Before the Internet, sales were conducted in brick and mortar establishments, on the telephone, or by visiting with people in their homes. In all of these cases, salesmen knew that they had to “instruct” their potential customers to engage in some type of action – one that resulted in purchasing what was being sold. An encyclopedia salesman, for example, might ask a customer, “Would you prefer to have your annual update volume to be sent by regular mail or by UPS?” The customer, who had not even purchased the encyclopedia set yet, would respond, and, in responding, had pretty much “sealed the deal.” It was all over except for the writing of the check!
Internet sales are really no different. Your goal is to sell your product or service, but, part of doing this is to gain customer interaction with your site, so that you can get him/her to respond to a “call to action,” which has a greater chance to result in a sale. Your goals are to gain favor, develop leads, promote yourself as an “expert,” etc. How do you do this? By including critical links, offers, and tempting perks, of course! Remember, to actually consummate sales, you have to be better than the competition, and you have a number of methods to do this!
1. A discounted sale is still a sale and may endear your customer for the future! Offering “first-time” customer discounts, or providing coupons for discounts on your site, will often entice a buyer, and give you a method of contact for additional sales campaigns. Language is import here. The customer must feel that s/he is “exclusive,” that is, the recipient of a one-time offer that is only available to a selected few!
2. Offer guides and/or information right on the site. If, for example, you are selling an item that must be assembled, that requires specific use instructions, etc., be certain that you have such instructions or videos on your site that demonstrates such assembly or use. You may, for example, be selling a stain/paint product. Have a link that demonstrates the ease with which the product can be applied. Perhaps you are selling a diet supplement. You should include a guide that provides information about the product’s use and perhaps some menu ideas that will assist in achieving the customer’s goal (weight loss, digestions, etc.). Guides and information links set you up as an “expert” and as someone who wants to offer customer service in addition to a sale.
3. If your business lends itself to newsletter updates, by all means have a “button” by which a potential customer can sign up. You get the email address and then have the ability to contact that customer for future offers and/or new products/services. As an alternative, offer a method by which a visitor can sign up to receive special offers and discounts. The point is this: you want to keep your customer “in the loop” for new and future sales campaigns!
4. You may have forums or “events.” Invite your visitors to link to your forums and attend your online events, and, locally, any events you hold in person. Use an RSVP button so that you get their email address, at a minimum. These will add to your marketing/mailing lists.
5. Offer free trials of your products or give part of your service gratis, so that customers can have a “taste” of what you offer. If your product/service is good, you have won their paying business!
In the end, you are in business to make a profit. The business practices via the Internet are no different than they were years ago. To build a customer base, and to attract new customers you must market, develop a clientele, and “seal deals.” Part of “sealing a deal” is having multiple “calls to action” during the selling process. If you continue to evaluate, revise, and improve these “calls” you will continue to grow your business!