Don’t kill your salesperson
Do you like salespeople? Do they make you feel uncomfortable? Does it feel like they invade your comfort zone?
Well, snap out of it.
Somewhere along the lines of marcomm history, we’ve allowed ourselves to think badly of salespeople. Selling is tacky.
Marketing is sexy. CRO is genius. Communication is…well, you know what they say about chicks in communication.
But sales? Ewww! The only way you’ll ever go so low as to sell something, is from an academic standpoint. You’ll write targeted content that complies with a very well-thought content strategy, and you’ll endlessly regurgitate other people’s tips and research to help you use people’s decision-making behaviours to your advantage. You’ll say “adoption process” instead of buying or maybe that godawful GPCTBA/C&I instead of prospect qualification. And you believe your sales will go up because you used all this non-committal jargon, because you apologized for every sale.
And then you’re surprised cashflow is going down, baby, down. Why? Because you lead yourself to believe sales is something you should steer clear of.
You thought selling was sleazy. As it turns out, it’s the only way to make money.
Or maybe you just didn’t think of it this way. Maybe. Nevertheless, I’m going to walk you through four different ways you be a better salesperson online. And yes, it involves copy. But not only.
Focus on the damn sale
Rumor has it that it’s not okay to try to persuade people every step of the way. I get it, it can be annoying. But instead, you – business owner, I’m looking at you – have your communication team oscillate between writing to sell/persuade and explaining. This results in content that just annoys the hell out of people.
“I’d like to show you this super amazing product, it has this feature and that feature and it’s just perfect for you, but I don’t mean to interrupt…anyway. Lemme tell you that this product also comes in yellow and you can match it with… “ What is this? This….my friends, is how sales sound here, in Romania, in a country that’s torn between two extremes – the scuzzy salesperson that approaches you no matter what, no matter when, and the silent but bright type, who doesn’t “need to sell”, because he’s just too bright. There is nothing in between.
All is not lost though. There are a bunch of people, other than salesmen who understand selling is okay. They go by the name of business owners.
Online, you can focus on your sale relatively easily. All you need to do is follow some really, really simple steps that I’ve listen below:
- Don’t waste energy trying to write copy like someone else
- Don’t waste energy trying to speak to everybody. Choose your best prospects and stick with them
- Don’t squeeze important messages into tiny spaces because you think copy should be short
- Don’t over-praise your product
- Make the sale crazy easy
- Don’t disturb the shopper in the cart section. No upsale, no cross-sale, nothing.
- Speak in the voice of your audience
- Only say the things which are really most relevant to your prospect
- Know when to stop your sale
The last step is especially important. You only have a limited amount of time and energy. If there’s anything to learn to from salespeople (and trust me, there’s a lot to learn), that is nurturing a relationship with someone who bought something from you before. Don’t focus on dead leads, it will just waste you time and energy.
If the dead leads prevail, it’s time to change your strategy and it normally means you didn’t listen. Which brings me to the next point.
Not just them. What do your prospects want?
The rule of thumb here is you don’t have a clue. No marketer does and it’s fine. It’s what constitutes the adventure and beauty of this field.
But you do have something and it’s called research. Research the hell outta your product and competition, read reviews, isolate words and expressions your prospects use and feed them back to your leads in your copy.
Live salespeople have the advantage of being in the same room with their prospect, so they can see them and hear them. They have it easier in this respect. They literally mirror their prospect’s behaviour, they listen for certain words and repeat them in conversation, all in the name of creating a bond with the prospect. And it works. If it has worked for millions of salespeople for hundreds of years, it will work for you too.
Your business lives online now so why not use the tools this environment can get you? Instead of doing research the old way, go online. Read forums, read comments, understand the language, see their grammatical errors, pay close attention to their stories when they commiserate with a fellow poster, learn something from everything they say and ta-daaaa…your copy almost writes itself.
This is probably the biggest lie every marketer or small business owner has had to live with. The best texts, the ones that convert do not live hidden somewhere inside your head. You don’t get to meditate and they’ll be fed to you via the universal channel of creativity. You have to roll up your sleeves, go where the people are and make notes.
Make it very easy to buy
I’m positive you’ve heard it a million times: a buyer values his purchase more if he’s had to work a little for it.
It may be true. It’s true for expensive cars. But I wouldn’t bet my business on this. I actually wish I could take on more clients at a time just so I could practice selling more often. Closing a sale feels great!
Not just for you. For the buyer as well. Remember, they’re getting value too.
Online, here’s your cheatsheet of stuff to do to make it easy to buy:
- Don’t make your buttons sound like work or sacrifice. In other words, avoid button copy that reads (buy, invest, give, sign up), especially if you’re a new business.
- Only ask for as much information as you need. Don’t ask them for their home address and blood group when an email is enough
- Make your buttons visible
- Offer multiple payment options
- Don’t crowd the cart section with anything. Just leave the man alone, he’s buying something from you.
- Don’t make them create an account if they don’t need it for anything else in the future
And last but not least
Never apologize for a sale.
You worked and produced something great. You’re a legitimate business, producing legitimate products or services, which people enjoy. You deserve money for that.
The only time when you should be ashamed of selling is when you have a crap product.
You can forget the age-old myth that great products sell themselves. Without a single person who knows them, trusts them, tries them, there’s no selling. Because as far as the rest of the world is concerned, there’s no product to speak of.