You have a great product.
But that alone isn’t enough to build a business.
You also need to know how to sell that product effectively.
Today we are going to discuss nine techniques that will help you do that.
Are you ready to increase your sales?
#1 Clearly Define Your Dream Customers
You can’t be effective at selling if you don’t know exactly who are you selling to.
That’s why you should start by clearly defining your dream customers.
Who is Buying Your Products?
Have you already made some sales?
Then the process of identifying your dream customers is straightforward:
- Take a look at your sales data.
- Identify the traits that your existing customers have in common.
- Use those shared traits to define your dream customers.
You can also apply the Pareto principle:
“For many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes (the “vital few”)”.
So once you have analyzed your customer base as a whole, you can then take a closer look at the 20% of the customers that bring in 80% of the revenue (the ratio doesn’t have to be exactly 80/20). What traits do they have in common?
You can then use those traits to define your dream customers which will help you attract more people like that.
What if You Don’t Have Any Sales Data Yet?
Okay, but what if your product is brand new, meaning you have no sales data yet?
Then you’ll have to make an educated guess as to who would benefit from it the most. You probably already have some idea, you just need to make the definition more concrete.
And once you start making sales, use that data to get a better understanding of who your dream customers are.
Don’t Be Afraid To Disqualify People. Stop Wasting Your Time!
Leads can be divided into two categories:
- Low-quality leads that are unlikely to convert to paying customers.
- High-quality leads that are likely to convert to paying customers.
Proactively disqualifying the former can help you attract more of the latter.
Plus, you won’t have to waste time on those who aren’t a great match, which means that you will be able to dedicate more time to serving your dream customers.
Our co-founder Russel Brunson does consulting where he builds sales funnels for businesses.
However, he only works with existing businesses that have generated a minimum of $3 million in annual sales. And he makes that super clear.
This criterion eliminates the vast majority of companies but it allows him to focus on serving his dream consulting clients.
#2 Understand Your Dream Customers Better Than They Understand Themselves
Okay, so you have clearly defined your dream customers, what’s next?
Now you need to take time to learn more about them so that you would understand them better than they understand themselves.
Meet Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is an idea that was proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”.
The gist is that human needs are organized in a hierarchy that goes from our physiological survival needs to self-actualization needs.
We have to satisfy the needs at each stage in order to feel motivated to pursue the needs of the next stage and continue ascending the hierarchy.
Typically this hierarchy is represented by the so-called Maslow’s Pyramid:
This idea has received a lot of criticism, but it remains popular to this day, presumably because it makes so much sense to the layperson.
Academic squabbles aside, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can be helpful when you are trying to understand your dream customers. Where on the hierarchy are they?
Identifying the needs that are of primary importance to them right now will allow you to sell your product more effectively by emphasizing how it is going to help them meet those needs.
Go Where Your Dream Customers Hang Out Online
Your dream customers are already speaking their minds.
You just need to figure out where they hang out online and observe the conversations happening there.
Here are some ideas:
- Check out relevant subreddits on Reddit.
- Join relevant Facebook groups.
- Register to niche online forums.
Also, if you know that there’s a paid online community that is frequented by your dream customers, don’t hesitate to invest in a membership.
Use Text Analytics Software to Analyze Online Conversations
Consider taking your customer research to the next level by using text analysis to go through enormous amounts of textual data and derive actionable business insights from it.
You can use text analytics software to analyze all tweets that include a specific hashtag.
Depending on the app, this can show you what words and phrases your dream customers use to express themselves, what is their general sentiment on the topic, and so on.
This can be super helpful because it’s often not humanly possible to manually go through all the textual data available.
Interview Your Dream Customers One-on-One
Gerald Zaltman, professor emeritus at the Harvard Business school, explains that there’s a lot of value in conducting one-on-one customer interviews:
“There is now a lot of evidence that personal interviews yield deep insights that can’t be obtained from focus groups.
So, my preference is to conduct in-depth, one-on-one interviews that are enriched by using various techniques from clinical psychology and sociology.
Often, the results of such interviews can be used to design more comprehensive surveys”
Conduct Customer Surveys
Talking about surveys:
They can be a great way to learn more about your customer base.
You can set up an automation where you send a survey to each customer a set number of days after they have made the purchase (just give them time to try your product!).
You might also want to set up an automation where you send a survey to each customer who returned your product or canceled it (in the case of a subscription).
Keep in mind that you need to strike the right balance between gathering information and making the survey easy to complete.
Consider asking 3 multiple choice questions + one open-ended question.
Create a Dream Customer Persona
We humans have evolved to live in small tribes so we aren’t that great at conceptualizing large groups of people.
That’s where customer personas come in. They are fictional characters that represent the average person in your target audience. Consider creating one so that you could make your sales pitch more persuasive.
Don’t try to figure out how to sell to “modeling agency marketing managers in the United States”.
Instead, think about how to persuade “Jane, 32, lives in New York, works as a marketing manager at a modeling agency, etc.” to buy your product.
It’s much easier to craft a compelling pitch when you have a specific person in mind, even if that person is fictional!
#3 Create a Value Ladder Sales Funnel
Our co-founder Russel Brunson has developed a sales funnel model called the Value Ladder that we believe is the most effective way to sell online.
Here’s how it looks like:
It consists of four stages:
- Bait. You offer the potential customer a lead magnet in exchange for their email address.
- Frontend. You offer the potential customer your least expensive and least valuable product.
- Middle. You offer the customer a more expensive and more valuable product.
- Backend. You offer the customer your most expensive and most valuable product
The Value Ladder sales funnel works so well because you are offering the person more and more value as they are progressing through your sales funnel.
This allows you to gradually build trust with them that increases at each stage, which then makes them more open to the offer at the next stage.
Here’s how Russel explains it:
By the way, you don’t need to have the entire product line in order to create your first sales funnel, you just need one product.
Want Russel to walk you through building your first sales funnel?
#4 Use the “Hook, Story, Offer” Framework
You can’t just say “Yo here’s my product now buy it” and expect to make a ton of sales. Yet that’s what entrepreneurs often do (though maybe not with those exact words…).
You should use the Hook, Story, Offer framework instead:
- Hook. Grab the potential customer’s attention.
- Story. Tell them an interesting story that they can relate to.
- Offer. Transition from that story to your sales pitch.
This approach is super effective and works for everything from selling weight loss products to launching a podcast on religion.
Here’s how Russel explains it (with examples)
#5 Always Sell on Benefits, Never on Features
There’s a joke in copywriting that goes like this:
“What’s everyone’s favorite radio station?”
WII FM stands for “What’s In It For Me?”
Your dream customers don’t care about you, your product, or your company. What they want to know is what’s in it for them.
That’s why the distinction between features and benefits is one of the most important concepts in selling:
- Features are the qualities or functions of your product (e.g. “These shoes are waterproof!”).
- Benefits are the value that the customer will derive from that product (e.g. “These shoes will keep your feet dry!”).
People buy based on benefits, then use features to justify the purchase.
So always focus on the benefits in your sales pitch. How will your product make their life better?
Explain it to your dream customers. Connect the dots for them. Make it clear.
#6 Pre-Emptively Address Potential Objections
Whenever we know that we are being sold to, our guards immediately go up. As they should. Someone is trying to get our money!
That’s why when you are the one making the sales pitch, you need to figure out how to get your dream customers to lower their guards.
One way to do that is to pre-emptively address potential objections:
Don’t wait for the potential customer to give you a reason why they are unsure about buying your product.
Bring it up yourself, address that objection, and put the potential customer’s mind at ease.
We pre-emptively address several potential objections on our homepage:
- “Will this work for my business?” We feature a bunch of entrepreneurs that run all kinds of businesses in our promotional video. It worked for them, it can work for you.
- “I’m not sure about this product. I want to try it first”. Sure. Sign up for our 14-day free trial.
- “What if I don’t like it?” That’s what our 30-day money-back guarantee is for! There’s no risk in trying ClickFunnels.
- “What if I want to cancel in a few months?”. That’s okay. You can cancel anytime!
- “What if I can’t figure it out or something goes wrong?” Just hit up our 24/7 customer support. They are here to help!
…and that’s just what’s above the fold!
#7 Use Social Proof to Bolster Your Credibility
Let’s keep it real:
People know that you are biased when it comes to your product.
That’s why you need to provide as much social proof as possible if you want them to trust you enough to purchase it.
- Customer testimonials.
- “As Featured On…” media badges.
- Endorsements from well-known people.
- Relevant credentials.
- Relevant accomplishments.
…and so on.
Don’t have any social proof yet? Then go out there and get it! It’s pretty much impossible to overstate how important social proof is for selling products.
On our homepage, we feature a bunch of customer case studies, so that our potential customers could see what’s possible with our software.
#8 Always End Your Pitch With a Call to Action
Once you have made your pitch, you need to let the potential customer know what you want them to do next.
You might think that they understand it so you don’t have to say it, but you will lose a ton of sales if you don’t make it clear.
Want them to buy your product?
Then ask them to do that!
#9 Become a Recognized Expert
Being recognized as an expert in your niche is the best social proof. But how can you achieve that status?
It boils down to:
- Acquiring expertise.
- Sharing that expertise.
However, the way you go about the second step is important, since the methods you choose will determine how you will be seen in the industry.
Let’s say that you are a senior software developer.
Helping your nephew who’s learning to code is certainly a valuable endeavor.
However, sharing your expertise only with those close to you won’t help you build a reputation in the industry, which is why you need to expand your reach.
Here are some great ways to do that:
- Use social media. You can start building a reputation by sharing advice on social media (Twitter and LinkedIn work best for this).
- Write a book. There’s gravitas that comes with being an author. And the more copies you sell, the more reviews you have, and the higher the book’s rating on Amazon, the better.
- Speak at conferences. Start by speaking at local meetups, move to unpaid speaking gigs, then work your way up to paid speaking engagements, until you are speaking at the most prestigious conferences in your industry.
To continue with our example, if you do all that as a software developer, then it will be much easier for you to sell products in the software development niche.
The point is this:
Having expertise in a certain area isn’t enough.
You also need to let others know that you have that expertise.
Of course, building a reputation in your industry takes time, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Keep at it. It will be worth it.
Want Russel To Teach You How To Build Your First Sales Funnel?
You need a sales funnel if you want to sell products online.
But we know that building one from scratch can seem like a daunting task.
That’s why we created our 5 Day Challenge where Russel walks you through it step-by-step.
You will learn how to:
- Generate unlimited leads.
- Create your first lead magnet.
- Build your first sales funnel.
- Create a simple 6-email follow-up sequence.
- And launch your funnel!
…in just five days.
So don’t hesitate.