Regardless of what business or industry you’re in, at some point, you have to make a sale. Whether you like selling or hate it, you can’t avoid the fact that the only way to make money is to sell something.
Yet the truth is that the majority of people trying to make money online struggle to do so for that very reason. Even if they have an amazing product, they can’t seem to make a sale.
You could have the best product in the world, but if you don’t know how to sell it, then you won’t make any money. And even worse, you won’t impact the lives of the people that could be changed by getting your product in their hands.
It’s actually for that very reason that I believe in selling and am not embarrassed to say so.
You see, selling isn’t bad. It isn’t even a necessary evil. In fact, it’s fundamentally a good thing.
If you want to create change in this world, you need to get others to invest in your idea — and there’s no clearer way to gauge investment than if they’re willing to pay for your product or service.
Plus, if you don’t make a sale, then you won’t generate money, which allows you to work on creating impactful change full time. I know it’s a total cliché to say this, but selling truly is a win-win for everyone involved.
So what are you afraid of? It’s time to overcome any lingering “fear of selling” and learn how to sell your product.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are still things that can go wrong during the sales process. And when they do, you’ll begin to question your sales abilities and think you were simply not born to sell.
Well, I’m here to tell you that the whole “born to do X” is a whole lot of you-know-what.
No one was born to be a concert pianist, or a neurosurgeon, or an NBA superstar. Each of those individuals honed whatever natural talents they had. They learned all they could about their craft and applied that knowledge to become skilled at what they do.
I’m not saying that everyone is born with the gift of a musician’s ear or steely nerves leading to steady hands or even a 42-inch vertical. But what I am saying is that there are lots and lots of people who have those talents who aren’t on stage, in the operating theater, or in the NBA.
They either never acquired the knowledge they needed to develop their talent, or they failed to apply that knowledge to become skilled at what they do.
Put plainly, it takes way more than talent to make it. It takes knowledge — and skill at applying that knowledge — in order to become proficient at anything.
And that includes sales. Nobody was born to be a salesman. Sure, they might have some natural talents that make selling easier for them. But even for them, the know-how has to be acquired and applied if they want to sell more.
That’s why today I want to share three tips with you that can help you sell more products, change more lives, and put more money in your pocket. Because regardless of how talented a salesperson you are, everyone can benefit from learning more about sales and applying that knowledge.
But before I get into the tips, let me share a quick story about what not to do…
Recently, I took a trip to Italy with my girlfriend, and we visited the city of Milan. Sightseeing became quite a struggle, as literally around every corner we were approached by different men trying to sell us roses.
Their method wasn’t subtle. They would shove the rose in your face, hope you take it, and when you do, refuse to take it back so you now owe them money. One guy even sang as he tried to force his rose on us as we were eating dinner.
Like I said, not very subtle.
But what fascinated me as a marketer and salesperson was just how unsuccessful they were. I saw this same “rose selling” strategy being used on many people, and rarely did I see anybody take the roses. I’m not sure what the exact conversion rate was, but it couldn’t have been high.
I asked our waiter about the whole rose selling thing and he said he didn’t know why these guys sell roses because nobody buys them.
But I don’t think it’s a secret why nobody does.
Nobody wants them.
In fact, I can envision only one scenario where any roses at all will get sold. I’ll get into that in a second…
But back to dinner, because something crazy happened twenty minutes later after we were serenaded over dessert.
On our way back to the AirBnB, it began to rain.
And what do you know… All the guys that were selling roses now magically have umbrellas.
But now the tide had turned — metaphorically and literally. It was really starting to come down, and no one on the street had a jacket or an umbrella.
Not only were we unprepared, but we had a problem in need of a solution. I quickly found myself searching for the closest “rose seller” so I could buy an umbrella.
Which leads me to my first tip to selling more of your products or services…
When it comes to selling products and services, it’s much easier to sell your product when there’s a desire for it. Indeed, desire comes when it solves an existing problem.
The famous copywriter Eugene Schwartz might have said it best:
In just a couple of sentences, he summed up my experience with roses and umbrellas in Milan.
It’s easy to see why nobody wanted to buy a rose. It didn’t solve any problem.
But when it started raining, the umbrella did.
It’s much easier to sell a solution to an existing problem rather than having to “create the problem” and then sell the solution. Indeed, it’s almost impossible to be successful doing the latter, but it’s arguably difficult not to be successful doing the former.
It explains why when I looked around as I purchased my umbrella there were three other guys buying an umbrella as well. And for each of us, we’re buying an umbrella from a seller who was literally our nemesis 20 minutes ago.
It doesn’t matter. We wanted that umbrella — we needed that umbrella — and they were selling umbrellas. Case closed.
Obviously, circumstances played an important role. If it wasn’t raining, no one would have purchased an umbrella. But that’s the point.
You see, one of the biggest mistakes my clients make early on is creating a product that they like or think people will like, without taking into consideration the problem their product solves.
Adults don’t have a problem tying their shoes. There’s not a problem in need of a solution. But kids do have a problem tying their shoes. And the solution is velcro, not laces.
See what I mean?
By having a solution to a current problem, you become the one sought after and not the seeker. It’s much easier to sell a product that way. (Or a problem you’re about to have. Instead of shoving roses under my nose, they should have alerted me to the problem that was coming — the rain — and offered to sell me a solution — an umbrella.)
Before you spend your time and money to create an app, a product, or a service, make sure it solves an existing problem differently than everything else on the market.
Notice I said differently — not better.
Although being better helps, it’s not necessary that your product be heads and shoulders better than the competition. It just has to be a different way to get the prospect from A to B.
After all, there’s no accounting for personal taste. Equal is different than Sweet’N Low, but they both sweeten your coffee. The only thing you need to know is that people don’t like unsweetened coffee and have been putting sweetener in it for the last 400 years. The existence of those two sweeteners didn’t prevent the invention of NutraSweet, after all.
Long story short, don’t sell a product that doesn’t solve a problem that people actually have.
Once you have a great product that solves a problem, the next thing to do is…
In the movie “The Godfather,” Don Corelone tells Johnny Fontaine that he will get him a spot in a movie that he wants.
Fontaine responds by saying that it’s too late — they begin filming the movie in a week.
That’s when the Godfather responds with his famous line: “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
Now, I’m not suggesting that you have to go to lengths the Godfather went to ensure you get what you want — no horses were injured in the writing of this article! — but I do want to zero in on his words for a second, because people overlook what he’s actually saying.
“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
This is exactly what you have to do when selling your product — make people an offer they can’t refuse.
People overlook this crucial fact when selling their products.
It’s understandable why they do: We’re all proud of the products we create and want to spend our time now promoting them.
But the dirty secret of sales is that people don’t buy products — they buy offers.
You might want to write that down somewhere.
This is why every infomercial or sales letter offers “bonuses,” “guarantees,” and “extras.”
Why is that? Shouldn’t the product sell itself?
Maybe in an ideal world it would, but not in this one. If you want to make a sale to real live human beings, you should make them an offer so good that they feel like they’re getting one over on you.
“But that’s not all…” are the most powerful words you can use in your offer.
For example: “But that’s not all: if you act right now I’m also going to give you (BONUS). But wait, there’s more: for the first 100 people to respond, I’m also going to send them (BONUS).”
As a marketer, you may think this approach is just plain going overboard or a case of “been there, done that.”
But last time I checked, human nature hasn’t changed. There’s a reason why every successful sales letter and infomercial uses this technique.
As humans, we love deals and discounts.
We love to feel like we’re getting more than we’re paying for.
It’s almost better than the actual thing we’re buying. And we certainly will pay attention to that widget over another widget if the first widget comes with a gizmo.
But let’s be clear about one thing: You can’t just add any bonus you want.
I like my cell phone and I like milkshakes, but I have no interest in a free milkshake with the purchase of my next cell phone.
A big mistake I see most marketers make is they don’t add bonuses that are desirable or provide value.
Your bonuses should enhance your main product or address a related issue that your product doesn’t solve.
For example, let’s say I’m selling a product on how to grow a business with organic traffic. Obviously, one area I’m lacking would be paid traffic.
To make this an offer that can’t be refused, I can say something like the following:
“But that’s not all, because you know what makes this strategy even more powerful? When you combine it with paid traffic. That gives you the chance to speed up your growth as fast as possible. Today when you become a member of my ‘Organic traffic product’ I’m also going to send you this ‘Paid traffic course.’ I’ve sold this for as much as $97, but today it’s yours for free.”
What you say has to be both genuine and true — you don’t want to mislead your prospect and turn them off on your offer altogether. But if you can provide real bonuses in your offer that make your product even more attractive, do it.
And here’s something you can do for every product you sell: You can enhance your offer by adding a guarantee.
People buy on emotion and then justify that decision with logic.
The money-back guarantee applies to the “logical” side of the brain because it solidifies that offer as being one they can’t refuse. That’s because there is no risk in buying. A guarantee removes the pain of parting with their hard-earned money:
“When you act today you are also backed by our 30-day money-back guarantee. You get to try this product 100% risk-free for the next 30 days. And if for any reason you aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll send you back every penny, no questions asked.”
Here’s one final observation I want to make about offers before moving on to my final tip.
Money-back guarantees work great for front end products that sell for a lower price. That’s because once front end products are “finished,” they don’t take up much of your time or energy.
But anytime you’re trading more of your time — like you would have to do with a thousand-dollar offer — beware of having money-back guarantees. You literally can’t get that time back.
Plainly put, it will suck if you have to refund thousands of dollars for work you’ve already completed with a client. Keep your guarantees for entry-level products that should someone say “thanks but no thanks” to, you won’t feel the pain of refunding their money.
And now that you have a great offer that they can’t refuse, the last thing to do is…
Let me go back to those roses for a second. Remember I told you I was going to tell you about the only time I saw the rose selling strategy be successful?
It was when a tourist mistakenly accepted the rose thinking it was a gift.
The rose seller baits the tourist by saying that it’s a gift. The tourist accepts the rose, but when he realizes he owes the rose seller money, he tries to give it back.
But the rose seller won’t accept it back — he’s only accepting money.
Oh, and there’s just one more thing to add to the mix. The “bait a tourist” strategy only worked when there was a group of people — a group of couples actually.
After all, it’s a little embarrassing turning down a rose you’re holding in your hand in front of others.
And better yet (for the rose seller), once one couple buys a rose, the other couples almost always will. Nobody wants to be the one not holding a rose.
Psychologists call this phenomenon “social proof.” I call it not being perceived as an asshole.
Whatever you want to call it, the concept is a powerful one.
It can make someone willingly buy a product even if they don’t want or need it.
If you can show others buying and using your product — “social proof” of its value — you’re much more likely to get others to buy your product too.
As I just mentioned, many times it won’t be because they want or need your product, but because they just don’t want to miss out.
My friend Mitch Miller coined this term ROMO (Regret of Missing Out).
Here’s why this is so powerful. Even though your product solves a problem, not everyone is going to have that problem.
ROMO makes people self-diagnose themselves as having that problem or forecasting that they could have that problem. They then buy your product so they don’t regret not having it.
The initial rose seller should have made me aware it was going to rain and then tried to sell me an umbrella instead of a rose. I would have probably purchased it because I wouldn’t have wanted to regret not having one when it rained.
And even if I didn’t buy it, I would have been much more likely to consider it rather than the rose.
My best friend runs a video filming company called Ignite Cinemas.
He does a great job leveraging social proof on his social media. Whenever he works with a client, he posts amazing footage with them on Facebook. He gives it to them freely to share as well, which they willingly do with their audience.
Other business owners in their circle see this and realize they don’t have any video themselves — they’re missing out. And that’s not good — you don’t want to look like you’re falling behind the competition.
So they decide right there and then that they want in on the video marketing game… hmmm. Where will they turn?
That’s not a hard question for these guys. They want videos from Ignite Cinemas too.
Jaime has built a six-figure a year business through the power of this social proof. Now get this: He doesn’t spend any money on advertising, yet he’s booked every day of the week simply by leveraging social proof.
The same rules of thumb apply to social proof as to my other tips.
Your social proof should be organic. It should be relevant. And it should be relatable.
A good test is imagining a prospect putting themselves in the shoes of the person that received the results and seeing themselves achieving the same thing. This means you have to know the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your ideal customer.
By that I mean you not only have to figure out the problem they need solved, but you also need to reverse engineer that process and figure out what they don’t want. In other words, what they’ll regret if they don’t take action on your offer.
How do you get more ROMO?
Unsolicited testimonials are great, but not everyone will give you a testimonial.
So the best thing to do is ask.
I recommend having a follow-up email delivered to customers a few weeks or a month or two after the product has been purchased (there’s no foolproof timetable because every product is different).
But you want to make sure the email comes after they’ve had an ample amount of time to experience results.
Let’s wrap this up with action steps that you can take to get moving in the right direction.
Looking for a way to generate great ideas? In this article I will show the simple 5-step process that anyone can follow to generate great ideas.
In In September of 2016, researchers at Google/ YouTube gave away the keys to the kingdom (at least that’s what I think and what I’m about to explain).