(On Wednesday, I talked about ways to set up your online retail store for success.  If you happened to miss that article, you can find a link for it HERE so that you can properly catch up with the discussion.)

PART 2 – Becoming GREAT at Selling Online

For many entrepreneurs that are beginning their business on the internet, an obstacle they must overcome is how they can sell themselves and their products to their consumers.  While both physical and online salespeople typically share the same techniques when engaging with a potential customer, those who do it over the internet must adapt their methods to fully reap the benefits of their great sales skills.  In the real world, if someone were to walk into a store, they’d most likely be greeted by a salesman or woman and asked if they can be helped.  The internet, however, creates a barrier in which we are unable to cross.  We as the salesperson are stuck sitting on the other side of the computer screen and have no physical presence in our visitors’ shopping experience.  The solution to this problem is simple; you must CREATE an artificial presence that will be felt by your customers, even when you are not there.

The way website design has evolved is very impressive and also very convenient for us looking to start an online store/business.  With coding that can automatically pop-up a welcome message as soon as someone enters your website, you can efficiently “greet” your customer without any extra effort on your part other than setting it up.  You can even set it up so that it may answer an array of questions the customer may type such as, “Do you sell hats?” in which it can forward them to your page that contains all of your headwear that is for sale. If you can find the right set up to fulfill your needs, you can have the ability to help your customers even without ever meeting each other.

 While pop-ups are a great way to help you and your customers interact, there is more to being a salesman than just answering questions.  If you want to truly SUCCEED at selling online, you have to know how to captivate your visitors.  While traditional ecommerce sites typically will post many different products for their customers to choose from, one down fall to this format is how you may be throwing too many products at them all at once.  One way to get their undivided attention and really test your skills as a salesperson is to only sell one main product.  There are many people out there that do this and many of them choose to use a sales funnel format to accomplish their goals.  Sales funnels are a great way to have a conversation with your visitors.  Even if you don’t plan on only selling one product or you aren’t interested in creating a sales funnel, I still highly recommend you follow my example below and see if you can incorporate some of its ideas to YOUR sales strategy.  Please keep in mind that this example is for educational and entertainment purposes only, and is NOT, in any way, an actual product that I am endorsing.  

Example:  Jenny thinks she may want to start having toast for breakfast when she is out camping, but she has no toaster to do so.  So she goes online to search for toasters and comes across your ad.

Like I said in PART 1 of this series, Ads are the best way to make consumers aware that you have a solution to their problems.  The more appealing your ad is, the more people will notice it, click on it, and be routed to your site.  In this case, you want to show Jenny that you have a great toaster that will fulfill all of her toasting needs while camping.  Now for those of you that are planning on building an Ecommerce store that sells multiple products, what you’ll want to do is create ads for your most popular products and target them to the people searching for something related to your product.  If you sell sunglasses, watches, and jewelry for example, you can make it so that when someone searches for sunglasses, your ad for sunglasses show up.  Say they search for watches, then your ad for watches shows up. You can even target those who originally had no intention of buying something.  Say someone enjoys going to the beach and they search for beaches near Fort Lauderdale, Florida; you can choose to have your sunglasses ad show up to these people in the event that they might like a new pair of shades to wear while sitting in the sun.  If you properly target your ads, you can catch the attention of those people who both know what they are looking for and also the ones that do not. After seeing your ad, if the consumer chooses to click on it, you have now started transitioning them to the next phase. 

Jenny decides to click on your ad and wants to know more about your toaster. 

Because Jenny chose to click on your ad, she has shown signs of interest for your product and it’s time for you to really add fuel to the fire that is starting to emerge.  While it is important to list features that your product has, it is also important to keep your visitor’s attention while they are traveling through your funnel.  A great way to do this is to start creating an emotional bond between your visitor and what you are selling.  Many successful salespeople will tell you that we as people will BUY WITH EMOTION AND JUSTIFY WITH LOGIC.  In the case of Jenny, you know that she likes to camp, so maybe show her a picture of your toaster sitting at a campsite in the mountains.  Showing them a picture is a great way to trigger your visitor into imagining themselves in that specific time or place.   You can also employ their imagination through storytelling.   For instance, you can tell Jenny about all the amazing family camping trips that she can have while sitting around eating toast.  By doing these sorts of interactions with your viewer, you are letting them connect with you and your product. Whatever method you decide, it is essential for you to take your consumer on an emotional trip with you.  Tug at their heart strings and find a way to make them feel like life wouldn’t be the same without your product. 

You tell Jenny that this toaster is as rugged as the mountains and is great for camping.  She is still VERY interested, but wants to see what else is out there.

In the real world, when a salesman has made his pitch, and sees that a customer isn’t 100% committed yet, they go to their backup plan.  The same should go for you as an online seller.  Many sites have utilized the ability to stop a person before they completely leave your page.  In many cases, they’ll use a pop-up to try to cut a deal with the visitor.   They create messages like, “Leaving so soon? Well if you are still interested, we can give you 20% off of the normal price, if you order right now” and then have a link to the discounted check out.  Though this won’t work every time, it’ll interest those who are indecisive about the purchase, and nudge them back into your funnel.  You may also offer them to become a member of your emailing list so that they can keep up to date with your product(s).  By doing this, you can have the ability to follow up on the potential sale at a later time, though I recommend not waiting too long in the chances that they may lose interest or purchase from someone else.

Jenny decides to buy your toaster so she goes to check out.  Then, before a transaction is made, you show her a car power inverter that goes great with that toaster she’s about to buy.

A big mistake people make when doing a sales funnel, or any store for that matter, is the fact that they don’t take advantage of UPSELLING other products.  An UPSELL is when you provide an additional product that can go well with the consumer’s intended purchase.  In the case of a toaster (if we are sticking to the camping theme), you’d understand that people who planned on using it for camping would need a way to power it, right?  This is where the power inverter can boost profit for that overall sale.  Instead of making Jenny buy the power inverter from somewhere else, give her the CONVENIENCE of buying it from you when she buys the toaster.  The truth is that after spending money on ads, creating a website, and paying to make/obtain your product; one sale per customer isn’t going to be enough to see a real profit.  This is why stores put additional items by their checkout registers or why fast food restaurants will ask you if you want fries and a drink with your order; they NEED you to buy little add-ons from them to see a profit.  One thing I recommend to anybody looking to start an online store is to pay attention to other successful online businesses and figure out their strategies for upselling.  A prime example of this comes from Amazon (pun intended).  Amazon will use “Frequently bought together” and “Customers also bought” lists to encourage you to add more to your shopping cart.   By doing this on your site, you can make it much easier for your visitors to discover items that they didn’t even know they wanted/needed. But the power of upselling doesn’t have to stop there…

Jenny receives her new toaster and the power inverter she had purchased with it.  She loves having toast while camping and doesn’t know how she managed before without it.  When she comes back from her camping trip, she gets an email from you which asks her how she likes the toaster and also lets her know that you have a new product to show her, “The Campers’ Cookbook to Great Tasting Toast”.

The final strategy I have for you to be a successful seller is actually a lot like the last one.  You may think that after Jenny purchases the toaster and power inverter from you, that you won’t be able to sell anything else to her.  Luckily for you, that’s not the case.  If you were to obtain her email address, you would have the ability to do what I call a follow upsell.  This is where you may ask for a review of your product (which, by the way, is great to use on your website later on) and also recommend ANOTHER product that she might be interested in.  By doing this, you’ll be taking advantage of all your earlier effort of selling to her and building onto it.  By already purchasing from you, your viewer has crossed over from being a “potential customer” and in turn became a “returning customer”.  They have already trusted you and your product enough to give you their hard earned money.  Now you want to show them that you value their opinion as well as their business and that you have even more products that they can benefit from.    

To review the ideas I’ve talked about:

  • Make great compelling ads and target them to the correct audience
  • Connect with your audience emotionally to really grab their interest
  • Try to close a deal by giving an incentive to those customers that are still unsure about the purchase
  • Offer an upsell item that goes well with what they are purchasing
  • Follow up with them for a review as well as an upsell once again with another product

By executing some (if not all) of these strategies, I know you can see an improvement in your sales numbers and profit margins.  Don’t feel like you need to have a big company to do this either.  Many have executed these same tactics without having a roster of employees and they have still seen success.  Remember that if you run into issues or need to be pointed in the right direction, it is always smart to ask the advice of those who have already blazed their trail in online selling. 

As always if you liked this article, make sure to bookmark my site and find me on social media through the links below to keep up with all of the upcoming articles I have planned for the future.  Also, feel free to join my new social club on Facebook if you would like to connect with others who are also looking to better their financial situations. Thank you for your support, and I’ll see you next time!

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