How many times do you start researching something you were thinking of buying, just to get distracted? Or realise you need to talk to someone else before you buy? Or you’re just doing initial research? How many times do you put things in your online basket and aren’t quite ready to check out yet? How often do you go into a shop just looking for ideas but you want to think about it before you commit?
In other words, how often do you start the ‘buying’ process but don’t finish it? Fairly often, if you’re anything like me.
And your customers will be just the same.
So why then, do we not follow up with these people? Why are we so worried about pestering them or feeling stalky? Surely, if they enquire there is a possibility they might be ready to complete that sale, hopefully with you, at some point soon?
Let me share a story.
I was shopping for a dress online and I got it in my online basket, paid and the payment failed. It was because my card had been cloned earlier in the year and I got a new one, but I’d saved my old card on this site and didn’t realise when I clicked to use it that it was my old one. The message said ‘payment failed’, I couldn’t be bothered to go downstairs right at that point to fetch my purse but I thought I’d remember to go back and get this lovely dress while it was still in stock.
The trouble is, I didn’t. Remember, that is. Even when the store kindly sent me an email an hour later reminding me that I still had things in my basket and I just needed to update my payment method. I meant to do it because I definitely wanted the dress, but I was putting my daughter to bed and by the time I got back downstairs, I was zonked and updating my payment method didn’t even enter my mind.
It wasn’t until I got a phone call the next day from the team at the store – as soon as I answered the phone I knew exactly why they were calling and I was happy to speak to them and finish my purchase but I was just about to go on another call and didn’t have time to speak.
Finally, the following day the team called me, a lovely lady very politely asked if now was a good time and would I like to complete checkout with her. I did indeed want to and I finally bought the dress.
Now, did you see how that worked?
How many steps it took for me to actually buy? It wasn’t because I didn’t want to, it’s just life got in the way. I was really happy to receive the email and 2 phone calls. I didn’t feel pestered or stalked or freaked out. I was just glad they persevered because I wanted to buy that dress but my life is busy and often chaotic and I get tired and forget because I’m a mum and a business owner and a wife and a dog mum and a home educator.
Your Super Customers are just the same and your business could work the same way as the store I bought from.
Imagine if you followed up with customers who put things in their basket but didn’t check out? Imagine if you followed up with people who enquired about services a little while ago but never came back? Imagine if you got your web visitors to sign up to your email newsletter so you didn’t lose them when they left your site. Imagine how many more sales you could achieve and how much more profit you could make? And all you have to do is follow up.
Not in a pestering way or a stalky way. Not in an uncomfortable way. Just in a helpful way because your Super Customers are like me that day, life gets in the way.
You’re helping them like the store helped me and I was happy to be helped.
Yes, you may get people who were genuinely researching and don’t want to buy but at least you have tried to help them and for every one of those, there could be a busy home-schooling mum and business owner whose brain feels like a sieve some days and who will be eternal grateful that you helped her finally buy that thing she wanted. Just a thought.
I remember when I first started out in business – I wasted so much time. Sales were pretty thin on the ground. I did things the hard way and I couldn’t see it because I didn’t know any better.
Take new clients, for example. I was a marketing consultant. I needed small businesses who wanted help with their marketing and would pay for it. I needed quite a lot of them and I spent most of my time wondering where the next client would come from.
I went to networking groups. I had a website. I did a bit on social media. I advertised. I asked around. I did what I thought I needed to do to get more people to find me and hire me. But it was HARD WORK. Really hard work.
My business was like a rollercoaster. I lurched from being stupidly busy to then, when my client projects came to an end (which always seemed to be en masse) to having NO clients, NO money and panicking like a mad woman. It wasn’t good for my blood pressure and it wasn’t good for business.
The thing was, it was hard work because I was doing it the hard way. I needed a train.
Let me explain…
Think of your customers and potential customers as passengers on a train – because every business needs a sales train. You get potential customers or people who have expressed an interest on the train at the furthest station and they get on and off that train at different stops until some of them arrive at YOUR station (the BUY station) and bingo, you have a sale.
Your job is to get them ONTO the train at the far end and keep them moving along the journey, getting back on that train and heading towards you.
There are lots of station stops along the way.
Some people never really get back on after they’ve jumped on the train at the far end and taken a look around. They decide your products or services are not what they were looking for and so they tootle off and find a different train that suits them better. That’s fine, you’re not a perfect fit for everyone.
Some people get on the train and look forward to arriving at the BUY destination but they get stopped along the way. Sometimes they change their minds. Sometimes they don’t have the money right now. Sometimes they were just getting on the train for a look around but don’t actually need what you sell until later in the year, so they aren’t ready to buy. YET.
Some people get on the train but they don’t have enough information. They want to study the timetable and check out the sites, they want more information and they won’t get back on that train until they are 100% certain that it’s what they need.
Other people will get on at the far end, choose the best seat, opt for the EXPRESS route and go straight to BUY in one trip. They are your super customers – we like them.
Your job is to keep getting them back on the train.
Think of yourself as part conductor, part travel agent.
You’re there to keep in touch, keep reminding them why their destination is so good, keep giving them the information they are missing and keep moving them along that journey.
Lots of ways.
First of all you need to get them ONTO the train. You do this by being visible on social media, by having a website, by letting people know what you’re up to and by getting them onto your email list.
Every time they read about you on a blog or someone’s website or you’re mentioned in a Facebook group or by a friend, that will help them get back on the train again. They will be more comfortable progressing because they can see you’re credible and trusted.
Every time you pop up in their newsfeed, they remember why they liked you and they hop back on that train and head along to the next stop to see if they still like you there.
Every time they visit your website or social media pages (especially if you have videos and stories) it helps progress them along the journey because they get a bit of YOU. People buy people and if you share videos and pictures of you, your business, your work, they build a relationship with you. You’re bridging a gap.
Every time they get an email newsletter from you, with information, help, case studies, testimonials, information about events you’re attending and announcements about new products or services – that will get them back on the train because you’re suddenly top of mind again. You reminded them why they were interested in you and you helped them decide to go to the next station stop.
And that last one – the email newsletter bit – that’s the biggie.
The best way to get potential customers along that journey, instead of hopping off at every stop is to keep in touch, build relationships, to show you can help them, to show people trust you and the BEST way to do that is by sending regular e-newsletters.
You can bypass the noise and unpredictability of social media and drop straight into their inbox when you want to. Email newsletters are your express ticket that will speed up your sales train and get those customers along faster and more often because you’re top of mind and when they are ready to buy, they will buy from YOU.
And that’s the bit I was missing, back when I started out.
I totally underestimated the power of e-newsletters and I had no sales train. I had no way of taking people on a journey so that a steady stream of customers would hop off at the my station, already liking and trusting me, already excited and ready to buy. I was trying to take random people from the street and persuade them to come on a long train journey to see me when they didn’t know me. How would YOU react to that? Exactly!
It’s Time To Get Your Train
If you’ve been collecting emails but haven’t done anything with them, the time is now.
If you haven’t been collecting emails, today is the day you start (more about that in next week’s blog)
If you’re not building trust, building relationships and being visible, it’s time to start (videos are a great shortcut)
It’s time for you to set up your sales train and work out how to get people ONTO the train and how to keep people moving along till they reach your station.
Grab your whistle, off we go! Toot toot!
Sales is one of those things that makes us feel really wobbly. I mean, who wants to be described as ‘salesy’? *Shudder*
And heaven forbid, someone thought we were ‘pushy’ or a pest – talk about pushing our buttons. Eeek!
The thing is, though, sales are necessary. You HAVE to sell if you’re in business. You MUST bring money in or the business will fold. If you’re in business, you NEED to sell. So how do you magic up sales out of nowhere when you’re not sure where to start?
Well, the secret is that they never come out of nowhere – there is always a whole lot of magic going on to make them happen but the brilliant news is you have EVERYTHING you need in your own personal magic kit already.
Sales doesn’t have to be pushy. It doesn’t have to be annoying. If you realise a couple of things, you can do it effortlessly, painlessly – it won’t bother you a bit. In fact you will start to do it naturally, as if by magic!
Let me tell you how to become a sales magician.
What All Sales Magicians Know
There is something you need to know before we even get started and that is that a sale is not the end of the journey, nor is it the beginning – its somewhere in the middle. This is a biggie.
A Sale Is Not The Beginning Of The Journey
The people who think that a sale is the beginning of the sales journey are the people who will go into a group on Facebook and spam, spam, spam and try to sell before they have even talked to you. Or people who latch onto you at networking meetings and ram their service down your throat before you’ve had time to blink. They think that a sale is the beginning of a relationship and it really isn’t. In fact, this is the best way to switch potential customers OFF.
A Sale Is Not The End Of The Journey
The people who think that the sale is at the end of the relationship are people who will sell to you and you never hear from them again. They vanish into thin air. They only care about meeting their targets, getting new people in, it’s all about numbers. As soon as you have a problem or need help, they are nowhere to be found – I’ll bet you’ve had that happen to you, right?
A Sale Is THE WHOLE JOURNEY
Sales don’t just happen. They begin with you setting out your stall, real or online.
- Sales begin with you understanding who your best customers are because you can’t market to everyone, so you may as well market to the people who are most likely to buy from you.
- Sales begin with you offering products and services that are a great fit for the people you’re targeting – and with you showing them really clearly why you are perfect for them.
- Sales begin with you building a reputation, showing you know your stuff, showing you’re credible and that you’re a person your customers can trust with their money.
- Sales begin with you making it really easy for people to buy
Sales magicians know this.
Once you get all that in place (and it’s not hard, it just takes a little thought and time) then the actually SALE where you receive money is much more likely to happen. But that’s not the whole story.
The best businesses have customers who keep coming back. The best businesses have loyal fans who tell their friends and leave great reviews. The best businesses know that the money part is the middle of the journey.
About The Coming Back Thing…
Even if you think you’re in a business where you don’t get repeat customers, for example if you sell wedding dresses, think again.
My local wedding dress shop contacts you after your wedding and says would you like us to turn your wedding dress into something you can wear, a christening dress, cushions, what would you like us to do with your wedding dress? Would you like us to preserve it, to get it cleaned and frame it? Would you like to link up with our favourite photographer for a ‘Wreck The Dress’ photo shoot?
There is always a way to add more value.
There is always a way to continue to build that relationship.
There is always a way to increase your sales in the process, with customers who already love and trust you.
What Makes A Sales Magician Different?
So let’s look at what makes a sales magician different to your average bear.
- Sales magicians have got warm and inviting shops or websites, that their customers love and where they feel at home.
- Sales magicians make it really easy to buy – they keep it really simple, with no extra hurdles and they make it very clear what their customers need to do.
- Sales magicians know what their customers need – they are like mind readers! They know their best customers very well because they watch and listen and ask questions. They make sure they are providing what their buyers need. When was the last time you asked your customers what they need and how you could better help them?
- Sales magicians are not pushy, but helpful – this is how they turn potential buyers into sales.
- Sales magicians are the people you instantly think of when you need ‘a website’, ‘a posh dress’, ‘some advice on supplements’ because they are seen as the ‘go to’ person for that product or service.
- Sales magicians have a regular e-newsletter that goes out to their subscribers and customers and they send it religiously, every month or week. They know how important it is to stay top of mind and build relationships.
- Sales magicians have successful businesses because they think like business owners, they price properly, understand what’s important and focus on the things that make a difference.
- Sales magicians understand that the SALE, the exchange of money, is just part of the experience. And that’s why they sell more, effortlessly.
So, Are You Ready To Be A Sales Magician?
I think you are.
Hopefully you can see now that a sale is part of a journey, there’s a lot of before and after involved.
A sale is much more likely to come if you have figured out who is most likely to buy from you, if you are keeping in touch with them via e-newsletters and staying top of mind.
A sale is more likely to come if you have created products and services that your customers want, because they have told you.
A sale is much more likely to come if you are making yourself visible so potential customers can find you and see what you do.
Sales come because you work at making them happen, you become a sales magician by putting into practice all the things we’ve talked about here.
You’ve got your magic kit, now go make it happen!
Sales are slow, money isn’t flowing, and yet I’ll bet you have potential sales sitting in your business RIGHT now, only you can’t see them yet. They are hidden – you just need to ask the right questions to unlock them and get the sales flowing.
So let’s get started and although the first thing seems really obvious, most people don’t do it.
1. What Could I Sell Right Now?
The first question I want you to ask yourself is ‘what could I sell right now? What have you got that’s made, nearly made, almost there, sitting there, not being used, old stock, old equipment, what could you sell right now?
In my business, I create products, I’ve got lots of products that are maybe a couple of years old and I haven’t sold for a while and I can turn them into self-study programs, so I can sell those right now. I could sell coaching sessions right now. I could sell strategy sessions right now. I could sell mastermind places right now. So there are things that I could sell right now.
What could you sell right now if you put your mind to it and thought about what you have, already done, that maybe just needs a tweak or a repackage or could just be sold as it is. What could be turned into money, in your business, TODAY?
2. What Could I Sell To My Existing Customers?
Have all of your customers bought everything they could from you? I’m guessing the answer is no.
If you’re sitting there thinking “I need to get some money in”, you’ve probably got potential sales right there on the table, you just need to make them happen. When was the last time you let your customers know what else you sell? How many did you follow up with lately, to check they have everything they need? And how many have probably gone out and bought stuff over the last few months that YOU could have sold them, except you didn’t tell them, so they didn’t know? Hmmm
I suspect you have people in your database who have already bought from you who just need a little nudge, an email or phone call, to say ‘did you know that we do this, I think you would really like it’. Or ‘did you know that we do this and would like a sample or a try?’ I am sure you could drum up some very quick business that way, you just have to be proactive. Even if they say no, you have still shown you are thinking of them, which is GREAT for relationship building and will keep you top of mind for next time.
3. What Can I Create, Quickly?
What are your customers and potential customers waiting for, that you don’t sell YET? You’re so busy DOING that you haven’t had time to tap into some really obvious opportunities. If you know you have people waiting for a product or service that they would buy right away, make time to create it. It doesn’t have to be a huge project – you might be able to spend a day putting a small, easy-to-create product or service together that would sell like hot cakes. You wouldn’t believe how often I’ve suggested this for my clients and when they actually get on and DO it, people BUY from them. Can you create a little add-on to a current product or service? How about a little workshop? A mentoring option? A bundle? A subscription? Don’t sweat about it – go for a quick and easy pilot project and refine it if, and when it sells.
4. What Could I Sell To New Customers?
We have looked at existing customers, but if you know there are people within your network or crowd that haven’t bought from you, it’s because you haven’t put the right thing out there, YET. Think about the people in your network, think about the people on your database, the people who’ve been quiet, the people on social media who haven’t yet bought anything from you. And the key word here is yet. What are they waiting for, that you could create quickly and sell to new customers? How could you create a ‘dip your toe in the water’ product or service? A taster? A sample? A little non-scary, small-commitment-type of thing that will let them quickly see if you are right for them? Do it!
5. What Problems Can I Solve?
What problems are there out there that your products or services solve? Have a brain dump, get a big notebook and pen and just think about what people say about what you do, what people love about your products and services, what people feedback about them, what they ask for, what questions that they ask, the reason is that they give you for buying. And then think about what you could put out there that will solve problems for your crowd.
6. What Time-Sensitive Packages Could I Put Together?
If you are trying to create money quickly is there anything you can put together quickly that has got a limited lifespan? Here’s another example, I knew that there was a need for a book for ladies who were trying to run their business with their children in the school holidays, so I very quickly wrote, edited, put together, typeset THAT BOOK, and got it on Amazon and Kindle within nine days – a book for women and it’s called SOS A Business Mums Survival Guide for the School Holidays.
That was done very quickly because it was for a window of opportunity that was the UK school holidays. It needed to be written super-fast and I just sat down and did it, because I knew if I didn’t do it I would lose that window of opportunity. So think about what you can create which is time sensitive, which is specific to something going on now and seize the moment, make the most of it.
7. What Are My Super Customers Searching For?
Your Super Customers are the people who are most likely to buy from you, those people who are a great fit for your business. Thinking about your Super Customers, what are they looking for on Google right now? What are they struggling with? What do they need this time of you? What’s going on in their life right now that they need your help with? And what can you put together for them? Whatever it is, how can you tap into it? Go!
Any time you get stuck or sales dry up, ask yourself these questions – there is always a way to get sales flowing. Asking yourself these questions will spark something in that big brain of of yours and get you fired up – it only takes one good idea to turn a business around and you are more capable of doing it. Just keep asking yourself the right questions and the sales will come!
Did you know there are sales sitting right there in your business, you’ve not found yet?
They are waiting patiently for you to do a couple of things and, once you do those things you’ll find these sales start to come in – kerching!
At the moment they are just out of your reach because you haven’t learned how to tap into them yet. But after reading this, you will!
It’s your CUSTOMERS. Not new customers. Existing customers. People who have already bought from you.
They know you, like you, trust you and they’ve seen the quality of what you sell. They are convinced of your value. They have bought from you. You’ve done the hard work. And yet you’re not helping them as much as you could. And that’s a shame!
What’s the problem that’s keeping you from helping them even more and selling more in the process?
You Assume They Know About Everything You Sell
Let me share a little home truth with you.
Just because somebody buys one or two things from you, DOES NOT MEAN they know about everything else.
There’ll be lots of clients and customers who come back, again and again and buy the same thing.
You’d think they’re aware of everything else that you sell, right?
Surely they looked through your website, or had a good look at what you’ve got on sale?
You’d think so.
But let me share something with you – there’s a really, really high chance that they don’t know even half of what else you sell.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are buying products or service from other people, that they COULD be buying from you – if they knew you sell it.
Why Don’t Your Customers Know About Everything You Sell?
People are blinkered and busy. They are NOT MIND-READERS!
They usually know what they are looking for and, once they find it they just buy it.
Unless someone is in a ‘browsing’ type of mood, they just pop into your shop or onto your website and buy what they always buy.
They probably don’t even take much notice of what else is there, they’re on autopilot.
In fact I bet you’ve often done the same, right?
So, what can you do to MAKE your customers and clients aware of everything else you have on offer? How can you snap them out of their autopilot buying habits and show them the rest of your awesome stuff?
The thing you have to remember is your customers and clients are not mind readers, you need to LET THEM KNOW about everything that you do. Don’t assume they will come looking. Don’t assume it’s on their radar. Don’t assume they will remember. Don’t assume ANYTHING otherwise you’re leaving your sales to chance and missing opportunities all over the place.
Let’s look at how you can show your lovely existing customers what you’re made of and get them to buy more next time (and every time thereafter)
E-newsletters Keep You Top Of Mind
The first thing that you can do is to send out a regular e-newsletter to your existing customers and clients. Use Mailchimp or some other emailing software that keeps you compliant with the SPAM laws and get writing. It needs to really add value and be worth their while to open and read it.
What could you include?
Well, every month you might showcase a different product or a different service or a different range.
If you did that you could cover 12 products or services in one year without feeling as though you are hassling or bombarding your customers. From your customer’s perspective, they will love the fact you’re showing them things they love and they’ll be surprised they weren’t aware. You’ll probably get them contacting you saying ‘I didn’t know you sold this!’
To add value you could also share ‘how to’ tips and videos, do product reviews, share offers and competitions – I’ve got some good e-newsletter tips for you in this blog and some more here.
Social Media Is Great For Showcasing
If your customers follow you on social media (and if they’re not, make it really easy for them to do so) you can showcase your products and services and make them aware of everything you do without being overtly ‘salesy’. You can share photos on Facebook and ask for comments. Maybe put a couple of variations of a product or service in a Facebook post and ask people to say which is their favourite. You can have a product of the week and even run promotions on it.
Pinterest is great for showcasing visual products – set up boards for certain brands or product ranges, have ‘new stock’ boards, ‘sale’ boards and even mood boards if you sell something that you can match up with props or accessories. Think about creating boards with links to product demo videos. Have a ‘what people are saying’ board and put your testimonials in there. Invite your customers to follow you and ask them what they would love to see.
Twitter lets you share photos too and you can join in with local or industry networking hours to shout about your products of the week.
Instagram is another great way to showcase products that photograph well – use hashtags to make sure you appear in searches.
And don’t forget YouTube – it’s one of the biggest search engines after Google and you can point your customers in the direction of your YouTube channel to see product demonstrations, interviews with you, interviews with customers and suppliers, answering frequently asked questions – there are loads of great ways to use YouTube – here is one blog with some great tips and here’s another to help with videos.
Ask your customers if they are on social media when they buy and make it really easy for them to follow you. If you have a physical shop or premises, put your social media links on business cards on the counter, pop one into each product bag, hand one out with each receipt. Put stickers on your windows and put your FB / Twitter / Pinterest addresses on your uniforms, receipts, stationery, company vehicles – you need to keep top of mind and if your customers are on social media, you need to be too.
If you have your customers there in person or on the phone, just say ‘I’m not sure if you know we do this? Did you know that we do this?’ or say ‘Oh look, I’ve just done a little price list or a little overview of what we do in our business, can I just give you this because I’m not sure that I’ve told everybody what exactly we have to offer and you might be interested in some of the other things that we do’.
Pop a business card with your social media links and website in with their receipt.
Put some ‘bundle’ deals together – bring out things to the front of the shop that are normally not great sellers and bundle them with popular items.
Use the AMAZON effect – when they buy something, say ‘ooh lots of ladies are buying that with THIS because it really complements it’ – think about when you buy from Amazon and it says ‘people who bought that also bought this’ or ‘suggested products we think you might like’.
Ask your customers for their email address and if they’d like to hear from you once a month – you’ll be surprised how many say yes.
On Your Website
Finally, make sure that your website is up to date and it has all of the products and services on there that your customers will love.
If you have a shopping cart or you have some kind of slide show or carousel feature on your front page of your website, try featuring a new product every month.
Think about having a new products or a product of the month or service of the month, brand of the month if you sell other people’s brands.
Have a plan to showcase all your products. Use the Amazon effect we talked about earlier. Show people what they are missing.
Just Imagine How Your Business Would Look
Imagine if every customer who bought from you:
- Tried something new each time
- Increased their order each time
- Recommended you to their friends
- Bought bundles instead of single products
- Took notice of your suggestions and added to their order
- Kept coming back and spent 10% or 20% more each time
Can you imagine how your profits would look? How much more income you’d bring in JUST by making your existing customers aware of what you do?
This isn’t scary selling; This is customer service.
You’re making life easier for your customers and helping them find other products and services that are a great fit with what they already love.
If you’re not doing this you’re seriously missing out.
I challenge you to implement just ONE THING I’ve talked about today that you’re not doing and see what happens. Then come back and tell me how you did!