Using Webinars to Build Credibility and #Prospect Lists


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Customers in all niches and industries are increasingly resistant to traditional sales messages and advertising. Some of this has to do with the changing nature of communication. As customers and prospects consume more of their information through internet media, their expectation has been to trust those answers that they find themselves more enthusiastically than those that are presented to them. With a firm understanding of what ails them in either their personal of business life; prospects are now able to seek their answers on the world wide-web, whether that occurs on search engines or through social media.

Webinars work best when promoted as solutions to problems.

Before a customer or prospect gets the answer that they are seeking, there is a process of information sorting. In most cases, they have to go through the process of educating themselves on the depth and nature of their problems as well as the available solutions. Once that process has been completed, these same future customers can evaluate the solutions that are going to be worth their time to purchase.
In this new context customers are selling themselves on what will work best for them. This has become an everyday occurrence for consumers solving personal problems. The proliferation of websites that have various user ‘review’ sections are evidence of this expectation from buyers for more pre-sale information.

The question then becomes how can a business enter into this conversation of trust with a prospect? Providing too much information without successfully outlining the benefits can lead to a confused prospect and subsequently ruin the sale. However, it is clear that prospects are desirous of more information before they trust sellers. One way that a seller can provide this level of trust is to bring new prospects and customers on to a webinar.

A webinar is an audio-visual presentation delivered from the computer systems of the seller to the computer system of the buyer. The seller is broadcasting content privately to a group of people who have volunteered to receive the information. Although the seller can use the webinar to give those who attend, a traditional sales message; that is typically not the most effective way to use the medium. What works best is to use the medium is to present information to solve a difficult problem the prospect is having.

This method is effective for three reasons. First, the prospect is attracted to sign up for the webinar based on the information that they want to receive, not necessarily on the product. Webinars work best when promoted as solutions to problems. Those individuals who have a desire to have their problem solved will take their time to attend the live broadcast or get a recording of it.
Second, the seller trades the solution for the contact information of the prospect. In order to receive the information in the broadcast, the prospect has to register with their name, email address and other pertinent information. This means that the seller knows that the attendee has an interest in solving a certain problem with the resources to contact them.

Third, the seller has the opportunity to help the prospect understand the depth of their problem. The webinar is less of a B2B sales pitch, and more of an opportunity to build a bond with a future customer by sharing a real understanding of their problem. By providing this information without charging the individual for it helps to establish trust.

Lastly, the webinar is promoted as an event which increases the perception of urgency on the part of the buyer. Knowing that someone is presenting a solution to their problem on a certain date without the promise of repeating it makes the webinar more of a priority in the prospect’s mind.

The information provided on the webinar, when combined with the resources to contact the prospect helps the company to accomplish two major goals during the webinar event:

  1. It establishes the potential for a long term relationship
  2. It establishes the potential for the company to find out what the prospect’s true needs are

A company can end the webinar by either providing information on how the customer can best solve their dilemma, or make a special offer (not available to those on the webinar) for a particular product or service. When managed tactfully, a webinar can produce fantastic results in terms of in event sales. By providing the best of its most helpful information, the company is able to break through a potential trust barrier and put themselves on the side of the buyer. This is what powers webinars to position companies and their salespersons for long term relationships.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Koka Sexton
Koka Sexton, Social Selling Evangelist and Sr. Social Marketing Manager at LinkedIn, is one of the most recognized social selling experts in the technology industry. A career in helping companies use social media for lead generation, creating new opportunities, and engaging customers. READ MORE at the LinkedIn Sales Solutions blog.


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