This past week I've been sharing 7 Sales Tips (#7DaysofSalesTips) on Periscope. It's been fun to chat with some of you as I share these tips, but I also wanted to recap them for those of y'all who couldn't make it live. (Or maybe Periscope is not your thing – that's totally fine!) So here's what we've talked about this week…
1) Sell yourself first
I wrote a whole blog post on this last month but I truly believe that if you're a blogger, solopreneur, or small biz owner, the most important sale you'll ever make is yourself. You not only need to believe in yourself and the value that you provide, but you also need to be able to “sell yourself” or in other words, connect with your audience on a more personal level. People buy from people, so if you're not putting YOU out there, you're doing your brand a disservice. If you're struggling to figure out what REALLY makes you different from everyone else in your niche, here are 4 questions you can ask yourself to get clear:
- How have your past experiences led you to your current business? Your experiences are unique to YOU and have shaped who you are and why you started your business. Think about how your education, your previous jobs, and your life experiences have led you to where you are today.
- What have you learned from those past experiences that you can now use to help and serve others? Think about where you were 2-3 years ago? 2-3 months ago? What have you learned that you can now teach other people?
- How do your products / services relate to your previous experience and the knowledge you have gained? Did you create something because it solved a problem for you? Do you provide a service because it's something you wish you had help with when you were at some previous point in your life?
- How would you describe yourself / your personality in a dating profile? This question may be a little weird, but personality is a HUGE part of your brand! What do you want people to know about you? What do you want them to know about your personality? Think about first impressions – what are the key things you want people to “get” about you right away?
Now combine your experience + your knowledge + your products /services + your personality in a sentence that tells people who you are, what you do, and who you do it for <– This is how you sell yourself. This is how you STAND OUT.
2) Define strategic paths to your paid products + services
It's really easy to get overwhelmed with creating content. Figuring out what to blog about, what to post on Instagram, what to tweet about (and how often to do all of the above), can make you STRESSED OUT if you let it – but you can simplify and streamline your work by defining strategic content paths to your paid products and services.
You want all of your free content to lead your audience to eventually buy your products and services, right? Then don't waste time creating content just for the sake of creating something, and make sure everything you're doing has a point. So let's pretend you're a graphic designer. You share something on social media that links to a blog post on website branding… and after someone reads that blog post there's a call to action telling her to download a free checklist of the 10 questions you should ask your designer… and once she opts-in to receive that free checklist, she receives a series of emails that further educates her on the importance of cohesive branding… and THEN you “pitch” your services by reminding her that YOU can help her create cohesive branding (and link directly to your sales / service page so she can find out more).
If you haven't defined your content paths, I'd recommend getting out a piece of paper and mapping them out. You'll find that once you've identified your purpose and defined your paths, it will be much easier to develop relevant content (and you content will do much of the “sales” work for you)!
3) Know the difference between features, functions, and benefits
The biggest mistake I see with sales pages and product descriptions is focusing solely on features and forgetting about functions and benefits. So for example, if I were buying a vacuum cleaner and in the description it lists “multi-level filtration” – that sounds like a great feature but why do I care? Because multi-level filtration helps to reduce household allergens (that's a great function!) and because when there are less allergens I can spend more time cuddling with my pup without worrying about all the pet dander in our apartment (a great benefit!) – I also take a daily antihistamine, but you get the point.
Don't just describe your products and services – describe how your products and services can actually help someone. What's in it for them? How will it improve their life? Bonus points if you can visually SHOW what the benefits are rather than just talk about them.
4) Create simple sales funnels
Give, give, give THEN sell. People need to know, like, and trust you before they buy from you. Grab their attention, pique their interest, appeal to their desire, then encourage them to take action.
Usually (but not always) the higher the perceived value and the more complex a product or service is, the longer your funnel will be. So if you are selling a $15 necklace, your audience probably only needs to come into contact with it a few times before they pull the trigger, but if you're selling a $3,000 consulting package, it may take weeks (or even months) for someone to trust you. That's ok. If you have higher priced services, you also need fewer conversions. As your audience grows, more people will be introduced to your brand each day. Focus on continually providing value, and if you've defined strategic paths to your paid products + services (tip #2), your business will grow too.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”People buy from people, so if you're not putting YOU out there, you're doing your brand a disservice.” quote=”People buy from people, so if you're not putting YOU out there, you're doing your brand a disservice.”]
5) Give people what they WANT, not what they need
People buy what they want, not what they need. Sometimes people don't even KNOW what they need. I probably NEED an accountant but what I really WANT is overpriced lipstick and this adorable dog sweater. There's a 100% I will make room in my budget for new lipstick and will end up doing my taxes on Turbo Tax because I don't WANT to pay someone to do them for me. Marketing is all about positioning.
That doesn't mean that you shouldn't understand you audience's needs – but when it comes to packaging and selling your products and services, give them what they WANT. So what's the number one thing you need to do to figure out what your people want?
Listen. Seriously, that's it. Listen to the questions they ask. Listen to what they say in their communities. Listen to the comments you receive. Listen and people will tell you what they want.
6) Overcome objections
So you're at the point where you're getting product inquiries. Maybe you're even doing free sessions or discovery calls – but you're having trouble converting all that free talk into paying clients and customers. You've probably heard one of these things…
- I would love to hire you / buy your product but it's not in my budget right now / I can't afford the investment. Ugh, the you're too expensive excuse. The easiest way to avoid this is by clearly listing your prices on your website. If people are telling you that you are too expensive then they don't see the value in your products/services, and the #1 reason why that happens is when you don't explain the BENEFITS well enough (tip #2).
- I need some time to think about it. If your pitch is compelling enough, people will not need more time to think about it. Sometimes a prospect just doesn't fully understand a small detail, so I recommend that you straight up ASK them, “what information can I provide to help you make the best decision.” Get to the root of the issue and you will usually find that the hesitation is over something that you can easily answer. Make sure you address whatever the specific issue is, and then ask for the sale again. If they're still not ready, don't stress about it. Keep them on your list, continue to nurture them, and maybe someday they will be.
- Now’s not a good time / I have too much going on right now. Most of the time this is an excuse because if someone took the time to inquire or chat with you for a free consultation, they obviously HAVE time. Not to mention, if someone wants something badly enough they will MAKE time. Sometimes people just need an incentive to act now. You can position your offerings as time sensitive in a few different ways – if you have a service-based business, you can only take on so many clients at a time. Make it clear that your availability is limited. If you have a product-based business, you may have time sensitive offers (bonuses or discounts) that encourage your prospective customers to make more timely decisions.
7) Earn repeat business
So once someone has purchased from you, you can celebrate and move on, right? Think again. One of the easiest ways to grow your sales, is earning repeat business. Think about it – if you purchase a sweater from Zara and you love it – you will probably go back to see what's new the next time you are looking for something cute to wear, right? When you find a doctor that you like, you keep going back to them because why go through the hassle of finding someone new when you're happy with the service you are receiving. Getting repeat business is actually MUCH easier than getting new customers and clients no matter what you're selling. Here are 3 ways you can do this right now:
- Offer related products / services. Your products and services should sell each other. If you offer one time consultations, add the option to extend the relationship with ongoing coaching. If you sell products, think about items that are complementary to each other. For example, someone who buys wedding invitations will probably need thank you notes as well.
- Implement a subscription / membership based model. Recurring payments are an entrepreneur's jam. There are subscription based models with a low barrier to entry (think Birchbox or any of these), where you can then up-sell higher priced products OR you could offer a higher-fee ongoing service model (like group coaching) where there is a monthly “membership” fee.
- Take into consideration timing / seasons. If your product has a shelf life, remind people to reorder after a few weeks/months. Take advantage of seasonal promotions – can you offer something unique during the holidays? What about at the beginning of a new year?
So that was a lot of information and if you made it all the way through – high five! You're probably pretty serious about growing your sales and growing your business this year, right?