In today’s information-packed world, there is nothing that customers can’t research and learn more about on their own. As a result, sales roles have changed dramatically. The education and research phase of the sales funnel now belongs to marketing, which we call nurturing. In fact, for organizations on the extreme end of the spectrum, sales personnel are nothing more than order placers.
Does that mean we should ditch the tried and true sales techniques? Not necessarily. Rather, we should find new ways to apply these sales techniques in digital marketing.
This article from marketingland.com provides some great insight:
To sell is to do life. And some of those old-school sales professionals, in spite of their fabled annoying techniques, had some savvy tricks that we would do well to bring back.
We need to learn these old-school sales techniques, but we need to apply them in totally new ways.
1. Foot-In-The-Door Technique (FITD)
The foot-in-the-door technique — also known by its acronym, FITD — hearkens back to the days when “salesmen” sold vacuum cleaners to “housewives.” They lived out of station wagons and knocked on doors. And, they literally stuck their foot in the door to keep it from slamming in their face.
The basic idea of FITD is that if you are able to get a customer to agree to something small, they will be more willing to agree to something large.
A small request paves the way for a large request.
How does it work in online marketing? The principle is simple. First, ask for something small; next, ask for something bigger.
Here are the kinds of things you can ask for:
- Email address
- Webinar attendance
- Twitter follow
- Facebook like
- Google+ follow
- Watch a video
- Comment on a blog
- Download a free e-book
Those are simple, no-cost requests. If customers respond positively, then they are more likely to respond well to another bigger request — a sale, a download, a trial, etc.
2. Face-In-The-Door Technique
The face-in-the-door technique sounds a lot like the foot-in-the-door technique, but it’s actually built on the opposite idea. And don’t worry; it’s not as violent as it sounds.
If you ask for something enormous from the customers, they will likely reject it. Then, if you follow up that request with something more modest, they’d be more likely to accept it.
You can carry this technique out in online marketing using a technique similar to the study above:
- First ask for something large — an outright five-year, lump-sum SaaS subscription. It costs $6,000. If the user refuses, no problem. Follow up with a request for a no-risk trial signup — 30 days free. Statistically, they will be more likely to comply than if you simply presented them with the free 30-day offer.
- You can do the same with email marketing. Send one email asking for, say, attendance to a three-day conference in Geneva, Switzerland. If they refuse, no problem. The next day, ask your mailing list to sign up for a thirty-minute webinar.
- You can do the same thing on a landing page. Early in the page, ask for a large conversion or cash purchase. Later on, ask for a smaller conversion such as an email address, a case study download or something similar.
The face-in-the-door technique feels hard at first, but it can be enormously successful.
3. The “Give Me A Week” Technique
Attaching a time frame to something — anything — increases the likelihood of a conversion. In a time-driven culture, we are very sensitive to requests that have to do with time.
The “give me a week” technique is used by consultants or other service providers. They state “give me a week (or month, or year)” and I’ll raise your revenue, or bring you traffic, or close more sales, or sell your house or whatever it is they’re pledging to do.
For example, let’s say you are selling a sleep monitoring app. In your landing page or app description, write “Give it a try for a week, and your sleep quality will noticeably improve!”
Set your own time frame — a week, 24 hours, whatever — then shape the customers’ expectations within that time frame.
4. The Scarcity Technique
“ACT NOW! YOU’LL NEVER SEE A DEAL THIS GOOD AGAIN!”
That’s the scarcity technique at play.
The urgency technique is very effective. The idea is to raise the intensity of the situation so the customer responds immediately rather than later, or potentially never.
The principle translates seamlessly into online marketing. You can increase urgency by using time signals or availability signals.
- Webinar signups are closing in 2 days. Sign up now.
- We are selling this product until the supply runs out. Only 9 left.
- I have limited consulting hours available this month. Book your consultation now.
If you’re upfront about this — and use numbers and time limits to say so — you’ll be able to gain more conversions.
5. Badmouth The Competition
No, I don’t mean this in the actual sense.
Sadly, badmouthing the competition was used as a sales technique by some of those old-school salespersons.
Badmouthing the competition does more to discredit you than it does to discredit the object of your badmouthing.
What’s the appropriate online correlation? It’s differentiation.
You don’t have to badmouth the competition to assert your superiority. You simply need to imply how you’re different and better.
Many companies do this with product comparison charts. They display a chart of benefits, features, and prices showing how their product or service is superior to the others.
Sales is sales. It’s about mental connection, psychological understanding and relationship building. This looks and feels entirely different on websites than it does in a timeshare sales office.
However, some of the principles remain the same. They’re softer. They’re nicer. And they’re still very effective.
Read more on marketingland.com.
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