Lots of entrepreneurs struggle when it comes to making sales. Though there are many possible reasons for this, I’ve found one mistake in particular that small business owners make time and again. This is something that kills sales—especially sales of higher priced items—like nothing else. Luckily it is also fairly easy to avoid.
So what is this big mistake?
Asking for the sale too soon!
All too often small business owners are so focused on making a sale right now today, they’re oblivious to what’s going on in the prospect’s mind. So they come up empty handed time after time. And they fail to build a community of repeat customers who buy from them time and again. Here’s why…
People don’t like to be sold, they like to buy. And they like to buy from someone they know, like and trust. On top of that, people jump at the chance to buy things they really believe are going to be of value to them.
So if they don’t know who you are, or the value you, your products or your services have to offer, chances are they won’t risk spending their hard-earned dollars with you…Especially if what you are selling costs more than $100.
After all, would you pay $3000 for a two-day seminar from someone you’ve never heard of? What about $1200? Or even $500? Probably not.
Because unless someone gives you a direct referral, how do you know you are going to get your money’s worth? Or any value at all? For all you know, it could be a big scam or one long sales pitch. And your potential customers often feel the same way.
So instead of pushing people to buy your products or services, give them ways to get to know, like and trust you. The sales will automatically follow.
Here’s another way to look at it…
Think of your business like an old-fashioned swimming hole. Now, most people are not going to just jump in when they first get to a new swimming hole–especially if they can’t see the bottom.
Instead they might start by dipping a toe in to test the water temperature. Or asking how deep the water is, and whether the bottom is sandy, rocky or slimy.
Once they feel more confident that the experience is going to be what they want, they might wade in a ways before fully submerging.
If all goes well, then they might think about jumping in off surrounding cliffs, or hitting the rope swing. Because now they know the water is plenty deep and warm.
Of course, some folks are willing to risk it and dive in right away—especially if someone who’s done it before says it is okay. And that’s fine. Nothing’s stopping them.
But most people are going to want to ease in to one degree or another.
So the key to getting more people to buy from you—especially high-dollar items—is to create a series of smaller steps that let them wade in and test the waters before taking a bigger, more risky leap.
How? It’s simple really…
1) Always offer plenty of free information. There’s lots of ways to do this including:
+ Mailing out a regular newsletter
+ Putting free useful content on your Website
+ Starting an e-zine and/or blog
+ Offering a free report
+ Public speaking live or via teleseminars or Webinars
+ Giving away a trial size or introductory version
+ Adding helpful audio or video to your Website
2) Stay in front of them.
You want your target customers to recognize your name and/or brand, and begin thinking of you in positive terms. Familiarity breeds confidence because people start to feel they know you. And they see that you aren’t just going to be here today, gone tomorrow.
Plus, studies have shown that when given a choice between two identical items, people will chose the one who’s brand name is most familiar every time.
3) Create a series of complementary products or services at different price points. Someone who is not willing to sign up for your $3000 seminar might happily risk buying a $19.95 e-book, or taking a free teleseminar.
So offer some things that are f*ree, then others that are gradually more expensive. People may start out downloading your f*ree information. But once they see the value you deliver, they will come back for more.
If you’re doing all this, then the key to ongoing sales success is making sure that everything you produce—whether you give it away or sell it—is high-quality, valuable and helpful. Because the first impression you make will determine whether or not they come back again.
Once potential customers see that you know your stuff, and have solutions for their problems and needs, they will begin to trust you—and buy more and more of your fabulous products and services.
So don’t just try to sell…Focus on building a relationship in steps and letting people get to know you, and the sales will automatically follow.