One of my readers asked the other day how to “sell without selling”, which I think is a great way of describing the art of salesmanship. Obviously, you can’t sell without selling…if you don’t sell, then you don’t make sales! But the sentiment came through loud and clear. No one wants to come off as a schmuck. No one wants to be a sleazoid salesman, but the concern remains; we all have to make an actual living. So how do you get it done?
I’ve written before on Next Level Blogger that if you want to make money online, you need to learn how to sell. This is the art of asking for the order. You have to do it, but if you want to survive, you need to learn how to do it well. Do it poorly, and you’ll be a schmuck. Do it well, and well…the results are like magic.
Lessons from the Trenches
When I was doing sales training for door to door sales professionals, I would take trainees in a home with me to watch me do product demonstrations. Watching the real thing is the best way to learn. I would go into a home and put on a huge demo for the homeowners. I was Richard Simmons. I was Billy Mays. The homeowners and I connected; we were laughing together, shaking hands…we were best friends by the time I was done. And when we left the home with an order, I would ask the new salesperson what they thought, if they learned anything about how to sell. Seeing as how they just watched a sale made, it stands to reason that maybe they learned something, wouldn’t you say?
Often, the response from the person I was training would be something like “Well, I don’t feel like you really sold them anything. They just bought it. You showed it to them, and they bought it. I didn’t learn how to sell.” And therein lies the lesson. Good salesmanship is not forced or uncomfortable. It’s friendly, genuine and to be perfectly honest…a lot of damn fun.
Most people think selling is manipulative and underhanded. The fact is that the only time sales fits that description is when the salesperson is manipulative and underhanded. Unfortunately, it happens a lot, and the misconception of all salesman being sleazy is understandable, but it’s just not accurate.
Good selling is honest, transparent and helpful. No one has a problem solving one of their own problems for an affordable and reasonable price. What people don’t want is to be manipulated or duped. So if you don’t want to come off as sleazy…it’s easy; just don’t be a sleaze! And if you don’t want to come off as manipulative, don’t manipulate people.
Is it really as simple as that? Yes, actually.
So how do you make a sale without being manipulative?
Follow these steps:
- Meet with qualified prospects
- Discuss the prospect’s problems in detail
- Have the prospect decide for themselves which of your solutions works best for them
Let me elaborate a bit…
Meet With Qualified Prospects
There is something about blogging that I find fundamentally beautiful. It is the fact that by it’s very design, it attracts qualified prospects. Think about how someone comes to visit your blog. Perhaps they found you in Google while searching for information they need. Maybe they follow a link that they believe will take them to information they want. Perhaps they received an email from a friend saying “hey check out this article”. In nearly all cases, a visitor is on the pages of your blog for one reason…because they’re actually interested in what you’re selling.
That does not mean that you don’t need to be good. You do. Your content needs to rock. And what you sell has to be top notch, because people can sniff out crap from a mile away these days. But if you’re the real deal, and you have something of actual value to offer your readers, blogging automatically attracts the right people to you. This takes care of step one automatically. By blogging, you’re already meeting with qualified prospects.
Discuss the Prospect’s Problems in Detail
If you’re trying to be helpful, what do you do? You meet people at their level. Discuss their problems. This is how people are going to find your blog to begin with. They have a problem. They are going to specifically look for someone talking about that problem in the hopes they can find a solution. This is simply how it works. So, talk about their problems.
This is where real expertise comes in. You have to actually know your business. If you’re just doing something to make some cash, it ALWAYS comes through in your content. However if you really know your subject, and if you really do have a valuable solution for people, you will have no problem writing at length about the problems that your product or service can solve.
Don’t talk about yourself or your product. Talk about your prospect and the problems they face.
Case in point: have you been reading this post this whole time thinking “man this guy is such a sleaze; he’s just trying to sell me on why I should hire him as a consultant, to help me take my business to the next level by improving my sales and marketing tactics online”?
If you’ve read this far, I’d wager that’s not what’s on your mind! You’re most likely reading the post because it connects with an issue you’re having. Why in the world would you be reading this post if you weren’t interested in learning how to make more money online or market your business more effectively on the internet? And as luck would have it…if you happen to want a more personalized and one-on-one solution for your business, I can help you with that. Big coincidence, huh? 😉
Have the Prospect Decide for Themselves Which of Your Solutions Works Best for Them
Online, asking for the order is simple. All you have to do is make your solutions easily available. By focusing on the prospect’s problems, you’ve drawn them in. You’ve attracted qualified and interested visitors. And now, consider why they’re there. To solve a problem, correct? And your entire page happens to be filled with links and additional resources that they can explore. All of which solve their problem, and all of which add to your bottom line.
Perhaps your article is all they needed for right now. Or perhaps they’re not quite ready to purchase anything just yet. That’s totally fine. That’s why you give them many opportunities to easily subscribe. And that’s why you offer enticements and invitations to revisit your blog regularly. And that’s why you keep your content coming regularly. And that’s why you keep the quality high. If you know your stuff, and if you continue to connect with them, at some point one of your solutions will connect with them as well.