There’s a lot of tips, tricks, strategies, pointers, methods, angles, and tactics out there on how to make a sale.
But guess what, it’s really easy to slip from serving your customers down the dark, slimy, creepy-crawly path of manipulation.
At Resound, we believe that marketing is really about making connections between remarkable companies and the people that are already looking for them. (Check out this blog post by David Cosand circa 2013.)
The world is waiting for you to be you. Sales should be about showing off the DNA of your company – the authentic identity that makes you unique.
That’s what helps you position in relation to competitors.
That’s what makes customers identify you as the right choice for them.
Values & Sales
Now, I can almost hear the chorus, “That ideology sounds nice…but how do we move the numbers? We’re a business! How are we supposed to make sales?”
Okay, take a breath.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t make sales. It doesn’t mean you don’t have great calls-to-action, and it doesn’t mean that your website has no sales page.
Yes, you want repeat customers, but why will people come back? Because they think you’re remarkable, and you fit their needs. There’s a balance – a link between ideology and practicality (and believe me…I’m all about practicality).
Are you ready for this? Here’s the link:
Consider your customers.
That’s it, plain and simple. In the same way that customers don’t want a sale shoved down their throat, they don’t want to aimlessly wander your website for hours wondering what to do. That’s not a good experience for them, is it? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
They need to get to know you. They also want you to make their experience easy. So ask for the sale! They’re expecting you to do it.
You can do both. Keep the needs of your customers in mind through your whole strategy.
It’s just good manners.
When Sales Get Pushy
Some people put such a high priority on making the sale that they place no value on being authentic and attractive. There’s no engaging story, and no attraction factor. Sure you might make the sale…once. But if customers aren’t delighted by the experience, they’re not coming back (well they might…but only if your product is laced with crack).
As a consumer, I love getting lost in a company’s world. What does it look like? What does it sound like? Where did it start and where is it going? What are they passionate about? What kind of person will I be in relation to them? Is this a story I want to be a part of? (For example, I love brands like Chipotle, In-n-Out, and MOO.)
I have the dignity of making a purchasing decision on my own time after researching the company and feeling respected through the process.
It’s incredibly arrogant for a company to just start preaching like they know me – even in an attempt to “meet me where I’m at.”
We don’t like people like that: people that don’t listen, who tell you everything they think you want to hear. People who think they know you when they’ve never spoken to you before in their life. People who are calculating their behavior and their words in order to sell you.
If you’re only worried about making the sale (not authentically finding the right fit), your customer experience will be boring. It’s just more sales copy in a huge wide world of sales copy. And, forgive me, your sales copy isn’t as clever as you think it is.
Your customer can tell you’re trying to sell them. They want to know what you believe and where you’re coming from before they’re going to take their credit card out. But too much sales copy says, “We don’t care about you…we don’t care about anything…just buy our stuff.”
You can’t make a tribe out of sales copy. People can’t be a part of a movement if the only movement is them making a purchase.
Now, there is a place for sales copy. It’s for the place in the relationship where they’re ready to take the next step. Don’t leave them wondering, “Well what do I do now?” Make it clear.
Customers Can Tell
As a marketer, I can appreciate when I’m being persuaded. I love a good argument, and I love an argument that doesn’t even have to be made because I’m already convinced. I appreciate a good sales campaign, and will likely go out of my way to support it.
However, I very much dislike what feels like a desperate grab at my attention/wallet from companies that can’t reach me where I’m at in a creative way. I’m almost insulted: “You really thought I’m dumb enough for that to work on me?”
We have got to remember that our customers are people…not data points.
“People are not sheep. Now, marketing can clearly influence. Of course it can. With that influence, we build up our credibility, the reasons you should buy us over someone else, and that is how we make a sale.”
– Gary Vaynerchuk, Speaker
“Instead of convincing people who are opposed to your message, spend your time finding people who are already predisposed to it.”
– Chris Guillebeau
Attract and promote. What’s attractive about your business? Why should people partner with you? Do you have a mission (besides making money)? How are you trying to change the world?
Tell us that.