or me the receiver.
After a while of continually just deleting someone’s automated message, when I get a moment, I’ll unsubscribe. I’m guessing that’s what a lot of people do.
So you do have to be intriguing with your subject lines to get an open, insightful in your content, what you’re sharing, and intentional with your sequence so there’s a purpose beyond each message. You’re building a relationship, you’re hopefully getting them to lean in closer and closer.
Now yes I know this still means you have a list. But my point here is that it’s not about having a big list. If you have a high ticket offer and a small list of highly engaged prospects who want to hear fr, those few contacts can still be very profitable.
Many of my clients don’t have a list building system, they have a pipeline of contacts and reach out to them manually. Because they are targeted, hand-picked people that they’ve put on that list.
If you have ten contacts and you’re able to get on a call with them with a high ticket offer – where you have a $50k proposal for your services or a $10k group program, you can close a very lucrative deal in one transaction… well when you get good at that direct B2B prospecting strategy, who needs a mass marketing list, right?
Next, I want to share…
3 Promotional Strategies You Can’t Afford to Ignore
If you’re not yet ready to set up a funnel and email marketing system to build a list for sending automated messages, there are a few other ways you can build a pipeline and connect with your ideal prospects.
Not so long ago, content marketers found great success by syndicating their content on sites such as Ezine Articles or even in guest blog posts. The big Google changes of the past have put an end to those strategies (mostly) because they negate duplicate content.
But there is one publishing platform that’s behind doors where you can syndicate without penalty. And that’s LinkedIn. If your audience is on LinkedIn, it’s well worth checking out.
In episode 44 of the podcast, my guest interview with Sophie Lechner, we talked a lot about the general environment of LinkedIn and how to behave on there in terms of relationship building.
One of the best ways to spend your time on LinkedIn is by liking, commenting and sharing people’s content, people who would be good connections for your business. It gets you noticed.
Go one step further and start posting insights, ideas and valuable content on your own profile – and you’re in thought leadership territory. You can post long-form updates complete with images, calls to action, keyword tags and more. And you can upload whole articles, which stay on your profile as evergreen content.
What happens then is that rather than you having to make a batch of connection requests that mostly get ignored, those people who notice you and go view your profile, they start making connection requests to YOU.
And that’s a far healthier start to the relationship, because it’s a sign they’re aligned. Hey, they may even send you a message.
I don’t even post much on LinkedIn these days, and I still get connection requests and messages from people, some of whom have become partnership or clients.
As with all content marketing though, the real key to making LinkedIn publishing work for you is consistency. The more content you release, the more results you’ll see.
For best results, drive traffic directly to an opt-in and call to action page for your high ticket offer by including a link in your headline.
Getting a fellow business owner with a large mailing list to promote your offer can bring in a flood of new traffic—especially if that list owner is well respected and has a responsive list.
There are many ways to orchestrate this.
So what are solo ads?
Solo ads are email-based advertisements you buy from other email list owners. They’re typically sent as dedicated emails – so the entire message is all about your promotion.
While any business can make use of solo ads, they’re most popular among affiliates and information marketers. But nowadays there are platforms devoted to connecting buyers and sellers, even for B2B.
Solo ads are a great way to drive traffic to your website or offer or whatever – I’ve used them to test a promo email and offer more than a general strategy, but it may be worth exploring depending on your business.
Some list owners with big list actually leverage their list as an additional income stream, and you can benefit from access to their contacts. In fact, I remember a few ‘big names’ I approached for my book launch, who very kindly agreed to promote my book through their list and social media. How awesome is that!
Solo ads is a bit less of a favour because you’re paying for the privilege. Ask me for more details on solo ads. Finding said list owner is another matter all together. I haven’t used it in a while, but a few years back it was very effective for a few of my businesses.
There’s a great article I came across on solo ads – 31 tips for driving unlimited traffic from them. I’ll drop the link in the show notes page for this episode. It made me sit up and rethink solo ads again.
GUESTING & REFERRALS
Another great way to leverage other people’s lists and followers is to ‘just ask’. My friend and guest way back in episode 3, Andy Lopata, wrote an amazing book with that title Just Ask. We often don’t go the direct route and approach people directly to refer us or give us an introduction.
Likewise you can approach people to guest on their podcast – it’s an amazing way to get in front of the right audiences. Podcasts are really really popular, it’s a growing platform. And you’ll be amazed at who listens to podcasts, including your lovely B2B peeps!
Finally, I’ll just share a book I found really helpful on the whole referral process, and that’s Bob Burg’s Endless Referrals. The clue is in the title!
How a B2B prospecting strategy differs to B2C
Now let’s be clear, a B2B prospecting strategy can run very differently to a B2C marketing strategy where what you do is directly related to the person who will participate on your program or work with you.
With selling high ticket offers business to business, you may be communicating with the person who makes the contract and purchase decision. It’s not the same focus, maybe not even the same friendly banter kind of style, but your B2B contact is still a human being.
So, in your content and messages, you want to trigger things they care about in their role and where the priorities for the organisation are their responsibility. Hopefully, they took the job because they care about what the organisation cares about – their values are aligned.
Just as with a funnel for B2C, you can create a series of emails to go out after a subscriber joins your list. Or you may be sending them manually if you have high ticket offers.
The key difference is that you’re building a pipeline of contacts to reach out to rather than building a funnel to attract people onto a list.
Your emails are the perfect place to make offers of relevant products and services, either yours or those of your event guests. You shouldn’t use any hard sell tactics or pitch something in every message.
Instead, send your subscribers valuable information they can use. Help them get to know your values, why you do what you do. Share a few success stories working with clients like them.
The aim is that they learn to look forward to your emails. Save the selling for your P.S. or for the occasional (once per week or less) promotional message.
Done right, these relationship building communication techniques can ensure you not only earn back your investment in creating your giveaway, but earn a tidy profit as well because you’re selling high ticket offers. People are far more likely to favour you if you’re friendly, accessible, non-salesy and give value.
Those terms are actually what many of my clients say about me! It’s become kind of part of my brand. For instance, I shared a while back that I don’t do hard-hitting program launches – and busted some myths about the return on the effort of those big product launch strategies.
Not only that, but these strategies work for every opt-in offer on your site and for every email you send. So be sure to take a look at your other funnels and patch up any leaks you might have.
The key difference is that you’re building a pipeline of contacts to reach out to rather than building a funnel to attract people onto a list.
When you’re selling high ticket offers into organisations, this distinction is crucial.