Human behaviour doesn’t change. Tried and proven sales techniques that trigger people to buy still remain the same, even though the sales channels available to sell your products and services are changing and the technology that customers use to buy from you are changing.
We are going to look at 5 of the most effective sales techniques you can use to positively influence a customer and help them convert into a sale. Taking action on even a few of these proven sales techniques can have a direct impact to increase your online sales.
1. Social proof
Most people like to fit in, to be a part of something. People don’t want to feel alone and isolated from the social group.
Being part of a social group has benefits because it gives people an opportunity to learn from the experiences of others and share their own experiences. Giving someone a voice that others hear lets people feel they can make a useful contribution back to the social group.
As a businesses, if your products and services are positively endorsed by someone in a social group it increases the likelihood that the others in the group are going to be interested in you. A direct recommendation from someone they trust carries much greater weight than an advert from someone they have no connection with.
Peer approval of your product or service increases the desire of the others in the group to have the same as their peers who have endorsed it.
There are two key social areas of social proof:
Reviews – Providing customers with honest reviews of your what you are selling helps the customer make the decision to buy. The reviews reinforce the perception that it is the right decision they are making and that they will not regret providing personal information in the buying process because others have already done the same.
As a business, giving the customer the opportunity to review what you are selling gives you valuable feedback that help shape which products are worth investing in and which products you need to improve or drop.
It’s easier than you think to add a reviews feature into your website using the free Disqus add-in. A beautiful real-time engaging discussion add-in for your website: http://disqus.com
Social sharing – Giving people an easy way to share something about what they are buying on their favourite social media website like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pintrest etc. lets people share the excitement with their friends and helps spread your presence to a community of people who may have never heard of you before.
A simple way to include a full range of social content sharing and like buttons in your website is using the free AddThis website add-in: http://www.addthis.com/
People’s basic human nature is that they don’t like to lose a good thing. If they can always come back at any time and get something great, it means they have no reason to buy now.
If the customer has the perception that they only have a limited time to make a decision they are more inclined to act upon that impulse and buy it now rather than wait and risk losing something which they may want.
Rare opportunity – Limited time offers on products and services, or a limited number of availability makes the customer aware that if they don’t act now they could lose out on something, increasing their desire to buy now.
Highlight lost benefits – Sell the benefits of products and services to highlight how the customer is losing out by not having them, such as “Stop wasting time and money….”, “Make your life easier…”, “Limited availability, buy today to avoid disappointment”.
Potential buyers are more likely to convert as it makes them aware of losing both the product and the associated benefits.
People know they are buying something which is a good deal because they have a point of comparison that demonstrates something is better for them than something else.
People naturally need to compare similar products and services before making the final decision, often benchmarking the first option they found at the start of their investigation against all those which come after in their search.
Discounts – Offering people a special offer or discount when they are making their decision to buy helps them make the final decision and commit to the purchase as they feel like they are getting a better deal than what they first thought.
Extras – Giving people additional free extras to what they are purchasing makes the original deal more valuable. Extras increase the perception that they are receiving even greater value without it costing them any more, even if you’ve already covered the cost of the extras in the original price or the extra has little or no cost to you, such as a free PDF e-Book with their purchase.
4. Grow established social connections
Customers who have already purchased from you are more likely to buy from you again. By successfully delivering on the first purchase people are more approachable when you interact with them in the future compared to someone new doing the same.
Social Interaction – People are likely to have their own social channels just as much as you have yours. Following up with a customer by sending them a tweet or like something they have going on in their social channel. If you’re really lucky they may have even posted something related to their purchase you can comment on. This will put your business in their mind beyond just that initial sale. This in turn may mean they politely reply or like you back, or it may be a subtler effect that encourages repeat business with you down the line as your business showed them interest.
Nurturing – By establishing a better relationship with existing customers, you strengthen your position for repeat business as you are more in their mind when they come back to look again at buying something you are selling. Also, by nurturing the business relationship with existing customers you may also gain an insight into a lead that means you have access to the sales prospect before anyone else.
People look up to people and organisations they deem to be trustworthy and who appear as an authority on a topic which they may know little about themselves. If people feel that they are sufficiently informed about a topic by someone who is a leader in that market, they will trust that they are making an educated decision and will be more confident to make a purchase.
Bigger companies will often rely upon endorsements from recognisable figures, such as celebrities or industry leaders. It is however possible for smaller companies to establish themselves as an authority without expensive endorsements.
Thought leadership – It may be yourself as the businesses founder, it may be another key figure in your business that can champion the products and services you sell, someone that can establish themselves as an authority. With a continued strategy of making social commentary or writing articles in the areas you want to establish your authority, you can become your own market ‘celebrity’. As a recognisable source of useful information on a topic you will start attracting those interested in knowing more, giving people a reason to stay interested in you and your business.
Content sharing – A business rarely stands alone as being the only aspect of the entire supply chain. There will often be strategic partnerships that play a part in what you are selling, such as suppliers or third-party integration partners that your offering compliments. You could offer to write some useful content for these businesses as it is a win-win to both your business relationships. They win because it enriches their own website, blog or social channels with related content, you win as it increases your visibility across additional marketing channels helping you reach a wider audience and further establishing your position as an authority.