In IndustrialSage Episode 122, we’re going to talk about how third-party validation can be your secret weapon to closing deals!
Hey, so I’m going to talk to you today about your secret weapon to closing the deal. You don’t want to miss out. Listen to this episode.
Okay, so 2020’s here, we’re jumping into the new year. I’m super excited, I think you’re super excited. We’re all super excited. And today I want to talk to you about this secret weapon on closing the deal. What is that? Well it’s really four parts. And we’re just going to boil it down. It’s called third-party validation.
What the heck is third-party validation? I’m going to use my cheat sheet right here. Well, according to an article that we were reading the other day, it’s actually a couple of years old. It’s actually from Entrepreneur Magazine. Pretty insightful. What is third-party validation? “It’s the recommendation or discovery of your product and service by a reputable organization not directly connected to the buyer or seller.”
Okay, what the heck does that mean? Let’s break that down. I’m going to give you a really good, I’m going to tell this to you in a story. Just a couple weeks ago, I went and I bought a new car. If you’ve ever gone through the traditional car buying experience, you know how stressful and not fun that can be. The traditional experience of going and saying hey, I’m going to go walk onto a lot, and I’m going to go buy a car. What happens? You get there, you pull up, you’re driving in there, and all the sales people are looking at you… Everyone’s targeting you in, and they’re licking their chops like, “All right, I’ve got a fresh one right here, let’s go!”
Then you get out of the car and walk in– “Hey sir, how can I help you?” And you immediately, shields go up. Your defense mechanisms come out ’cause you’re like, “I just want to resist, I know they’re going to try to sell me on everything,” and there’s just this natural defense.
Well, third-party allows you to shop and your buyers to kind of check you out without having those defense mechanisms up. Let’s think of a different way. Maybe if you’ve bought a car recently. I didn’t start my research on any of the dealer websites. What I did is I started looking at things like AutoTrader or TrueCar or Cars.com: all these different third-party sites that weren’t necessarily really selling me the car. They were giving me information, they were giving me reviews. I could check out the features, I could see what the inventory was, and it was low friction. I didn’t have people like, “Hey let’s come buy!”
Once I did all that initial research, I said, “Okay you know what, this is the particular car that I want to buy, this is the area that I want to go… Now I’m kind of ready.” I’m down that funnel. I want to buy, I know what I want to buy, I know where I want to go buy it. Now, I’m going to go to the dealership and make that transaction. I’m going to be more informed, I’m going to know better versus “Shields up!” and “Defense!” and “Uh-oh!” And it’s a much better experience.
That third-party validation piece really helps to demystify things, creates a much better experience for you. And for those companies that are utilizing it, it really gives them the leg-up.
What I want to kind of jump into is really break into these, there’s really four areas that help to make this experience better, and that really comprise this secret weapon if you will. So the first thing, this really isn’t the first step, this kind of supersedes everything. It’s all around content.
We’ve talked about this a lot on IndustrialSage, how now the buying cycle has shifted, the way that we buy is different. Take this whole car buying experience, that I know that you can relate to that. It’s all around creating content that’s educating you and helping to make sure that your buyer is informed. Everyone is self-educating beforehand. You need to have content that’s going to help them to figure out what they need, what they want, help solve their problems so that they can self-qualify before they actually pick up the phone. That sort of supersedes everything. You need to have content that helps to educate.
The first step that this is going to do that third-party validation piece is going to help to break down that barrier to buy. We talked about walking out on the dealer’s lot and you have that friction, you grip on the wheel cause you kind of freaking out the salesperson’s going to come and start selling you everything. Well, we don’t have that when you’re looking at things from the third-party perspective. That barrier is down, those defense mechanisms are down. You’re able to kind of look at things and evaluate things on your timeline, on your timetable without somebody coming in and aggressively trying to sell you. So that’s the first step.
Now, the next piece is it helps to really build your credibility by becoming that expert in the industry. When somebody is trying to buy that product or service, they have a problem, they have a challenge. And you’re able to exercise your expertise. “Oh well, you know, the companies that have run into this problem before, here’s solution A, here’s solution B. Solution A’s better than B in this circumstance, but you might want to go with B over here.” And really you’re a solution provider, and you’re able to exercise that expertise on that third-party website, where it’s like, “Listen, I’m not trying to sell you right now, I’m just trying to be helpful, I’m trying to be valuable.”
And when you’re able to do that, when your customer is maybe doing research and they’re not necessarily ready to buy right now. But maybe six months or 12 months from now, or 24 months, or whatever that is, they’re going to say, “You know what, these guys know what they’re talking about. And I trust them. I don’t feel like I’m being sold to because I’m not on their website, I’m not on their dealer lot. I’m on this other website that’s very informative, and it’s helpful, and it’s providing value to me.” Now you are the expert in that industry and now there’s no question in their mind that they want to talk to you further when they’re ready to make that decision. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to buy from you, but at least at that point, you’re short-listed. And they’re saying, “You know what, we have to talk to these guys.” And then we go from there.
You know there’s that step they talk about that when a company reaches out to you, and this is sort of across the board, they are like 80% down that journey or that funnel because again, they’re doing all that research online.
I’ll share another quick story. Literally, two days ago, here at Optimum, we do the exact same thing. We’ve got content and different things on other third parties, and putting out blog articles, and content, helping to educate people. And we generate leads that way. So somebody came in online, filled out a form that said, “Hey, listen, we want you to do a video. Here’s what we want to do, here’s all these different things.” And because of our marketing automation platform, we use HubSpot, I think I’ve shared with you before. The really cool thing about HubSpot is that it will actually track interactions on the website so we can see the activity that they’re doing. We can see pages they’re visiting, videos that they’re watching, different downloads they’re doing. The really interesting thing was, they filled out this form in early January, and HubSpot can retroactively go look at past activity. In this particular prospect, we were able to see that they were on our website a month before, almost to the day, 30 days before they reached out to us.
And we were able also to see how they found us. They found us through a third-party website, a website that does reviews and all that content where our content was living, we could see that’s how they came in. And then we could also see that for those 30 days before they reached out to us, they called us, or filled out a form saying we’re ready to buy, what were they doing? They were self-educating themselves, they were vetting us. Can these guys do what we need done? And then they said “Okay yeah, wow, look at that, they’ve got expertise in this, and this, and this. This is great!” Short-listed. We’re short-listed now. There’s three other companies that we’re being evaluated against right now. So case in point, wanted to share that anecdote.
The other piece, and this kind of flows right into it, is really that it validates your products or service. It kind of flows with that expertise and that piece that’s like you know what you’re doing, you know what you’re talking about, and you can clearly demonstrate that use case and those solutions and that you’ve done it before. It’s not just, “Hey, this is our first rodeo.” That helps you to be able to really position yourself that way.
And here’s a big challenge when it comes to your content. Most companies, a lot of companies, particularly in the manufacturing, industrial, supply chain space, logistics, there’s this natural tendency to feel like your content need to be super sales-y and transactional. What do I mean by that? I mean by coming in and talking about, “Well our product, this TV here is the most amazing TV in the world, and it has this feature, and it’s touchscreen, and it has the amazing color, and it can do all these things,” and it’s all about that product and service.
It’s all about your product or your service versus the challenge that this solves: “Hey, well, we understand that some challenges that companies have is that, are you guys struggling with your TV as you put this in your front lobby, and all of a sudden, after like 30 days it dies, and there’s this thing called burn-in, there’s stuff on there? Well, here’s three ways on how you can solve doing that, you put a screen that can refresh it.”
You’re educating somebody, instead of saying, “Hey here’s all the latest and greatest, buy, buy, buy, buy, buy.” That is sort of an older mentality that we really have to transition out of. That is why exercising that expertise and that solution-selling type thing. Look at those challenges, those problems that you’re able to help solve your customers with, and those products are kind of down the line. It’s a little bit of that Trojan horse type thing.
The last piece, and this is kind of a little bit of a no-brainer, but it really helps to achieve that broader exposure, create more awareness. Instead of leveraging your social networks, or your email databases, or whatever contact database that you have, you’re able to leverage an additional, that third-party, that website. Maybe that website has thousands of viewers that come in, or they have a much bigger social media presence. You’re able to jump on the coattails, if you will, to be able to garner more attention. These are people that you may or may not have access to already, likely you don’t. So you can amplify your message and get it out there. Here’s the great thing.
A lot of people really will consume that a lot easier because, again, there’s something about when you’re talking about your product or your service, or even in your industry, and it’s coming from your brand, there’s that shields up thing again, a little bit. There’s the sales guy that’s walking out on the lot, and you’re like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, you’re here to sell me up the river, I get it: everything’s rainbows and kisses,” we get it, right? But there’s something a little bit different when it’s coming from that third-party perspective saying, “Hey listen, we’re wanting to educate because the consumer, the reader, the prospect has a relationship with that third-party.” They’re trusted, there is value, and that is so, so, so valuable.
It’s no different than when you get a referral from somebody and it’s like, “Hey I got this referral from Bob. Bob told me to call you and I really like Bob; Bob’s a great guy. He would never steer me in the wrong direction so yeah, that’s why we’re talking.” It’s the same sort of thing digitally. I have a relationship with this third-party website. They provide great value to me. They’ve got top-notch people, so therefore, you’re associated with it which means now, wow, I’ve got eyeballs on there, I trust you, it’s better, let’s go from there.
So that’s essentially it in a little bit of a nutshell. There’s really those four areas I’ll recap. A, by using third-party validation, helps to break down those barriers to buy. It helps to build that credibility, that expertise. It helps to validate your products and services. And the last, but not least, is it helps to really achieve that broader exposure. Amplify your message, get out in front of new audiences, or better audiences at scale. That’s what I’ve got for you today. That’s the secret weapon that you’re going to want to be looking at, especially as we move more into content marketing, into B2B. What B2C has had, it’s moving very quickly into the B2B space, in the manufacturing, industrial, and supply chain space. That’s what you’re going to be looking for. It’s a very exciting time.
So, that’s all I’ve got. Thank you so much for watching, or listening to today’s episode. If you have any questions, we love to answer them for you. You can reach out to us at IndustrialSage.com/questions. We can answer them for you no problem. Listen, if you’re following us on social media, or rather, if you’re not, follow us. We would love some, share some love, like it, share it, comment if you have any questions. If you agree with what we say, add your two cents. If you disagree with what we’re saying, add your two cents. Let’s start a conversation there. So, that’s all, I’m done. Thanks so much for watching, and I’ll be back next week with another episode of IndustrialSage.
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