One very common mistake that online service professionals make is providing endless information on their website, blog, or ezine without asking for anything in return (i.e. selling a product or service). Now, that doesn’t really make much sense, does it? How do you stay in business if you don’t have any sales?
I have had clients who simply like to have their products sit obscurely for sale on their websites and do little to make their list members or website visitors aware of what they have for sale for fear of offending their visitors or subscribers. If someone is going to be offended because you’re trying to sell to them, then just let them go. You don’t need a list of tire-kickers who want to sponge all the free info that they can from you and never buy anything — you’ll never be able to stay in business that way.
Why don’t service professionals want to sell? I think there are 3 basic reasons:
1. They are uncomfortable with the process (self-esteem issues tied to not believing in themselves or their product or service) and never ask for the sale.
2. They believe the members of their contact list will revolt if they receive any sales messages.
3. They don’t possess a “sales mindset.”
I have to chuckle when I do a promotion and get an email from someone on the list who chastises me for “daring” to sell to them and notes that they much prefer to “decide” when they want to buy something from me and then they threaten to leave the list. I just respond that I’m sorry that they feel that way, but unfortunately I’m not a trust-fund baby, and that my hard-earned information has the same value as any info that they might get from their car mechanic, doctor, attorney, or accountant, and I’ve never seen any of those professionals give away what they know. Unfortunately, when you own an online business, you have to educate your target market that you have to charge for information.
I’ve come to discover that what’s missing in many online business owners is a sales mentality. Creating a sales mentality means that you need to acknowledge that you’re in business to make money through selling and that your customers need to become accustomed to having you sell and seeing things for sale all over your websites. Sounds simple, right?
What does an online business owner need to do to foster his/her own sales mentality? Here are 5 strategies to make online selling easier:
1. Acknowledge that selling is integral to your business. Sales isn’t a dirty word. How you perceive selling, however, might be. Many online business owners think, “I’m a [fill in industry here], not a salesperson. I need to hire someone to sell for me.” Fact is, YOU are really your own best sales person. If you don’t believe in the value of what you offer, why will anyone else? In order to make a living, others must know about and buy what you’re offering. They’re only able to do this is you have a process by which you educate them to give you money for your expertise.
2. Get your list accustomed to seeing sales pitches from you. When’s the last time you sent a promotional email to your list? Online business owners need to send at least 2 solo promotional emails a month to their list in order to remain “top of mind” for a specific problem held by their target market. Don’t overuse this tactic, however. I’ve seen service professionals email their lists 4-6 times per week, causing email fatigue with the recipients, who decide that they don’t want any more emails from that person and opt off that list. I limit myself to one weekly email that is my ezine, which contains promotional material, as well as one promotional email when I’m running a sales special or am holding a special event.
3. Ensure that your marketing materials tell prospects how to buy. Make it as easy as possible for your contact list to buy from you. If you’re selling information products, make the “buy now” button readily apparent on your sales pages. If you’re selling a service, give your target market several options to contact you to buy your service — by email, voice mail, instant message, etc.
4. Incorporate the “law of attraction” into your sales mentality. A sales mentality doesn’t have to equate to slimy. I think one of the most attractive ways to sell yourself is by sharing your knowledge and expertise with your target market. As a matter of fact, I’m often told that this is one of the reasons people seek me out to hire me — I don’t hide what I know and am willing to share freely, within reason, of course. I think of selling as helping my prospects solve their problems, and my enthusiasm is evident as we start to brainstorm and dissect how to rid them of a particular problem. Let your enthusiasm for problem-solving serve as your attraction mechanism for new clients.
5. Show your prices. Many service business owners won’t list their pricing or fee structure anywhere on marketing materials because they feel it’s necessary to “sell” themselves on how wonderful they are via a 1:1 conversation before discussing money. I don’t really want to work that hard. I’d rather prospects come to me fully informed about all aspects of working with me. Be open and transparent with your pricing — don’t make prospects jump through hoops to ascertain if they can afford to hire you. I use my fees as a screening device — those who can’t afford my rates won’t call, and those who can afford the rate know exactly how much they will spend. Consequently, when people call me to hire me, the first thing they say is, “When can we start working together?” Now, wouldn’t you rather have that type of conversation with a prospect?
A sound sales mentality is necessary for success in any business. Make sure that you’re educating your target market about how to buy from you.
Your Get Clients Online Assignment: Take a moment to assess your website, your blog, your ezine, and other marketing materials. Is it easy to purchase from you? Is it clear that you have a product or service for sale? If not, start incorporating the above suggestions today and see how much your sales increase.
To help you develop your online sales mentality, get your copy of my ebook, Get More Clients Online: How to Get 95% of Your Clients from Internet Marketing, where you’ll learn more about this and other internet marketing strategies that work for online service businesses.
Best-selling author Donna Gunter works with successful business owners who are experts in their fields and established in their industry and are seeking a way to stand out from their competitors. Using her Ideal Clients on Autopilot System©, she helps them determine the exact strategies to generate more qualified leads and better-paying clients with automated systems. This proven system makes all their marketing easier and more effective and they find themselves positioned as the only choice for their clients.