Selling Online – We all do it…Don’t We?

Selling Online

by Wasim Ismail on February 8, 2012

We have all experienced selling a product one way or another, and also on the other hand we all know the feeling when someone suited and booted knocks on the door trying to sell electric and gas to us, begging to give him a sale. At times you feel sorry for them, and would just listen to the pitch to give them a chance.

Selling over the phone and face to face you generally follow a structure and selling online may seem different but the structure is the same, at the end of the day it’s a person that is going to buy off you, whether its online or offline. Yes when dealing face to face or over the phone, you have some sort of control and interaction directly with your customer, you can see or hear their reactions and position yourself accordingly. But how do we do this online? How do you give your visitor online that slight extra push to get them to actually start the checkout process or commit to your services?

There are some points you can keep in mind to ensure that you capture every visitor that comes on your site and convert as much business as possible.

Understanding:

When a sales person comes to see you or calls you, the first thing they aim to do is understand your needs and work on solution to sell. If they can find where in your lifestyle their product can fit into, that is what they will try to establish first, by asking you open questions and do some basic ground work.

Now online, you don’t have the luxury to ask direct open questions, but you can still establish what your visitors needs are by understanding their requirements, and also their general behaviour, on how they are engaging and interacting online. To understand your visitor’s habits online, the best place to establish this is on social networking sites. By having a business page or just generally looking though your competitors profile pages and seeing what general users are engaging with, what they like and dislike, which will give you a better understanding on how to position your self in front of potential clients.

You can also work the other way by doing keyword research, understanding what users are searching for online, which will help you optimise relevant keywords and again position your self in front of these searchers.

Presentation:

If we want people to spend their money with us, we need to look the part, hence the sales person that knocks on your door presents him self in a professional manner maybe with a suite or a business dress and the use of vocabulary would be a professional.

Similarly online, presentation plays a huge part in a success of an online business. Your visors can’t see you face nor they can see and experience your business premises or shop store. You have to portray all this experience though your website. So having a professional website designed and built will give your visitors the feel of your company, along with giving them assurance that they are dealing with a company that cares about their image and brand. Which is always a plus factor. As if a website doesn’t look good, or if I get the feeling that the website doesn’t look safe, doesn’t matter how good the product looks, I am not pulling out my wallet, and I’m sure you would feel the same. So take extra care in presenting your self-online, and ensuring that your website looks trustworthy.

Read article about building trust online.

Credibility

Credibility is something that will not be gained overnight, its actions that will speak louder than words. Now in whichever industry you are in, you will find some level of competition, and everyone wants customers to purchase of them, as they believe their products and services is the best in the industry. Now form a customers point of view, whom should they go to, everyone is shouting out for their business, some business services and products will actually be good and do what it says on the tin, but at the same time, there would be lots of unreliable products and services going around.

How can your business build credibility, so when a visitor does come to your website they do not leave without purchasing or generating a lead for you.

Knowledge: Portray your business in a way that you know your market well; you understand every aspect of your services and products. If your visitors can experience and feel this, it will make them feel that they are in good hands, and would want to deal with you, rather than your competitors, as everyone wants the best for themselves. Show to them that you are the best. One way you can show-off your knowledge is by having a blog on your website, and posting out frequent quality content related to your industry.

Take extra care: When selling your products, take extra care in every detail, which will WOW the customer, such as presenting the products well on your website, taking precaution in putting up good images, and also ensuring the products are delivered well. If you go the extra mile to ensure that every aspect of your online business is up to scratch, it will show to your new visitors that this is the company to be dealing with.

Social media. Building your creditability using social media is massive; having a strong active network on your social media profile is a testimonial in its own way. If new visitors come to your website and sees that couple of thousand people are following and engaging with you online, there must be something good about your company that they are engaging with you. Which will give your new visitors assurance and encouragement to commit to your products and services.

Anecdotes

Customers want to know how you have helped others in similar situations, so that they can see how they benefited from your business. If you have stories and cases studies, show them off. Tell them to everyone. You can present this on your websites in the form of:

  • Reviews: On each of your products and services page show testimonials and feedbacks from other customers that have bought this. By making it easy for your visitors to see how others have benefited from your products and services will encourage them to make the purchase.
  • Case studies: For couple of your clients build a full case study which you can showcase on your website. The case study can include text, interview and videos, showing the issues and problems that the customer was facing prior to buying your products and services and also how they have benefited from your business. Sometimes visitors just need that extra case study to make their mind.
  • Portfolio: Show off your work and your clients on your website. Even if it is just logos with links to their companies website, this way your new visitors can see all the companies that you are dealing with, and ideally your previous work should be able to get you new work.

Urgency

When speaking to sales professionals over the phone or face-to-face, one thing they push on is the urgency of purchasing off them there and than. Generally they mention:

  • Offer will expire
  • They will not be able to purchase the products or services from anyone else for the same deal
  • Limited stock
  • …etc

Same way online, when a visitor comes on your site, you want to ensure that they do not leave empty handed. You can use the above tactics to encourage your visitor to purchase online by:

  • Having a time countdown for the offer to expire
  • Give them a reason to buy now and not later

Michel from michelfortin.com states on his blog on how to create natural urgency

“Never pressure people to PUSH them into purchasing. Instead, use pressure to PREVENT them from procrastinating.”

 Reminders:

At times your visitors can easily get distracted and get off track on why they have come to your site, or just generally they are multiple tasking at the same time, and have drifted away. Have reminders in place by keeping your visitor engaged on your site and also showing your victors what other services you can offer them. You can do this by:

  • Having a popup on your site with the latest offers.
  • Live help, after a few minutes a prompt to your visitor asking if they would like to chat online to hep them make a decision or find the product or services that they are looking for.
  • Encourage your visitors to join your mailing list

Value of your Products & Services

If your company has won any awards or has had some sort of recognition or even participated in any events, whether it’s local, national or global, show this to your visitors. They want to know more about the company that they are dealing with. They want to know if you have been mentioned in the press or any events, as it may also relate to them and give them a feel of comfort that your online business is also active offline and has had good recognition.

Selling online and offline are similar in away, overall you need to establish your audience, show them how they can benefit form your products, encourage with some real anecdotes and give them assurance in your brand.

Image by SXC

Thank You For Reading

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Internet Marketing

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