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3 Critical Elements To Help You Sell Your Product or Service Like a Pro

If a potential customer can’t easily answer these three questions, you’re sunk. How does your messaging stack up?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

This post was first published on my Medium blog—follow me there for the most up-to-date entries!

Frequently, we entrepreneurs truly believe we have the best product or service in the world. So, naturally, we feel puzzled when it doesn’t sell. In the process of becoming certified as a Business Made Simple (BMS) coach, I learned an easy approach to sell like a pro from NYT best-selling author and founder of BMS, Donald Miller. In his training and his book, Marketing Made Simple, Miller emphasizes that closing the sale is more likely if three critical elements are immediately evident to your prospective client.

1. What you are selling?

There’s no doubt in your mind what you’re selling. To you, it’s obvious! You conceived this product or service, gave birth to it, and nurtured it into maturity. But unless your customer can recognize what you’re offering within a matter of seconds, sales will be slow.

Sources vary, and the number of minutes on a page differs from one industry to another, but most experts agree that website visitors spend about 56 seconds on a page. Can your visitors grasp your message in 56 seconds or less? Let me tell you my recent experience.

I gave a 20-minute discovery call to a prospective client. She was looking for a coach to help her with a health-related offer that she couldn’t sell. As an experienced nurse, I felt sure I could look at her website and immediately know what she was offering. But after staring at her sales page for more than one minute, I couldn’t figure out if she was selling an online course, a hard copy book, an in-person consultation session, small group classes, or something else entirely!

I saw the title, the “features” of the product, and more. She had beautiful images. I loved the aesthetics. I clearly understood what “topic” she was addressing. But I still had no idea what, exactly, the customer would buy.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she had violated nearly all of my 25 “rules” for creating an effective website. But I could easily point to her worst mistake: it was entirely unclear to me what, exactly, she was selling.

Remember, your customer will spend less than one minute on your site before deciding whether to read further or move on to someone else’s. To sell like a pro, first make sure they can tell at a glance what you’re selling.

2. How does the customer get what you’re selling?

Let’s say visitors can immediately figure out your offer. And they want to buy what you want to sell. But they’re not buying. Maybe it’s because they don’t know how to get it. What can you do?

Start by asking yourself whether you’re selling a physical or electronic product, or a service. That will guide you to giving a call to action (CTA) that makes sense.

If it’s an electronic product or service, your CTA might start with the word…

  • Download (e.g., a checklist, cheat sheet, template, etc.)
  • Buy (e.g., an app, a shippable item, etc.)
  • Register (e.g., a course, an event, etc.)

By the way, use a verb that reflects the action the person needs to take. “Click here” is lame. Lamar University gives several reasons to avoid saying “click here” because it is not:

  • Action-oriented
  • SEO-friendly
  • “Modern” (i.e., we don’t click on a phone or a tablet)

Next, make sure your call to action is in several places. Think of your website as if it were a large department store. Let me explain.

Some years ago, I wanted to buy a sweater in a nice department store. I found exactly what I wanted; it was my size, my color, and in my price range. I walked for perhaps 30 yards, but I could not find a cash register. When I finally found the cash register, the cashier wasn’t there!

Just like a brick-and-mortar store, your website is where you take in money. So, make it easy for the customer to find the cash register and pay. I put the “cash register” in the upper right corner of the webpage, and also in several places throughout the page. This avoids the problem of making the visitor “walk around” your site to find a “cash register.”

Products almost always require payment, so don’t be afraid to say “buy” in your CTA. Also, if it’s a digital product, let the customer know how they will be able to access it after they’ve paid. In my training as a certified business coach, I learned the importance of the 3-step plan.

For a digital project, your 3-step plan might look like this:

  1. Determine if you need the basic or advanced [name of product].
  2. Buy the [digital product] that meets your needs.
  3. Look for an email confirmation and click on the link to enjoy immediate access to your [digital product].

Unlike a physical product such as a sweater or a book, a “buy” CTA might not be appropriate for a service. The customer might need to take a step or two before money changes hands. For example, if you’re offering landscaping or floral arrangements or wedding planning, you aren’t expecting customers to pay just yet. Your call to action should help visitors to know what steps to take before they get to the cash register.

Let’s stick with the idea that you offer wedding or event planning. Your 3-step plan might look like this:

  1. Decide on the date of your event.
  2. Establish your budget.
  3. Call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx to book an appointment!

What about if you offer a clinical service, such as massage therapy, dentistry, or chiropractic care? Your 3-step plan might be:

  1. Decide which [therapist, dentist, doctor] you’d like to see.
  2. Call xxx-xxx-xxxx to book an appointment, or book online [link].
  3. Arrive 10 minutes ahead of time, and have your insurance card with you.

A clear call to action, simplified into three steps and well placed throughout your website, is your next element to sell like a pro.

3. How will it make the customer’s life better?

Many of us, particularly if we’ve developed the product or service, feel compelled to talk about the features of the product. Believe me, I’ve been caught in that trap. For years, I listed the “features” of my course, my book, or my services. This is my baby, right? I felt it was critical to mention such features as:

  • A multi-media approach: reading, audiocasts, videos.
  • Work at your own pace; up to 18 months to finish.
  • Includes active learning exercises at the end of each unit.

I worked hard to create those features. I knew my learning exercises were fun, interesting, and helped the learner to apply the content to real-life scenarios. I patted myself on the back for offering such superb features. But people don’t buy features.

I’m not suggesting you skip mentioning the features. I’m saying that to sell like a pro, it’s critical to focus more on the transformation the person will experience when they’re using your product or service with those superb features.

Here are a few examples for different types of transformations you might see.

  • Approach the certification exam with complete confidence.
  • Skip the grocery shopping, cooking, and clean-up.
  • Never again worry about losing your keys.

The transformation becomes more evident to potential buyers when they can visualize themselves doing something, or when the text evokes pleasurable feelings. Let’s say you’re trying to rent your AirBnB cottage. Sell the transformation in this way:

  • Relax in a chaise lounge near a sparkling lake.
  • Enjoy a scrumptious meal using a WeberTM grill.
  • Feel rested and refreshed in a SleepNumberâ bed.

Think about it. What would make your customer’s life better? Comfort and convenience are on everyone’s wish list, along with security. People also want profitability, peace of mind, confidence in their abilities, and efficiency. And, if you can, offer a money-back guarantee, as that creates a no-risk opportunity to experience the transformation you’re offering.

Just think about the kinds of things you’ve bought in the last few weeks. Did you buy because of the features? Probably not. In the last 10 days, here’s what we bought, and why we bought it:

  1. An office chair to alleviate my husband’s back pain (Comfort).
  2. Custom orthotics for me to walk 3 miles a day (Comfort).
  3. A food scale to help hubby manage his diet (Efficiency) and so I could make a tastier, moister cake (Quality).
  4. A set of compression packing cubes — I could pack at least 40% more by using these in the last few weeks! (Efficiency)
  5. Key identifiers in various colors to quickly tell which key goes to which car, house, or office (Convenience).

You might want to get:

  • A better home safe, or an upgrade to your security system (Security).
  • A person to mow your lawn (Convenience).
  • A makeover (Confidence in self-image).

This element is all about your copy — your text — so I’ll repeat here what’s been said so many times elsewhere. Write your text before ever thinking of putting words on your website. Write it, read it, re-read it, read it out loud, ask someone else to read it. Hire a copy editor if you can. Even if you’re a strong writer, you rarely have a flawless text the first time.

Master these three elements to sell like a pro

You must provide messaging to answer three simple questions for your prospects or customers within a matter of seconds: what you’re offering, how they can get it, and how it will make their lives better. These three critical elements aren’t all that difficult to communicate, but they are often overlooked. No matter what else your website, physical space, or presentation features, its most prominent messages should be these three elements. If you still need help to grow your business, book a discovery call!

Which of these three elements does your website need to emphasize?

This post was first published on my Medium blog—follow me there for the most up-to-date entries!

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

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