a 6-minute read
We can spend all day picking about the inner workings of a business, but at the end of the day, it often comes down to one thing: selling. Perfecting the art of selling will get you far in business and, contrary to common belief, it’s not something that just comes naturally.
There are key features to selling well that, once identified, can be improved upon to boost your business growth. No matter what you’re selling, from cleaning services to designer jeans, the process of building an audience and racking up sales boils down to the same five simple steps:
- Capture Emails
- Connect Regularly to Build and Develop the Relationship
- Add a Ton of Value Before Asking for Anything in Return
- Repeat Step 3 as Much as Possible
- Sell Something Great
Let’s break each step down one-by-one. Once you know what steps you need to work on, your sales numbers will skyrocket.
Step 1 | Capture Emails
All the other steps depend on capturing emails, but most businesses end up skipping it altogether. As a result, they lose out on a whole lot of business before they’ve even started. So why do they make this mistake?
Here are the top three reasons:
- They don’t know how to capture emails.
- They don’t know what to offer in exchange for emails.
- They don’t know what to do with the emails once they have them.
No matter why you’ve been skipping this step, it’s time to stop dancing around the problem and start fixing it. If you want to make sure your marketing campaigns keep returning your investments in the long term, you need to build a database of visitor emails.
Anyone who’s ever visited your website was at least a little interested in what you’re selling. Start capturing their emails and re-engaging with them long after they leave. Keeping your brand and services in front of them, even after they’ve left your website, means that you will be their first port of call when they decide the time is right to make a purchase.
However, few people will be willing to just hand over their email addresses right away. That’s why you need to start with an analysis of your buyers, so you know exactly how to create the most attractive value propositions on your signup forms.
One way or another, though, today’s the day to start collecting visitors’ emails. Don’t let one more lead get away!
Step 2 | Connect Regularly to Build and Develop the Relationship
Once you’ve got a person’s email address, they’re expecting something from you. They found value in the product or service you provide and now they’re expecting you to follow through.
That may not mean a direct sales pitch — in fact, it’s usually best to avoid a sales-y approach at this early stage. But even if a lead isn’t warm and ready-to-buy today, you can (and should) still maintain that relationship until they are.
Stay connected with every lead by delivering useful, relevant content (see Step 3) on email, social media, and paid ads. This ongoing contact is critical to keeping your company at the front of people’s minds, building authority with them, and eventually gaining your prospects’ trust.
Remember, selling is about building relationships, so be prepared to work on them. Every sale is something you will need to earn.
Step 3 | Add a Ton of Value Before Asking for Anything in Return
How do you go about earning a sale?
By proving to your audience that you’re an authority in your field and therefore someone they can trust.
To understand exactly what kind of proof your audience wants, you’ll need a deep understanding of who they are and the actual problems they’re really trying to solve. This is where creating kickass content comes into play.
Think about the last time you investigated a problem online; for example, how to start a blog. You probably searched for things like “best blogging sites” and “free blogging platform,” and maybe also for things like “how to make money blogging” and “how to build a blog audience.”
Along the way, you found a lot of articles that addressed each of these individual questions — but if you found an article (or a series of articles) that walked you through the entire process of launching a successful blog, all the way from creating an account to making money from your posts, then that’d be your most valuable resource by far, wouldn’t it?
Your future customers are also trying to solve big problems online. They search for answers to all the little surface-level questions that pop up along the way — but what they really want to know is, “How do I solve this whole problem?”
When you understand the big problems your audience is trying to solve, you’ll have all the inspiration you need for creating powerful, valuable content. Figure out what your prospects and leads want to accomplish, then walk them through the entire process, one piece of content at a time.
Whether you’re trying to educate or entertain, here are three types of content you absolutely need in the mix:
- Content that solves your customers’ problems or improves their situation.
- Content that explains how your product delivers specific benefits in relation to their problem.
- Content that demonstrates your authority and gives them a reason to buy from you, not your competition.
All three of these points boil down to the same essential principle. If you forget everything else you read in this article, remember this one all-important point:
Every piece of content you publish must add value to your customers’ lives.
It’s great to have targeted, personalized, sales-ready content, but if it doesn’t create value for your customers, it’s utterly meaningless.
Step 4 | Repeat Step 3 as Much as Possible
The best way to sell something is to avoid it at first.
Start by letting your audience get to know you. Earn their trust. Add value to their lives. Then, when they trust you, start thinking about actually selling to them.
The length of this trust-building process depends on what you’re trying to sell, how much it costs, and how much impact it’ll have on the customer’s business (if B2B) or their life (if B2C).
For example, selling a $1M piece of software that will impact how 500 people operate within an organization, is a lot different than selling a $50 pair of sneakers to someone who already has 50 pairs. The more your product costs, and the more of an impact it’ll make, the longer you’ll need to build trust before you’re able to make sales.
Here’s the equation to follow:
Step 5 | Sell Something Great
By the time you actually make a sales pitch, your customers shouldn’t be thinking of you as a salesperson anymore. In fact, they shouldn’t even be thinking of themselves as your customers.
They should see you as an authority in your field, and themselves as recipients of your help. That’s what comes with genuine trust. The closer you can get to that arrangement, the more sales you’ll make.
Your customers aren’t just buying the product or service you offer. They’re buying the experience and customer service you provide.
Pay attention to detail. It’s the little things people remember and talk about. You don’t need to make any dramatic gestures; just think about how you’d like to be treated if you were in your customer’s shoes.
It’s this type of attention that takes your business from being ‘just a product or service’ to being an essential component of your customers’ lives.
Some Final Thoughts
You don’t need to be working on all of these steps all the time. Take it slow and start from the beginning. Build up your email list, build up your content, and then work through each step in turn. You don’t need to have all the answers straight away, but the more work you put into each of the five steps, the better results you’ll see.
If you like the sound of these five steps, but think you need some advice and tips that are more specific to your business, our team is ready to help. Get in touch with ConversionAdvocates’ team of experts for targeted and personalized advice based on our years of experience in the industry. We’re ready to help boost your business!