Selling is a contact sport
"It's not what you know that counts. And it's not who you know.
It's what you know about who you know that counts."
Offline, knowing customers as much as possible grants the salesperson
the ability to qualify them appropriately, create rapport with them, remain
in constant contact with them, upselling them with additional backend
offers, and, of course, networking with and through them.
They say "Knowledge is power." Knowing people is the crux of
most good, long-lasting and truly rewarding relationships. Therefore,
knowing not only about your customers but also knowing them -- at a more
intimate level -- will increase repeat and referral sales. Nothing appeals
to the customer's ego more than a company or person who knows, wants to
know or is concerned about her -- not in a way to pry into her private
life but as a way to become more involved in her buying process.
Simplifying the buying process is the key.
For example, Dale Carnegie, in his book "How to Win Friends and
Influence People," noted that the sweetest sound to a person's ear
is her name. As web personalization will become an increasingly important
factor to online success over time, including the use of technologies
such as CRM (or "customer relationship management"), at the
most basic level it starts with the simple gathering of information about
your customer, overtly and with permission, which can be done in many
When you get an order from a customer or at least an inquiry for more
information, do you simply ask for the order? Or do you also go through
an information gathering process?
On the Internet, you have the ability and opportunity to know your customers
at a greater level -- again, with their knowledge and consent. Therefore,
the first thing to do is to provide easy-to-find contact information (or
a link to such) on every page in order for customers to reach you. To
this end, offer a phone number, a postal address and an online contact
Web-based forms seem to encourage more feedback than email links (such
as "mailto:"). A reason could very well be the fact that some
- Surf the web without an email client
- Browse the web on a third party's computer (e.g., library, work or
- Use a web-based email client (e.g., Hotmail.com). If the only way
people can reach you is through an email "mailto" link, which
forces them to use an email client, you are probably losing a percentage
of visitors willing to get in touch with you let alone sales.
As a client requires further assistance or while she is making a purchase,
offer the option to provide key information to you as well. Try to get
not only her contact information but also an understanding of her needs,
goals, comments about your site or product, and so on. You want to collect
as much important information about a prospect or client as possible --
but be discreet and patient, as too much too soon can kill the sale.
Knowing your customers, being concerned about their needs or at least
showing that you are concerned about them (which is what a form, survey
or any request for more information can do, if communicated well) can
cement more profitable relationships. In short, the more you know about
your contact, the stronger the potential relationship can become with
But it's worth repeating: Undeniably, this process should take place
over time. You should keep specific records like contact and activity
histories of each individual (be it a subscriber, member, prospect or
client) in a database, which you can mine later on. Most plain email list
managers will not offer those capabilities. But some software programs
do, such as Mailloop (see http://successdoctor.com/partners/tips/mailloop.htm).
Ultimately, in the very least you want qualified leads to come forward
voluntarily and identify themselves to you. Get them to subscribe to a
newsletter, participate in a survey, join an opt-in list or enroll in
an online community (or even post to a simple message board on your website)
-- these tools provide that opportunity in the easiest way. If not, offer
some kind of free service, application, trial or piece of information,
whereby receiving such forces the visitor to provide at least their basic
contact information in order to obtain it.
Offering freebies, such as downloads, access to a section of your site,
ezine subscriptions or interactive tools -- like discussion forums, web-based
email accounts, chat rooms, web communities, greeting cards, calculators
or reminder services -- can help nudge visitors in providing not only
their contact information but also important marketing intelligence. More
importantly, combining a survey with a free draw, contest or giveaway
can help nudge unresponsive recipients into action.
For example, at http://BabyCenter.com
(a store catering to parents of young children), visitors are encouraged
to become members and to use a pregnancy development tracker. Expectant
mothers enter the baby's due birth date and an email address. By starting
the process of providing information, it allows that online business to
remain in constant contact with their visitors and, of course, make special
offers along the way (such as coupons for baby items, clothing, diapers,
Of course, it goes without saying that you should provide a strong privacy
policy indicating what you will do with the information gathered. In addition
to not sharing the data, include security information, such as what will
protect the information once gathered.
According to a recent interview on CBC with the CEO of Chapters.ca (at
who commented on the upcoming holiday season, studies overwhelmingly show
that the number one deterrent from buying online remains fears about security
and privacy. Therefore, include privacy and security policies.
Nevertheless, the more information you gather -- overtly, with permission
and over time -- about your visitors, then the more equipped you will
be to increase traffic and sales. (And keep in mind that doing it over
a period of time is critical, as you must instill trust in, and establish
a relationship with, people in order to have them voluntarily provide
information. The more personal the information is, the longer the process
of gathering information will inevitably be. So be patient.)
Moreover, this process is not limited to visitors, prospects, subscribers
or clients. You should also gather data about (and from) your affiliates,
employees, suppliers, partners, joint venture associates and strategic
Simply stated, always remember that those people who are important to
you and your business WANT to know that they are important. Offering
to collect more information about people, and clearly communicating the
importance to them in doing so, is the first step. The way you ask and
collect the information is important.
If done well, you'll be excavating a gold mine.
|About the author
Michel Fortin is a direct response copywriter and consultant dedicated
to turning sales messages into powerful magnets. Get a free copy of
his book, "The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning," when
you subscribe to his free monthly ezine, "The Profit Pill."
your mind about an eBay bid?
We have all made choices in life that two seconds later
we know we should take back. Especially when there is money involved
this can become a problem.
simple way to create 7 effective autoresponder messages
Email is the Net's most powerful marketing tool. And autoresponders
are the best idea yet for marketing with email.
ways to drive laser-targeted traffic to your website
Getting people who matter to see one’s website
is a difficult undertaking if he tries to consider the fact that
there are rivals everywhere waiting to pin him down.
valuation: Why standard website pricing methods will emerge
The market of buying and selling developed websites is
becoming more and more liquid each day.
way links are better than reciprocal links
You probably know by now that where your website ranks in
the search engine rankings dramatically affects how many visitors you
have to your site. Did you also know that you can change where your
site is ranked by being proactive and getting as many one way links
to your site as possible?
to make visitors stay at your website
The very first thing which you should provide the visitors
with is some free interesting reading material.
to make your visitors click your ads
Here is a simple solution; Convert your banner advertisement
to look like a text advertisement!
advertising should be a part of your online strategy
Day by day, online business has become more & more
complicated and competitive.
to sell traffic
Selling the traffic arriving at your site is a good method
to increase profits from your portal.
money from online auctions
Online auctions have the best benefit of a vast platform.
Your product is viewed by loads of people & hence there is
more possibility of finding a suitable bidder.
explained in easy terms
Groupware is a term used frequently to describe collaborative
software. Groupware is application software that integrates work
on a single project by several concurrent users at separated random
back up can save you from disasters
Few things which people often back up are e-mail addresses,
bank records, photographs, personal records, software’s,
should one go for autoresponders
Autoresponders are programs which get automatically
executed in particular situations.
your own boss - Start your own online business today
A survey conducted by SBA states that two third of new
business survives at least two year and about forty four percent
survives at least four year.
your thoughts - Creating your own blog!
What exactly is a blog? Technically speaking it is a
journal or a newsletter which is regularly updated and can be used
by any one.
ads - To be or not to be?
According to a study conducted by the Bunnyfoot University, “The
Efficacy of Pop-ups and the Resulting Effect on Brands” Internet
users feel harangues and harassed by pop-up ads.
content is king on the Internet
The advantages that Internet holds over the rest of
the other communication mediums should not wasted because of
the inability to find a comprehensive plan that will bind all
these faculties together.
niche marketing tips
In our increasingly driven consumer economies, the average
customer is bombarded by choices. With increased saturation of the
market, companies look towards niche marketing to search new, ever-evolving
and sophisticated consumers.
free traffic exchange
These days internet has emerged as both, a market and
hub for marketing. Unlike the ‘brick and mortar’ world
where large manufacturers manage to squeeze out the market bases
of smaller companies, the internet provides haven like the free
ways to drive traffic to your website
Developing a web site and then letting it grow is
like planting a tree and then nurturing it.
through keyword articles
One of the most effective tools of Internet marketing
is the use of keyword articles.
to make money online? Market a service to businesses
Don walked across the street from his house to mine to
announce he had finally retired. "But I'm not ready for the
golf course," he said. "I want to make a living on the
Internet. What can I sell?"
site design mistakes - Database parameters in URLs
Creating a web site takes thought, planning and execution.
Unfortunately, many designs are dead in the water before they are
even published as far as search engine optimization is concerned.
Whatever you do, avoid these critical mistakes.
Toolbar - The ultimate internet tool
There are numerous tools available on the Internet to
assist online businesses. A valuable tool that you should use is
the Alexa Toolbar. Even better, this tool is free.
site design mistakes
Some wise human once said "Learn from the mistakes
of others. There isn't nearly enough time to make them all yourself."
Hence this article. Here are five of the most annoying and common
web design mistakes.
- Why visitors don't turn into customers
Every good Internet business understands the value of
conversions versus hits received. Far too often, businesses become
fixated on the hits they are receiving instead of monitoring their
hit to sale conversion rate.
search engine optimization - A case study
Search engine optimization this and search engine optimization
that. You read and hear about it all day, but what about your site?
|Tools & services to enhance your online
Over 100,000 small businesses of all kinds outperform
larger, well-financed competitors. Read about this all-in-one site-building-hosting-marketing
system of tools that delivers results.
To Their Success
Take a private tour of two "Mom & Pop"
web sites every month that earn $100,000+ a year... and discover
the exact step-by-step strategies they have personally used to generate
these massive profits.