Running an online business is basically about being a salesman. Your job is to offer up shiny new products for people to buy and download or have delivered to their homes. This means that you need to know exactly how to get people to make the decision to buy something from you. Want to know how to do it? Here are 10 secrets that every great salesman needs to keep in mind:
Think Like a Car Salesman
There is an old joke, though it’s true to a point, that a car salesman will never give you the option to choose whether or not to purchase a car. They will talk to you about how wonderful the car is and how you need to get yourself into this beautiful machine today. They’ll tell you about the great options that the car has and try to push them as thing you simply must have.
However, there is one thing that they know – people like to feel as if they are in control. They don’t want to feel as if someone is forcing them to make the purchase and as such, the car salesman always insists: you pick the color. In essence, the idea is to give your customer the illusion of having a choice while at the same time really limiting their choices to something that happens after purchase.
You can do something similar online by offering different options. Got a sneaker company? Offer your customer the choice to choose which color they want. Offering them a downloadable product? Offer the choice of whether to have it sent to their e-mail or to have a link made available to make the purchase. You can always play with this and it will help you to make sales.
Limit Variety On Your Home Page
This one comes to us from Entrepreneur magazine and I agree that it’s a truly inspired idea. In essence, what you want to do is to limit the confusion when people come to your company’s homepage. Unless you run a website like Amazon.com, your goal should be to offer a minimalist experience which makes people feel at ease.
Believe it or not, even though the above advice about offering a pseudo “choice” holds true for people, people don’t like too many choices. It gets confusing and makes them feel overwhelmed. Instead, try to keep things simple and easy to figure out. Offer more information on your home page about the one product which you happen to have for sale instead of information about 20 different products.
This simple technique has been shown to improve sales because while people don’t want to be confused, they do like to feel as if they are well informed when they make a purchase. Thus the more information you make available to them on your home page, the more likely you are to actually get them to feel comfortable with making their purchase.
Remember a Call to Action
I know – it sounds so obvious and yet people tend to forget to do it all the time, especially if they are not natural salespeople. You need to include a call to action, meaning that you need to make sure that people know that they should purchase the product. Even if you have lots of information on the page about your product, if you don’t include something which says, “what are you waiting for? Buy now!” You will lose sales.
It’s something about the psychology of people that they tend to think that they need to have that final push after you sold them to make them finally take the plunge and actually make the purchase. I know it sounds stupid, but if you think about it for yourself, you’ll realize that if a salesman didn’t finish his pitch by saying, “so will that be cash or credit,” you’re more likely to say “thanks” and walk away.
Create a Sense of Urgency
There are any number of different plugins, some paid and some free which are great for doing this. You can also do it without a plugin, but the plugins tend to make these things that much more dramatic. In essence, the idea is that you make your product offer a limited time deal and possibly even a dime sale.
The way it works is that you mention that the product is available for a limited time and then the doors will be shut forever. You do of course need to actually make good on that threat. Don’t simply say that it’s available for 30 days and then extend it endlessly because it makes your customers who did buy feel as if they’ve been cheated.
If you’re worried about making a certain minimum number of sales, another good way is to limit the number of people who can make a purchase. I find this is especially useful for high ticket items like seminars and online workshops which cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
You can say you only want 20 really committed people and then offer the product for a high enough price to justify doing that. Mike Filsaime is very big on using this method and it works for him, bringing in millions of dollars in revenue on a regular basis for him.
Finally, you may want to consider using the dime sale method of creating urgency. This basically works by offering the product at an initially low price and then increasing it by a specific amount (it doesn’t have to be a dime – that’s just the term for it) with each purchase. This creates a sense of urgency with your customers which means that if they don’t hurry they’ll get a worse deal.
Offer Second Chances
Exit pages are popular for a reason. Yes, many of us find them to be extremely annoying to see because we decided we wanted to walk away from the page for the time being and think about whether or not to make a purchase. However, the fact is that exit pages do allow you to get more sales from people who may otherwise decide not to bother.
One downside of course is that deal seekers will try to find out about the exit pages (since they should have a lower priced offer available). Heck, I used to run a website devoted to offering the deals on Clickbank and how to get them by using the exit pages. On the other hand, would you rather give away a $10 credit to some customers and keep them or let them go?
Want to make people buy your product? Then get a bit personal. No, I don’t mean you need to write up your entire life story and tell them about it in 50 pages of rambling prose. However, you may want to offer up a little anecdote which relates to the product that you are offering for sale.
For example, if you are offering your customers a kind of acne cream, it helps to have a before and after picture and say, “yes, that was me before I discovered this miracle of modern science.” You do need an after picture as well. You can even include a little something about how you suffered for years with whatever the problem is that you solve.
Many gurus who sell make money online offers tell of the hardships that they experienced before they finally discovered whatever miracle method they are selling to you. You should find your own story to offer up and make it sincere (i.e. don’t lie – few people are good enough story tellers to make lies sound genuine).
It also helps to include a signature on your squeeze page and to include a photo of yourself. Both of these elements tend to make people feel as if they are dealing with a real person that they can actually trust. By the way, there is no need to scan your real signature (which can actually be a bad idea in a day of identity thieves). Instead, use a signature font to create the right effect.
Tell Me Why I Should Care
Speaking of making things personal, sales are all about making your product personal to a person. No matter what it is that you happen to be selling, your goal ultimately is to be solving some kind of a problem. If you are selling an antivirus program for example, then it’s pretty easy—you are solving people’s problems of dealing with hackers.
Selling cute knickknacks? You are solving people’s problems of wanting something cut to put on their shelves (or offer to their kids/family/friends as stocking stuffers or offer as a gift from someone who is clueless about how to shop for a gift). The bottom line is that no matter what it is that you are selling, your job is to solve a problem.
Now, the way you do this is to develop the problem for the people before you introduce your product. Show people why they should care about the product that you are offering to them and then explain why your product is the perfect solution to the problem they are having. Even if it’s something which seems a bit esoteric, you need to find a way to make the problem something personal for your customers.
Did I Mention It’s about Your Customers?
One thing that you can get a bit too focused on when writing up these sales pitches is that you think about why you would want to buy your product and why you think it’s so great. The fact is that nobody cares why you would want to purchase this particular product. They want to know why they should want to buy the product that you have for sale.
In other words, remember that your sales page must always be about trying to solve your customer’s problems and not about solving your own problems. This may well mean that you don’t mention every cute feature that you came up with in creating your product but that you instead simply make your product as simple to understand as possible. Speaking of that…
I mention this constantly because it really is probably the single most fundamental thing that anyone can do when it comes to sales, building websites or doing pretty much anything in life. Unless you are trying to create a Rube Goldberg machine, your goal should be to “Keep it Simple, Stupid.”
This simple concept of sales is the one that you should keep in mind throughout your whole sales pitch. Yes, you have this great feature and that great feature and you should mention that – in the specs, for the handful of people who will actually read through it. Most people however want to know how this thing will solve whatever problem they are having.
This means that your website should have nice clean lines which makes it easy to follow what’s going on and which make it easy to find the information they need. They should also find that your website flows well as far as going from the initial pitch to the final call to action.
Finally, your product should be simple and easy to understand. If you can’t explain your product in a 15 second pitch, then the odds are it’s too complicated and violates the KISS principle.
Don’t Rush to Push People to Buy
This is another idea I found on Entrepreneur magazine – you don’t want to put the word “buy” within the first few paragraphs or what is commonly known as “above the fold.” The idea is that you want to keep your customers from feeling as if they are being pressured.
Instead, you need to first develop in their minds the idea that they have a particular problem which desperately needs to be solved. You need to metaphorically make your customers shake in their boots and say, “oh no – I have this problem, how can I solve it?” Then, you swoop in and say, buy my product and I’ll solve your problem for you.