Struggling to get customers to buy from you when you’re having a conversation? In this post I’ll share a simple technique that works for me.
Read any advice on starting a business and you’ll be given many different things to think about – marketing, branding, accounting, paying taxes, bookkeeping, customer service… the list goes on.
But one feature every business has in common – and this one is surprisingly easy to to overlook – is that they all need to make sales. No sales equals no profit and therefore no business. Yet many small business owners feel awkward about selling. Did you set up your business because you like delivering the service or making the product, but could happily do without the selling part? If so, you’re not alone.
Unfortunately you also have a fight going on inside your head – selling is absolutely crucial to the success on your business, but at the same time you’re repelled from doing it. That’s both self-defeating and exhausting.
Nobody could say I’m a natural born salesperson. And I’m certainly not a sales expert (yet! 😉 ) But some years ago a realised I had to get over my reluctance to sell if I was going to even have a business. The truth is that selling isn’t pushy or sleazy, it’s just an exchange of value. And if you have something that is helpful to others, that they love or will save them time and effort, why wouldn’t they want to pay for it?
“…if you have something that is helpful to others, that they love or will save them time and effort, why wouldn’t they want to pay for it?”
So far so good, but it can’t stay as just an idea in your head, it needs to come out in your actions. And frequently, too. A technique I find really helpful is ‘has that got a ‘buy now’ button?’
‘Buy now’ buttons are nothing fancy, you’ll find them in any online store. In fact it would be weird if you came across an online store without ‘buy now’ buttons, and also totally useless.
But some years ago I found myself writing loads of blog posts and emails with no obvious way for any of my readers to buy anything. This was crazy, I wasn’t going to sell anything unless there was a very clear way for people to hand over their money. Obviously I needed to tell them to ‘buy now’ strategically, but I definitely needed to do it. I started to ask myself ‘should that have a buy now button?’
I started to think of subscribing to my marketing emails as needing a ‘buy now’ button, too. No money changed hands, so my ‘subscribe’ buttons were really calls to action rather than actual ‘buy now’ buttons, but in a way subscribers do pay with their email addresses. So thinking of this exchange as a sale focused my mind on giving my subscribers something of real value in return for that email address.
Read more about closing sales with email marketing in my ‘Ask The Expert’ post at Drive The Network, here.
With a little practice I got into the habit of strategically encouraging people to ‘buy now’, making sure these messages (links, buttons, ‘click here for more’ etc) were mixed in with useful content. But my verbal conversations were a different matter! I’d answer questions, give advice and generally tiptoe around making a sale. One day someone actually told me to take their money! I’d convinced them to buy but they had to convince me to sell. Doh!
Then I realised that my sales conversations needed ‘buy now’ buttons, too.
If you’re thinking ‘huh?’, yes technically they are probably calls to action. But as with subscribing to my mailing list, thinking of them as little verbal ‘buy now’ buttons focuses my mind on the task in hand. Here are some examples of verbal ‘buy now’ buttons:
- Cash or card?
- Let me send you a quote, which email address shall I send it to? (Then follow up in a few days)
- That’ll be £x, thanks
- Our special discount ends tomorrow, shall I sign you up now?
- When shall we get started?
- Which package are you going with?
- Which delivery date would you like?
- Why don’t you give it a try?
Just add a ‘buy now’ button where the conversation reaches a natural point where they want what you’ve got and you need to tell them the next step.
If you struggle to get to the point where potential clients are ready to buy, try AIDA which I explain here. But if you are having good conversations that don’t lead comfortably to a sale, why not try adding your own ‘buy now’ buttons?
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