There is a lot of confusion surrounding online marketing and how to sell online. It’s a frequent misconception that selling services or products online requires the same sales process as selling in a physical store. In order to successfully sell either products or services online, you must first set out a logical sales process that will enable people to either buy or enquire quickly and easily.
Most website owners believe that people should or will buy from them if they simply visit their website. Unfortunately this rarely happens and websites that are successful in converting visitors into customers use other techniques and strategies to build a relationship with their customers.
The typical sales process that a lot of failing businesses use is either a one or two step sales process that relies on a natural flow of people to land on their website and for them to find their own way around the store in the hope that they will make a purchase. These are often the business owners that also post a boring, un-informative post on Facebook now and then that just say something along the lines of “we provide accountancy services” with no link to their website or a dedicated sales page and expect enquiries to roll in.
There are a number of reasons why those techniques do not work. First of all how often do you immediately buy a product or a service from someone that you don’t know anything about, or from someone that has little to no reputation along with having no security over your payment information, warranties or guarantees for products and so forth? You have probably never followed this sales process when you buy something, so why do you expect others to follow such a risky, un-informative process? As a business owner it’s your responsibility to ensure that multiple marketing channels are used to bring in visitors.
There tends to be a higher conversion rate for online product sales that use a more direct approach than those that sell services. It’s best practice to implement a relationship building, conversion rate optimised sales process regardless of whether you sell products or services.
Below is an example of an effective sales process that we advise you to use in order to increase conversion rates for your business:
- Offer an incentive for people to give you their contact information. Giving people a free report, a taster, a free trial or a sample of your product or service is a great way to leverage the exchange.
- People giving you their contact information are also providing you with permission to contact them. You should avoid trying to sell to them at this point. It’s time to build the relationship, a ‘welcome’ or ‘I hope that you enjoyed our guide’ email or something similar would work best to take the relationship to the next stage.
- Once the free offer has been obtained, their contact information provided and the welcome email received, it’s time to warm things up with this prospect. Create and send out 3-6 information related emails to your prospects over the following months, not going for the hard sell just yet is a powerful step towards gaining a sale at a later date.
- Now that your relationship is established, your prospect knows who you are, what you do, how you have helped others and other information that you share. At this stage you are entitled to take a more direct approach when you make contact. Inviting your prospects to a meeting or asking for a sale should now work if you have implemented the prior stages effectively.
- Watch the sales come in and continue to make contact with prospects as they are likely to convert at some point, whether that’s in two week or two years time and anyone that has bought from you previously is now even more likely to buy from you again if you have something else to offer.
As you can see, selling online requires a strategy of its own and this is just a basic sales process that excludes social media, online video, direct mail and many other marketing channels. It’s the process itself that you should be paying particular attention to as it’s the process that affects whether a sale is made or not.