Sales 101: Uncertainty Reduction Theory and Inbound Marketing
[By Jeff Androsko]
Human behavior dictates the world of sales & marketing. If consumer purchasing habits and patterns sway one way, salespeople and brand gurus adjust their content & tactics (as should all business-owners). Which is why a rather old and famous communication model can be applied to sales & inbound marketing strategy.
Berger’s Uncertainty Reduction Theory (1975) states that when strangers meet, their primary concern is to predict the behavior of both themselves and others in the interaction. Each attempt to predict the likely alternative actions the other person might take may produce both favorable and unfavorable outcomes. Attractiveness can be a determinate as to whether persons will continue to attempt to reduce their uncertainties about each other.
How is this relevant? Uncertainty Reduction theory goes hand-in-hand with inbound marketing and modern sales plans. Did I lose you? Calm down. I know it sounds technical, but it's actually quite simple.
As you battle your way through the sales process, your interactions and the marketing in which you participate should be shaped to encompass three factors of the Uncertainty Reduction model:
- Uncertainty : Comfortability Ratio
As a prospect begins to interact with you (whether it be on social media, responding to a marketing email, visiting your website, etc.), their willingness to purchase from you will depend on their knowledge of your credibility and their level of comfort. If you come off awkward or pushy, their natural instincts will be to hinge their comfortability and run for the hills. Good luck getting them back.
- Amount of Interaction
The more you help and interact with your target audience(s), the more natural a sale will come. After all, consumers are just humans. If you show consistent interest and a genuine thirst to help them solve their purchasing problem(s), then you will have not only made a sale, you'll develop loyal customers who will sing your praises.
- Nature of Conversation
Just like any great deal in history, there has to be a balance of professionalism and relaxation. The birth of social media for business birthed from bombarded consumers needing a break from perpetuaul advertising / marketing messages. The reason social media for business has become so popular is its level of informality and the capacity for comfortable interaction. If you insist on talking about how great your company is and why a consumer should buy your product over and over again, you can kiss those warm leads and your productivity goodbye.
Ultimately, the type of messages you are sending to your target demographic, the amount of interaction you have with them and the consumer's comfort level are what is going to assist you in making sales and developing a solid inbound marketing strategy. As you mold your strategy and tactics, be sure retain accountability and recognize the public's need for honesty and purchasing comfortability.