The Difference Between “Selling” and “Nurturing” Jonathan Herrick Rushing Right In: Is It Only For Fools? The Difference Between “Selling” and “Nurturing” The song, “Fools Rush In,” offers a sentiment that can sometimes be applied to small business sales and marketing strategies. While some products and services can be sold with a bold, brash approach, many larger investments need a more subtle, nurturing sales technique. The inbound marketing trend actually plays well in the areas that require a nurturing type of sales. How do you know the difference between selling and nurturing and when should you apply either strategy? Assumption vs. Reality We tend to make assumptions regarding the positive or negative connotation of a situation. For instance, we often view “selling” as an image of the stereotypical car salesman: In your face, and slightly annoying. In contrast, the common image of “nurturing” may be a mother cradling her child. It is clear that selling, in this context, has a negative connotation, while nurturing has positive one. The truth is that both selling and nurturing can have positive and negative aspects, but it is the job of the sales representative to determine which approach is the best fit. Most people take their time making what they consider a major purchase for their home or family such as a car, house, large appliance or vacation. Smaller purchases are made more quickly. Therefore, logic dictates that smaller purchases should be handled with a sales approach and major purchases with a nurturing approach. Like many assumptions, this one is only partially true. A person’s upbringing, cultural background and income level all influence what they consider is a small or large purchase. Other influencing factors are whether the purchase has emotional value to the buyer. A gift for a significant other can be cause for much deliberation even if the price is low. As a salesman, you need to know which type of sale this one is for your customer. Selling The art and science of selling has been studied from time immemorial. What we know now is that the better you know your prospect or customer, the better you can find the best fit for them. Happy customers refer their friends, and return for future business. Finding the right fit for small purchases is the matter of matching the value of the product or service with the customer’s needs. If you can show your customer why your product is the best choice, and it fits in their budget, they will buy it from you. Therefore, the buying cycle is short and you need to answer their value-based questions before they walk in your store. While price is a large factor, there are other reasons that people will select your product including superior customer service, convenience and relationships. Nurturing When we consider the word “nurture,” we associate it with our first experience of nurturing, our memory of growing up with a nurturing mother. However, marketing strategies for small business require a different kind of nurturing. Because of the easy access to the Internet, prospects are searching for information on their major purchases long before they contact a salesperson. You can provide them with the information they request in return for contact information in order to add them to your drip email campaign. Marketing automation is an ideal tool for this type of selling. You can feed the information you have about your prospect into the system and it will determine how to nurture them. As you slowly offer your expertise to your client, you will be building relationship that will pay off with a major purchase in the end.