We've all had a bad sales experience.
I hear stories all the time from people where, after they purchased a product or service, wonder why the hell they bought the thing. Another common story, especially in the world of online sales, is being battered over the head again and again with upsell after upsell. Think GoDaddy – you can't go there and simply buy a domain name. That's why I use DNSimple.
We bring these experiences with us to our businesses, which is both good and bad. It's good because we know how we don't want to be, but on the other side it can prevent us from actually selling. It held me back for years until I finally understood that selling isn't a bad thing.
When I had my web development business I wanted our work and reputation to speak for itself. It did, but that only got my foot in the door with potential customers. I still had to sell.
Selling is not a dirty word. You shouldn't think of it as a dirty word.
Selling is defined on Wikipedia as:
… offering to exchange something of value for something else. The something of value being offered may be tangible or intangible. The something else, usually money, is most often seen by the seller as being of equal or greater value than that being offered for sale.
When you are “selling” you are offering to exchange the value you provide – your services – for the money that the other person has. Is that wrong to do? Is that unethical? Absolutely not.
However time and time again I see entrepreneurs not doing everything they can to make the case that what they provide is actually valuable!
A crisis of confidence? Perhaps.
Let Me Ask You A Question…
Do you provide value to your customers? Can you help them make more money, save money, or better help their customers which in turn helps them keep their business going?
If you answered yes any of those questions then allow me to give you some advice – stop worrying about being salesy.
Easier said than done you say? Not so says I.
Email Marketing Done Right
I've been subscribed to a lot of email lists belonging to Internet Marketers, small businesses, and big corporations. Some send emails everyday while others send a few a week. What I hate is when every email is a sales message. You know the ones – they're annoying as hell and after the second or third one you unsubscribe.
Think of an email like an elevator pitch without the pitch. You have two minutes tops to get your point across, the point in this case being a bit of information that's helpful, fun and informative.
What are you going to say?
A great thing about an email is that, like a web page, you can divide it into parts. The header contains your logo which links to your website. The main body of the email is your message. The footer is the magic place. In the footer link to your services and social media accounts. In this way you still have links to the main value you provide but you're not beating your subscriber about the head with it.
But Don't Get Me Wrong…
The reality is that as entrepreneurs and business owners we do need to make money. In order to continue to help people we've gotta pay the bills – we've got to sell.
It's okay to send messages that are sales messages, just don't do it in every email you send.
Advice on ratios of non-sales messages to sales messages vary and really there is no hard and fast rule. It's something to test. However as a general rule of thumb I've seen one sales message out of every eight or nine emails be alright if you send a few emails a week. However even then the sales message is always accompanied by additional useful information.
One definite rule is this: never start an email sequence with sales messages – nothing turns people off faster than to sign up for “more tips & info” and immediately be sold to.
Exceptions To The “Rule”
The exceptions here are e-commerce sites like Amazon and pure product companies like Apple. I don't go to either of these companies to learn – I go for the products they offer.
Amazon sends me fantastic recommendations for products that I might like. These are never annoying and always welcomed as they are highly relevant and based on what Amazon knows I like from my past purchase history.
Apple, while seeming to completely skip recommendations of any kind, send me new product announcements and holiday gift ideas.
Both of these are good e-commerce models to follow.
A Few Parting Tips
I can't stress enough that if you are worried about being salesy don't be. Assuming you are providing valuable services here are some additional tips:
- Educate in your emails – one lesson per email
- Send links to helpful blog posts and lay the foundation for the post in the email
- Ask your subscriber if they have any questions you can answer
- Write an email that has answers to questions others have asked
- If you're holding information webinars let subscribers know
- Major stuff going on in your industry that concerns potential customers? Let them know.
- Not sure of what to put in an autoresponder? Set up a blog broadcast instead. This is super easy with AWeber and allows people to receive (well formatted) blog posts directly to their inbox. That's what we have set up here at Dempsey Marketing (hint: subscribe below!)
- Mix it up with a monthly newsletter that has company updates, helpful information, and a sales message. Guess the order I'd recommend.
And as mentioned earlier don't forget to link to your sales pages in the footer of every email.
How Did You Get Over Your Fear Of Selling?
Do you have a story about how you overcame your fear of selling? Please share it in the comments below.
We look forward to reading it.