Guess what? In order for you to succeed in business you need to make sales. Our firm helped over 150 individuals open their ‘bricks and mortar’ business with over an 80% success rate after five years of being in business. Our success rate was predicated on two factors: we did a lot of screening of people who wanted to establish a business; and those who went on to open their business we provided small business training and then coached them through their ups and downs.
During the review process we screened out more people than we accepted. One factor we considered was their ability to sell. More than one of those individuals said that they wanted to start a business but didn’t want to sell. That was o.k. if they could hire salespeople, but if they couldn’t they needed to put their salesperson hat on. We found the comment “I don’t want to sell” a red flag because the lifeblood of any business is all about attracting and retaining customers.
Over the past couple of years I have been moving my successful face-to-face consulting and training business to an on-line business.
Common to both internet and face-to-face businesses is the ability to market and sell. There is a difference though between marketing and selling. Marketing is about informing your community or potential customers about your business and what it has to offer. Selling is about closing the deal once you have a customer or potential customer in front of you.
Marketing for both businesses most often deals with potential customers who you don’t normally see. It is about attracting leads to your business through all matter of ways, such as advertising, public relations, providing good information, promotion, attending trade shows and more.
There is a difference, however, when it comes to selling. In a bricks and mortar business the sale most often occurs during face-to-face encounters but in an internet business the sale most often is faceless. During an internet sale you need to help people decide to buy your product or service without actually seeing them. However, there are aids to this. Most successful Internet Marketers call upon the visuals of You Tube, and keep in touch through Skype, Zoom or Facetime. So although not physically present, we can make a virtual presence.
The essential key for both businesses to making sales and maintaining customers is the ability to develop long-term relationships.
I still regard myself as a newbie in the internet marketing world, but I have learned some valuable lessons along the way. Here are some of them.
1. Email those on your email list on a regular basis with something of value outside of selling a product. Most emails I get from internet marketers are about products they are promoting (read, selling). Rarely do I receive anything from them outside of product promotion. Yes, they do offer “bonuses” if you buy, but that is a promotional element as an enticement to buy.
2. Send emails to all those who send emails to you. Share one of your best practices with them. Don’t sell anything with this strategy, just build a relationship and add value.
3. Pick out 10 people on your list every week and email them a relevant PDF, eBook or article with a note that you are thinking of them.
4. Blast out a ‘Thank You’ to all those on your list. They are helping you become successful. Don’t wait until you’ve made it as they are helping you today along your journey.
5. Check your marketing strategy and ask yourself whether you are selling stuff or asking how you can help others. Make sure your strategies are about adding value.
6. Find out what your internet marketing associates need, both those who market and sell to you as well as those who you consider your mentors and support system. Be bold and ask them what you can do for them or what they need. You may be surprised when you hear their answer.
7. Strengthen distant relationships by telling stories on YouTube or in emails about your experiences such as what’s working for you and how it may help others. For instance, I often tell stories about my consulting experiences and how it relates to my new internet marketing venture; others tell stories about how they have risen from the brink of bankruptcy to a successful on-line business.
8. Start a Facebook group to share information and learn from each other. I found you don’t have to be an internet marketing guru to share information. You just have to be honest, forthright and ethical. And join Facebook groups where you offer suggestions and respond to other requests, rather than joining only to mine new contacts for your own marketing and selling benefit.
9. Coordinate a webinar where you and others share information about what is working and discuss how to resolve specific marketing issues.
10. Communicate regularly through social media such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and others.
11. Provide freebies to those on your list. They could be copies of your own blog posts, PLR articles or eBooks you think will help them. Don’t expect something in return and be surprised because the return will come. It’s a very simple strategy, ‘give to get’.
12. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify. The genius in us makes the complex simple. I find there is too much complexity in the internet marketing world. I’ve learned most from those who explain the complex in simple terms – it tells me they understand. Often when we explain things in complex terms it makes us feel important, but when we do it with simplicity it humbles us.
13. Join an internet make money online training program such as Breakthrough (I’m a member).
14. Keep learning. There is a wealth of information on YouTube about internet marketing and selling. Here are a few I pay close attention to: Trevor Carr, John Chrestani, Caffienated Blogger, Jonas Lindgren, Jono Armstrong, Richard Fairburn, Paul O’Keef, ODI productions, Project Life Mastery, and Paul Nichols.
15. Just like ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses, internet marketers have national and international conferences where they learn, socialize and expand their business acumen. If you can take advantage of these, and if you can’t I found that at least the learning is often posted. You can find out about them through your network of internet marketers.
16. Leads, Leads and Leads. Making money online is in your list building capacity. Many of us when starting out don’t have a list – or have a list from another life.
17. And, don’t forget the importance of face-to-face encounters. Remember your professional associates and personal network and ask them how you can add value to what they do.
18. Just as you are an internet marketer and seller, you are also a buyer. Here are a few cautions about products you purchase:
These 18 marketing and selling strategies boil down to: Learn from others: simplify the complex; add value without expecting a return; communicate consistently; continually search for leads; do everything with integrity; keep grounded; and always say thank you.
Thank you to all those who are helping me along my journey and thank you for reading.