Why are some people better at sales than others? Although it may seem like magic, whether you’re selling in person or online (Facebook, email newsletters, website ecommerce), there are tried and true tactics for improving your closing ratio.
David Ogilvy, known as the “father of advertising”, pioneered testing different strategies to see what works best. Successful advertising became science, not magic. He used Gallup polls to research the market base of his clients (including Rolls-Royce and Shell) so he knew best how to appeal to them. In his highly successful campaign for Dove soap, he chose to target women and so focused on not just cleansing, but moisturizing. “Dove is one quarter moisturizing cream.”
You can also test-market different ads and see what works best, starting with your headline (or now on social media, your lead picture or video). Five times more people read the headline than the text. You have one shot to capture attention. Your “hook” needs to be powerful. Whether selling in person or online, try many different leads and monitor the results to see what works best.
Try these tips:
- “Agitate the Problem.” Know your customer’s pain points and speak directly to them. The better you know your target customer, your “avatar,” the better the hook. Do market research (Facebook, Instagram) to understand your clients better. Are they worried about the economy and their future (or retirement)? Concerned about the future of the planet and social justice? Wanting life to come back to normal after the pandemic? Desiring to feel more attractive? Afraid of aging? Find what’s eating at them and dig in. Appeal to emotion. Love is the most powerful, whether expressed as an engagement ring or Mother’s Day gift. The customer should feel you really “get” them, that you’re on the same wavelength and understand their problems. This will grab their attention and keep it.
- Bring out benefits, not just product details. What will it do for your customer? How will it make them feel? Not, “Here are the 4 Cs” but “Ignite Something.” You’ve hit the raw nerve of their pain point. Now how will you solve their problem? And how will this make them feel? You have to spell it out, make it concrete. Not, “Our diamonds are precision cut” (though they may be) but “Feel like a queen.” Or “All eyes will be on you (or her).”
- USP. Unique Selling Point. What makes your product different, the best? Appeals to authority pack punch, whether it’s celebrities, influencers, or trusted organizations (“AGS Member”). Craft your product’s compelling story that sets it above the rest. Is it hand-made, ethically sourced, a designer original? Stories add power. They’re easier to grasp than facts. They stick with you.
- Possibility Thinking. Visionaries are powerful marketers. Steve Jobs revealed his marketing strategy: “Don’t sell the product, sell the dream.” His products – iPhone, Mac, iPod – changed the world. “Think different.” Today Elon Musk is revolutionizing the 21st century through Tesla and SpaceX. His vision – saving the planet through decreasing fossil fuels with electric cars, colonizing Mars – is so powerful he doesn’t need advertising. His enthusiastic customers spread the word themselves. Raise the bar. Inspire with a dream, whether it’s, “A diamond is forever,” “Platinum. Pure. Rare. Eternal,” or “Imagine a world of social justice, where gems and metals are ethically sourced, our planet is protected and artisans in developing countries have a decent standard of living.”
- Call to Action. (CTA) The payoff. According to Ogilvy, “Advertising (has)… a single purpose: to sell.” Don’t lose sight of the goal. “ABC.” Always be closing. Traditionally, sales success is measured by the completion of the sale, in the present or future. Today, success is measured by the percent of digital conversions – clicks-thru, new leads or final sales. Seal the deal. And keep track of which methods are working best. Follow thru with those. Drop the rest.
TIP: To get started, for each of the above points, think of one way you will implement them in your sales. Then “Just do it.”
The essence of successful sales is connecting. Your customer must feel you relate to them, share their concerns. Use scientific analysis to market research your client base and to track which sales strategies work best. Your sales success has no limits. But remember, in sales, like in all of life, it’s always that little bit of magic that adds the spark.