A little politeness goes a long way: Introducing Permission selling

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A little politeness goes a long way: Introducing Permission selling

You have to admit that when you get a phone call while you are right in the middle of doing something and you answer, only to find that it’s just another sales call, you might get a tad frustrated. Doesn’t it annoy you that someone is trying to connect with you and trying to sell you a product when it just isn’t convenient for you? Rest assured, you are not alone in experiencing feelings other than pleasure when this happens. Nor are you alone in feeling like these negative feelings drive you to not want to indulge in conversation with this company, even if they’re selling a product that you’d potentially be interested in purchasing.

In-your-face sales tactics are off-putting and out-dated. It’s time for sales teams to modernize their sales techniques and start selling the polite way. Welcome to permission selling, the future of successful marketing and selling techniques.

Permission selling is based upon the Inbound marketing theory, which places the customer’s needs above all other. It’s a form of sales technique that allows the buyer to rule the engagement and the speed of the sales process.

What Is Permission Selling?

Permission selling (a phrase coined by Seth Godin) is a sales theory that allows the customer to come to you, to be captured by your presence, without you reaching out to them. The whole concept is based around reaching out to people only after they’ve given you permission.

Take a look around you. What brand do you see that truly captures your attention? Not exactly B2B, but I’ll still use the Haribo candy advertisements as my example. Totally aside from the fact that I am totally hooked on anything sweet, these advertisements capture my attention and make me smile. They make me remember the brand and make me want to approach the brand to find out more. No one has once asked me to taste the product, no one has offered me a special price if I purchase, nothing has been sold to me. I am attracted to this brand purely through my own free-will.

Whilst enjoying the video I have allowed this company to advertise their product to me, thus opening up a gateway for them to pursue engagement and start a relationship. I have inadvertently listened to their advertisement, I have bought into their brand and I am willing to listen to their marketing. If I am to click through to their website looking for more fun videos, I am likely to agree to complete an online form for a free sample product, or for the first glimpse of their next advertisement. They have gained my permission to sell to me.

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How Does Permission Marketing Work?

Permission marketing focuses on the following formula:

  • Attract – Bringing strangers to your brand through attractive content.
  • Convert – Turning strangers into visitors by incorporating call-to-actions within your content.
  • Close – Converting visitors to leads through follow-up lead nurturing
  • Delight – Delivering the final sale and following through with retaining customers

According to Hubspot, permission marketing is successful and leads to better results than direct marketing because your communications are:

  • Anticipated: The lead is waiting for your email.
  • Relevant: The content is something the lead is interested in.
  • Personal: The content is relevant to the lead.

As Seth Godin puts it, “Permission marketing turns strangers into friends and friends into loyal customers,” “it’s not just about entertainment – it’s about education.” Whether we’re selling candy, or promoting a unique B2B SaaS service, we, as marketers, need to forget that we are trying to sell a product and need to create appealing content that not only educated, but also ignites the imagination of the buyer.