The marketplace is full of competitors, which can be intimidating when you are starting out on your entrepreneurial journey. This is exactly why it is important to learn how to feel confident selling your products/services. Depending on your personality type, this may come easier for some than for others -- but every solopreneur has to be a saleswoman. So, why not get comfortable with it now and save yourself the headache later?
I have struggled in getting comfortable with everything from pitching, to selling, to pricing. But over time, I’ve learned a few key lessons that make sales more formulaic and less emotional. Here are my top 7 sales tips for online entrepreneurs:
1. Build trust with your audience.
Before you sell anything at all, you should build trust with your customers. Your customers can go anywhere for products, but why should they buy from you? Is your site personal? Are you transparent? Do you give value to your visitors? Or, are you throwing ads in your visitors’ faces as soon as they’re on your site, asking them to buy before they’ve had a chance to get to know you?
People buy because of a feeling more than anything. Give your customers reasons to like you, trust you, and want to buy from you before you even offer them anything. For example, if you send an email newsletter, connect with your subscribers by being open and transparent (like you would with your friends). Create a free, valuable opt-in -- perhaps a free checklist, template, or bundled advice. Find ways to create value without asking for money. After you build trust and your audience likes you and is connected, then you can offer them something for a price.
2. Get your visitors used to clicking links.
If you have a subscriber list, consider including links in your emails. This will get your readers used to clicking and will help them become more receptive to promotional links (a tip I learned from Dan Faggella in episode 159 of Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income podcast). Again, keep in mind that you want to build trust first (the email shouldn’t open with an offer to buy your latest product if it’s the first email you’re sending someone).
Instead, draft emails to your subscribers that engage your readers, help them to get to know you, make them trust and like you, and then include links throughout the email to your work, including your latest product. The links can be in the middle of the page or toward the bottom, after you have engaged your readers. In fact, some will argue that you should include just one link in your email -- and that’s fine, too. The point is to get your visitors used to the idea of you providing stuff (some free; others for a price).
3. Use your analytics.
Decide where you want to sell your products by paying attention to your analytics. A good place to start is by looking at your page views. Where are most of your visitors going when they land on your site? If your visitors hang out on your resources page much more often than in your store, then it would be wise to include your products on your resources page.
For me, the most visited page (by far) on my personal finance blog is my store. I know this because of my analytics -- and it’s helped me optimize the page. It would be a shame if I had my products hidden on miscellaneous pages that didn’t make it clear to my visitors where they can spend their money.
Use your analytics (I use Google Webmaster Tools) to help you make intentional choices about where to place your products. For you, it might be a “Start Here” page, a “Work With Me” page, or something entirely different. Once you see trends in how your visitors navigate your site, you can learn how to better optimize it for sales.
4. Pay attention to your brand and your target customer when pricing.
Keep prices in line with your overall brand and your target customers. You pay more at Nordstrom than at Walmart -- but you expect it to be that way. Which brand are you, and are your prices in line with that? There is a market for both Walmart and Nordstrom – you just need to figure out which you are.
Consider your customers, specifically. What types of customers are you targeting? Are you targeting everyone? Females? Female nurses? Female nurses under the age of 30 who have expendable income? Pricing is about the marketplace and it’s about the customer – it is not about you. Be very thoughtful about who your products are best suited for. This will help you be strategic in your pricing and your marketing.
5. Do your market research.
Consider your competitors. Look around and compare what prices competitors are selling similar items for in your niche market. Doing this will give you an idea of what’s already out there and what things are selling for. You can adjust your prices accordingly, or you can completely ignore them if you want to. Generally, it’s smart to stay within what’s considered “market” for what you’re selling because that’s what people are paying, but you might have a good reason to go outside market prices.
For example, maybe all of the online courses that you see for sale include 7-12 modules and are selling for $300-$700. If you have a 20-module course with other extras, you may want to consider pricing your course at $1,000 even though that’s above market for what you’re selling. Regardless of what you decide to do with the information, it’s still better to have the market research and at the very least, have a starting point from which to work.
6. Offer packages with different price points.
Offer packages that give your customers options based on price. This is a lesson I heard on several Smart Passive Income podcast episodes and seems to be widely accepted. Bundle your product into three different priced options ($29.99, $59.99, and $89.99, for example). This allows people with smaller budgets to buy your product while it still gives you the opportunity to earn a lot more from -- and provide more value to -- the people who have more money to spend.
Most people end up buying the middle option (think about it – do you order the cheapest glass of wine on the menu or the second-to-last cheapest?). And quite often, businesses earn the most revenue from the highest-priced item. So, having three packages is a good way to maintain lots of customers and also increase your revenue.
7. Have confidence to sell.
Before you’re convinced that you’re Walmart, I urge you to consider whether you’re actually Walmart or whether you’re Nordstrom that just lacks confidence. It is scary selling products – especially in the beginning (and it is okay to feel this way). Instead of discounting yourself, take a step back and reevaluate your product.
Think about what you’re selling. Think about the value you’re providing to your customers. It’s really important to believe in what you’re selling or you shouldn’t be selling it at all. If you review what you’re selling and you know you are providing tremendous value to your customer, price what your product is worth and not any lower. There is no reason you shouldn’t price high if you’re providing high-end value to your customers.
Start selling, solopreneur
March on and have the confidence to sell, sell, sell. Confidence comes from putting yourself out there through trial, error, and revision -- but you’ll never know if you don’t first try. These steps will get you started. For more specific tactics on gaining confidence selling, I highly recommend To Sell Is Human by Daniel H. Pink and Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone.
PS - One of the best ways to cultivate more sales? Building a loyal, engaged community.