Adarsh details an important fact in this guest post. If you want to succeed online, you need to know how to sell. Read this article to learn how to improve upon this invaluable skill.
If you are into online business, you need to sell. No exceptions. Period.
I’m going to assume that you either blog with the hopes of making money or have a business that will make profits. Whichever the case is, you need to sell. We are all salesman in the “internet lifestyle” world.
Some professions, no matter how important they are, always tend to have a negative aura surrounding them. Marketing and sales is one such career where you tend to be perceived as a person trying to cheat the buyer in any way possible.
When people hear the word salesperson, they think that these people only care about the commission they make as a result of the sale. The image of an average sales man is that of a crook trying to steal the hard earned money from an innocent buyer. There are no tricks per se. Every salesperson must aim at selling effectively and in less time.
When I told one of my friends that I am going to start online business and start selling online he laughed at me. He advised me, “Man. Don’t spoil your life. Go for a regular job with a stable income.”
Now, if everyone became a doctor, or an engineer, or an IT pro, who would serve the primary function of taking the economy forward by making sales? Besides, selling is one of the highest paid jobs, if you know what you are doing.
There are two ways in which people can look to their job as a salesman.
One, they can see this as a regular 9-5 job. If you look at it from a career perspective, this is an excellent field to make a name and some money. I know quite a lot of people who sell to make a living. Some just make enough money to scrape through. Some cannot make money to meet even the basic needs of food and shelter. Then there are some who make more money than a glorified MBA guy. What does this mean? You can choose your destiny with the profession of selling.
How People Sell Online?
If you are into internet marketing, no doubt you might have come across many online products. Some claim to help you make millions, some teach you SEO skills, some teach you other aspects of marketing and so on.
Carefully observe what people in the online world do to sell. Just make sure that you analyze a handful of successful internet marketers. Darren Rowse from problogger.net, Brian Clark from copyblogger.com, Yaro Starak from entrepreneurs-journey.com etc are fine examples of people you can learn a lot from.
Here is what they have in common
- A loyal audience
- A product/Several products of their own
These are not the only people making a killing online. There are lots of others too. But, if you watch closely, everyone follows the same principle
- Provide value
- Build Trust
- Build a loyal audience
- Give away more value
- Sell products that solve a problem!
- Rinse and repeat with new products/blogs
Comparing Selling Online to the Offline World
To become a better salesperson, you need to understand about something called intuition or your gut feeling. Imagine the case when you go to the local store and you are offered two toothbrushes. They are almost similar in quality, price, looks and reputation of the brand. Which would you choose?
Difficult choice, I’d say.
However, if one was suggested by your friend and the other by someone you barely know, the answer is obvious. You are more comfortable with the person you know. You think that you can trust him more than the other person whom you hardly know. This is what every salesperson should strive to achieve. Try to build a strong emotional feeling between you and your client. This will almost guarantee a sale. When was the last time you rejected a dear friends recommendation to buy a product?
Understand the reason why people buy a product or solution. Is it because they can get better ROI? Is it because your product is 10% better than our competitor? No… The answer is, most of the time, emotions. People buy based on their emotions rather than thinking logically. If you can capitalize on the buyers emotions, I can guarantee you that you would have a better chance of selling your product.
How I Switched Insurance Company Because of One Salesperson?
I was planning to take a life insurance cover. There was this guy whom I met at a party. He overheard my conversation of planning to get a life insurance from a top leading insurance company. It so happens that this guy used to work for that company. He came up to me and we met. He took down my number and gave a short sales pitch about his company and why I should take the policy from him. I patiently listened to him and said that I would call him when I make up my mind. Counting 30 days from then, I must have had at least 100 calls from this guy asking me the status of my decision. What do you think happened then?
I ended up taking insurance from another company even though I was about to go with this company at first. When we are not comfortable with the salesperson, we don’t buy. No matter the quality, reputation or value the product provides, I simply did not choose to buy. That is the power of emotions and the comfort level with the salesperson.
How Can You as a Salesperson Be Rewarded?
There are often different reasons we all choose a career. If I choose to be a doctor, sometime I might have the aim of helping people, sometime I may have the aim of getting fame and respect in the society and sometimes the driving force can be monetary rewards. It all boils down to the individual’s personal choice. There are often many types of rewards people can get being a salesperson. If you ask me, the broadest classification would be one which gives you benefits which can be measured and the other one which cannot be measured.
Measurable and non measurable rewards
Here is a scenario.
You noticed a fellow passenger dropping his wallet. You take it and give it back to him. There are two types of reward you expect knowingly or unknowingly. Either you can expect the person to say a thank you and appreciate you for your honest and mentality to help others. Otherwise, you could expect a monetary gain as a reward for returning the purse.
If you wanted money then you are expecting a measurable reward and if you expected appreciation then you are expecting a non measurable reward.
For an average salesperson, the non measurable rewards can include:
- Satisfaction that he has sold a worthwhile product to a customer
- Confidence that he can sell more products
- Derive happiness from the fact that you have helped a customer get rid of a problem
- Feel secured that your job is not at stake since you are making sales
- A position in the society where you are respected (Most people who make money gain respect automatically
The list can go on depending upon the individual.
In case of measurable rewards it can be:
- Increase in profits
- Promotion if you are employed by someone else
- A glamorous lifestyle. Dubbed as “internet lifestyle” by some
To become a better salesperson, all you need to do is believe in yourself, sell the right product to the right customer and explore new opportunities.
Quick tips to sell online
You don’t need all the marketing advice to sell online. You really don’t.
All you need is some basic advice and the rest comes from personal experience.
- Try to do some market research before you try to sell a product. If there is demand, then there should be supply
- Value your audience more than your product. They must feel they are getting a bargain and not losing money. That doesn’t mean hyping the price 75% and then giving a discount of 50%
- Build trust before you sell
- Building hype works wonders for sales. Make sure the product lives up to the hype. Else, you are probably going to see a long list of returns and chargeback’s
- Don’t undervalue or overprice your products. Learn to strike the right balance. Again, if you did market research correctly, I’d assume you already figured this out
- Most importantly, stop trying to soak up all the advice on the net. Start taking action. If that means quitting reading articles over and over again, go on a “information diet” for a while
After all, a great footballer who doesn’t play is only as good as a person who doesn’t know to play at all.
Over to you. What kind of rewards motivates you? What is your strategy to make online sales?
Steve’s Note: Adarsh Thampy is an independent marketing consultant for small business who blogs at Conversion Rate Optimization Blog and helps small business get more customers and improve their conversion rates.Take Action. Get Results.
54 thoughts on “How to Become a Better Salesperson”
Good post. I wish I knew a little more about selling.
I noticed a small grammatical error:
“Sell products that solve a solution” should be changed to
“Sell products that solve a problem”
Fixed it! Thanks!
I agree with you .
selling or marketing is one of the most important tips many people do not know about making money online.
Most times selling or marketing is even more important than the product or service sold.
It is something we all must learn and improve on this …
one of the best tips about selling and marketing online that i have learnt is talking to peoples objections…the fears and reasons why they may be reluntant about buying the product or service …
Building authority by giving free information also helps to make selling and marketing easy….
The most difficult part is to convince people that they need to buy our product/service.
Learning to help our customers to overcome their fear is an important ingredient for online success
Hey Nick.. Thanks for pointing that out!!!
I can’t tell you how many times the phrase “have a product of your own” has popped up in front of me. This seems to be pretty consistent with respect to the opinions of people who are successful online.
My website didn’t become profitable until I started offering services which could be considered a product, I guess.
Good post, Ardash.
Yes, offering services is something I do on my blog as well. I don’t like the idea of selling ad’s so I decided to monetize by trading my time for money.
Steve, I believe, does not like that idea. I remember reading in one of his old lifestyle design posts that he doesn’t want to trade in his time for money.
Good luck with your services
Those are really some great tips. One of the most important thing to do as a marketer or internet marketer is to build trust among the people that whatever your are selling is good and that you are not doing it only for monetary benefit but also for the benefit of the customer buying the product.
You are absolutely right. Building trust is the key
Great tips! Very valuable for me, thank you.
Great to hear that you liked it
I always thought that if the product is not right, I can’t sell it. But this is a common misconception. A good salesperson can sell any product, regardless of its price, quality and competitiveness in the market.
Even though a good salesman can sell, it doesn’t mean he has to. I wouldn’t suggest selling something of low quality, no matter what
Excellent write-up Adarsh. Marketing skills are indeed important for the success of any business. All though it’s true that some people have an inborn talent of being a good salesperson, not all of us are born with this talent. Learning how to do it is the best possible way to be the best salesperson you can be. Without good background and skills, a business would not last long and if it would, it would be an unstable business.
Yes John. You are right. Not all people are born as a salesman… Mostly selling is a developed skill.
I think you’re totally right that internet marketers could really take their business to another level if they had some more understanding of basic sales skills and customer psychology. Why do customers buy? How can you build trust and authority? What’s the best way to demonstrate value? etc.
Of course I may be biased as I’m a sales trainer 🙂
Great article man!
Yes, people should focus more on the basic aspects of human psychology.
As you mentioned, building trust is extremely important.
Your friends sound like my family members back home. I had the same problem when I was investing in real estate using creative financing. They said I couldn’t buy a home because I had no money and horrible credit. Then I bought a 5,000 square foot mansion with zero down, and 100% owner financed. They told me it was a “fluke” LOL.
As a business owner, I find that selling my services is done most effectively when I am open and informational with potential clients. These are people who want proof that I have established top 10 rankings for other clients or my own sites. Or people who want to see my graphic design work and website layout designs. The more info you provide, the more trust you will gain.
Thanks for your comment. I didn’t really understand what your first paragraph was all about
I mentioned that stuff because of what you said……
“When I told one of my friends that I am going to start online business and start selling online he laughed at me. He advised me, “Man. Don’t spoil your life. Go for a regular job with a stable income.””
There’s always someone who will try and talk you out of something.
Very true…. Better known by the term “troll”
Really very appreciable tips man,your research is so profound and attached with the ground.I must say that they are so much valuable information’s and some very minute points to consider even.Your experiences are screaming in this post,i can hear them very loud and clear…I am sure it will gonna help people in a very right way who are planning for the marketing field or into it.Very well said man,a value should be provided,trust building is an most important thing for marketing field,and last but not the least a very much meaningful phrase is ” Sell products that solve a problem” .I really admire your all thoughts,they are the only key to become a successful salesperson.
And yes i am looking forward for some more valuable tips and ideas.Keep posting such a good and meaningful material.
THANK YOU and GOD BLESS
Thank you Manish for your kind words.
The real benefit is derived when we start acting after reading.
Do we necessarily have to try a product before selling it? It seems it is not always possible and it could be wrong giving advice for a product you do not use. You would have killed trust by then. Great post!
For Steve, I am told to let you know your version of CommentLuv might expire soon so an update is required! 🙂
To Your “Internet Lifestyle”,
I’d always suggest you recommend products you have used for a minimum of three years.
Sorry about the typo.. I meant three months!!!
Thanks heads up. It has been a few days since i have looked at the site. I looks like commetluv is blowing up. Hopefully I just fixed it.
I believe the online selling process works great once you have established trust. If you are a blogger its good to write strong content that readers love; once you have a good reputation, profiting with affiliate marketing is easy.
Although establish trust is very important, you needn’t establish yourself before making money. Sure, you need to establish trust to make a “lot of money”. however, I have made affiliate sales with nothing more than a small niche site which had no information about me to establish credibility
An easy choice, and emotions. When I buy I often make a fast decision based upon things I’ve read (a testimonial) or heard (from a friend), and I don’t want to think too much. I just want to buy it and start using it.
Your story about the insurance guy is similar to several experiences I have had. I would never buy anything from a person that started to talk about his company at a party, and especially if he was “forcing” me to make a decision. He could have told me who he was at the party, and said that we could take the day after if I was interested in learning. But that would probably have been the only way he would be able to make a sale.
What you’re saying about selling online is absolutely true. I have been watching people sell for a long time (I haven’t been selling my own stuff yet), and most of them are successful because they value their audience more than their product and they are building trust. I believe that’s the two most important parts of selling (and the quality of the product as well).
Although you don’t need to be honest while selling (sadly most people are not honest), for long term profits and business, you need to be utterly honest and promote only things you really believe in.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jens.
Hi Steve and Adarsh
Firstly nice one Steve … Adarsh sounds as though he knows what he is talking about. Will be going to check out his site.
Adarsh, some salient points you make about selling. It has been a huge learning curve for me as I come from a completely different background.
I used to visit the big bloggers sites and did learn heaps. However, I now visit sites such as Steve’s where I continue to learn about successful marketing from one who walks the walk. And I have definitely stopped blog hopping so much.
Too much information and there’s only so much I can take in. So as Steve often encourages us … now I just do it. He has definitely motivated me with my own business venture.
Patricia Perth Australia
Definitely, too much information is not going to get us anywhere. It’s action and not information or ideas that brings in the money
I haaaaaate selling! I honestly don’t know how some people do it for a living. I’m especially not aggressive, nor am I out to just get people’s money.
However, this has really provided some great pointers!
You are dead on. If I’m not comfortable with someone, I don’t buy. I need to know that they care about me and not just the sale. In any sales situation, you have to look at it from a buyers perspective. We’re all buyers, so I often look at how I want to be treated as a buyer. If I don’t like being called over and over and over and over again, then I don’t do it.
I get that it’s important to stay top of mind otherwise people will forget you, but every few weeks is good enough. =)
Thanks for stopping by Morgan.
Sometimes, even though we believe the other person doesn’t care for us, we still buy. That’s the power of branding. I am a loyal Sony fan. My neighborhood Sony store staff is very discourteous and doesn’t care for their customers. However, i still buy from them since they sell Sony. At times, we really can be drawn to sales just because of the branding
Your motivation about sales helps a lot of people who are engage in this business.Some who are already desperate can find hope to improve their sale by following your good idea.That they only need some inspiring words to make their career successful.People like you is what we need in
on line sale.Although myself is not on this field you give me some interest to be engage in this kind of work.It is true you can make millions from this kind of work instead of getting employed in other fields.
Hey Roland. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
It’s great to know people can get inspired by our words. All of us need inspiration. Especially me. I read a lot of personality development blogs to keep being inspired.
I wish you good luck
Creating value is the fastest way to becoming a better salesperson. The more values you create for your audience, the better they trust you and this is very transparent – when it’s time to sell to them, it’s a bit easier because you have given so much without asking for money. Your readers and visitors are not wicked, they want you to succeed. Therefore, mind their business, give, give and give and they would be FORCED to give back to you soonest.
Yes Mike. “Value” does play a very important role
Thanks for a great post! Your thoughts on the “right” way to sell were ones I totally agree with and hopefully very enlightening.
Thanks for fielding a lot of responses and hopefully your site has seen (and will continue to see) a nice trickle of traffic.
I appreciate your guest post and quick replies, specifically since I have been SWAMPED the past few days. (I even missed my normal monday post, as you may have noticed. Something that I haven’t done in a year and a half.)
Anyway thanks for the post… have a great remaining week.
Thanks for responding.
Responding to comments is what all bloggers do. So that’s what I did.
As far as traffic is concerned, I have seen a few clicks. But, honestly I did not think of traffic or SEO when I wrote this post for your blog. I have been reading your blog for a while and loved it. Wanted to be a part for it. That’s it. As you can see, I did not even use keywords on the author bio.
Expecting to see more of your articles here. I certainly don’t want to see you take the route most popular bloggers do (Posting very little on their own and filling up the rest with guest posts)
Good luck with your project
I have no plans on stopping posting my own stuff. Perhaps cutting back for the next month plus (since I will be in Europe). But certainly not stopping. 🙂
You raise some very good questions. I’ve never really considered what gain I was expecting out of my sales jobs. They were just my 9-5 job, and it never went much further than that. And I was never very successful at it, come to think of it. I hated selling, but I was looking at it as a job, trying to push products on people who didn’t really want it, for fear of being put on probation back at the office.
It wasn’t about service. Not to the world I belonged to. Now there’s room to think about it. Thank you.
When you hate selling, it’s obvious that your sales will be affected. Sometimes we are forced to do things against our will. In such situations, make sure we have to choose between our ethics and loyalty to the company we work for
You know, I’m one of those people who hates selling. I tried being an insurance agent once and it didn’t work out. I was fearful of approaching people and offering my products. Looking back, I must have been really doing it all wrong. Then, I tried working in outbound sales and I also didn’t last at that job. I dreaded going to work and answering the phone.
Needless to say, everything about sales and selling has such negative impact for me although I realize that selling is an everyday part of our lives and getting the necessary skills is important for us.
What I like about your article is that you’ve made me see selling in a different light, something positive and maybe I just need to change my mindset and achieve some success in the end.
Thanks for sharing!
You can definitely try. If you see that you absolutely see no success, maybe you can try branching out to other professions
I never cared about selling until I got started with internet marketing couple of years ago. I now see it as one of the core skills, if you want to become successful online.
You bring up some very valid points and I’ll be coming back to this post again and again (and your blog) for more stuff like this 🙂
Thanks Timo. It’s great to know I could inspire a few. It makes a big difference, it really does
Adarsh, something you forgot to mention that people like Rowse and his ilk have over the rest of us and that is traffic. Because of the volume of his traffic he is more likely to make a sale.
I used to be a salesman for a couple of years and I can honestly say there are a lot of sharks out there. There are even more sharks online which makes it so much harder for the honest affiliate marketers.
I agree with your points and we all have to remember that none of this comes easily and it all takes time to build the sort of reputation where other come to trust you.
What I want you to remember is, Rowse started off with 0 traffic. Everybody starts like this
I understand that, I’m just pointing out that one of the reasons he makes so much is because of the huge amount of traffic his sites generate. If he only generated 1/10th of the traffic then his earnings would be at least 1/10th of whatever he is earning now.
That’s true. However traffic does not always equate to money. It depends on how you monetize your blog
Wow Steve, you really made it all! You gave a very comprehensive detailed facts on how to become a better sales person. I am working as a sales representative too, but I felt that there’s a lot of things I should learn more.
There’s definitely a lot to learn for everyone. If you are in the sales business, that’s really wonderful. I believe it’s one of the professions that you can earn a lot of respect and also make decent money.
Continue to learn. Never close your mind to learn the things happenings around you. When we sell, we need to be a keen observer.
P.S: Leaving really valuable and targeted comments increases the benefits of commenting. I think it would be great if you make sure you read the article before commenting.
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