If you’re in business, you’ll know just how often you’re confronted with salesy marketing tactics and hilariously bad sales pitches. There are suppliers trying to get you to feature their products or services. There are marketers desperate for you to use their platforms. And there are those random strangers who incessantly offer to ‘help’ you grow your business or tweak your website.
They all have one thing in common. Almost without exception, they’re salesy. They spam you with offers and promises. And you probably wonder if anyone ever buys anything from them, with good reason.
How Being ‘Salesy’ Became a Thing
Twenty years ago, global businesses began to embrace the reality of the internet as a powerful sales platform. Amazon was rapidly transforming from a simple marketplace for books into the world’s largest retailer. With that awakening, major brick-and-mortar retailers began to put up websites, and ecommerce became a thing.
Fast forward a decade, and everybody with a product or service was competing for online space. The internet shifted from mere idea sharing to a huckster’s paradise, seemingly overnight. And today, we’re still suffering from the hangover.
Why? Because of the concept of sales psychology. The salesy ‘hard sell’ was king. After all, if it had worked down at the used car lot, maybe it would work online. And the initial results were fantastic. Self-styled ‘experts’ made millions. If you didn’t grab their magic offer at a one-time discount, you’d miss out forever.
The Art of (Not So Good) Salesmanship
Pressure selling is as old as human history. So is the proverbial snake oil that will absolutely, definitely cure you of pretty much anything.
So why are people still being subjected to it?
The answer is simple: people are easily manipulated. We’re all prone to the same psychological responses to certain things.
- We hate losing out or losing money. (Buy now or you may never see this again!)
- We love feeling important. (This offer is exclusively for platinum clients! Click here to become one.)
- We love the emotions associated with praise. (Your friends will be amazed when you buy this!)
- We dislike uncertainty. (Don’t wait – get yours right now!)
- And of course, we love a bargain. (Buy one and we’ll throw in a freebie!)
Fact is, you can get someone to buy from you using salesy tactics like these. But most sales that happen this way are once-off encounters. You’re not giving any thought to customer retention or building a long-term relationship of trust.
The Myth of ‘Closing the Sale’
Today, customers are more wary than ever of cheap sales tactics. Being salesy just doesn’t cut it anymore. In business, you want your customers to welcome the opportunity to buy from you because they like and trust you. And for that to happen, you need to take a different approach.
If you’re still focused on ‘closing the sale’, you might want to rethink what you’re projecting.
Being salesy carries a few implications you might not have thought about:
- It implies that a customer doesn’t actually want to buy from you. And that means you have to persuade or bully them into doing so.
- You’re framing a sale as a battle to be won, and you’re the winner if you get the sale.
- Logically, then, if you’re the winner, the customer is the loser. You’re the hunter, they’re the target. How would you feel if the roles were reversed?
At best, being salesy is tired and annoying. At worst, it’s exploitative and cynical.
Business Relationships are Personal Relationships
Your target audience today is radically different to the previous generation of consumers. People are paying attention to traits like brand authenticity rather than showmanship. And in a very real way, the best businesses are forging personal relationships with their customers.
Imagine, for a moment, that you’ve met someone you like and want to date them. There are two very different ways of trying to get their attention. Here’s one:
- “Hey, I’m available for a date. But today only. Offer ends at midnight. You snooze, you lose, sucker.”
- “I’m way better than anyone else out there. My previous dates all say so. You’d be stupid not to choose me.”
- “I’m such a big deal that your friends will be jealous when they see us together. Oh, and give me your credit card number quickly so I can book tickets to the show for us.”
Would you want to get into a relationship with someone like that? We hope not! On the other hand, there’s this approach:
- “Would you mind if I gifted something to you as a token of my appreciation for the chat we had?”
- “It sounds like we have a lot in common. If it’s appropriate, would you mind telling me more about yourself?”
- “We’re having a get-together on Saturday, and if you’d like to, I’d love for you to join us.”
How to Sell to People – The Right Way
If you want loyal, lifelong customers who always buy from you – and bring their friends onboard – there’s only one way. You need to nurture and cultivate a sincere relationship with them.
No, it’s not a quick fix. And no, not everybody will jump at it.
If you like the idea of attracting lifelong customers, fans, and friends, you might consider using this 5-step process:
Step 1: Establish a Connection
Be clear about your brand and what you stand for. You’ll want to establish a niche strategy for your business so you’re speaking to the right audience. Never try to rush the process. You need to begin establishing the basics of a conversation with your target market:
- Make people aware of your existence without being pushy or salesy.
- Educate and inform them – and of course, entertain them too.
- Invite their input and participation.
Step 2: Listen More Than You Speak
Try not to view marketing as one-way communication. The greatest marketers know that conversation leads to conversion. Frame your audience communications more informally, more empathetically, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the responses you get.
Step 3: Show the Transformation, Not The Product
Spend less time telling people about your product or service. Rather, tell them about how it will transform their life or business. Get a skilled copywriter to use storytelling to engage the imagination of your audience and endear them to you. In a very real way, this is a courtship.
Step 4: It’s All About Them, Not You
The moment you enter the ‘potential sale’ phase of any customer communication, stop talking about you or your product. Your newsletters and mailers should be asking questions, provoking thought, inspiring change. Simply open the door – there’s no need to shove anyone through it. Make the invitation clear, but also ensure you don’t sound like that used car salesman we spoke about earlier.
Step 5: Never Force Anything
Here’s a universal truth: not everyone will become your customer. Not everyone will like you (or your product), no matter how sincere you are.
And that’s okay. Instead of trying to shoehorn them in, gracefully let them go. Rather use that energy to connect with others who align with your company’s goals and values. Simply let go.
More Sales, Less Stress
It’s a good idea to get help with your marketing campaigns and brand initiatives. One of the most practical and cost-effective ways is to hire a professional virtual assistant. You pay only for the hours you use, and a VA is a smart solution to your time and staffing challenges.
Book a discovery call today, claim your free trial, and see how we can help you