Updated: Jan 20
The internet has changed the way we sell for the better.
In this super short post I'll show you a new strategy for selling & why it works so well for e-commerce.
Consumers Have Evolved
Thanks to the internet, we're all highly informed these days.
Everyone's guilty of an impulsive purchase at a convenience store here and there.
But think about how you go about larger purchases like:
Buying a car
Finding a place to rent
Unless you're completely out of touch, you're using the internet during that process.
Imagine how frustrating it must’ve been to go through a travel agent to book a flight.
I don't even use airline websites to look for flights anymore... because Google does all the work for me.
A quick search for "Denver to Orange County" will show me every flight, the price for each ticket, and whether that price is higher or lower than normal for that time of year.
And there's plenty of examples of this.
I'm currently procrastinating Christmas shopping, which is ridiculous because it's incredibly easy these days.
Amazon houses all of the necessary information for me to compare multiple items and sellers in seconds.
I also need to find a lease for the new year, which I'll do on Zillow where I can find and compare virtually every available property in the city of Denver.
There's an insane amount of information available online — if you're not using it when you make purchases, you're a little behind the times.
My grandpa use to spend weeks researching a car and visiting multiple dealerships before making a decision.
(He still does that, but that's just because he's bored and likes going to dealerships.)
Today, the normal consumer shows up knowing exactly how much they should be paying for the car they're looking for.
Which explains why we're seeing less sleazy used-car salesmen, and more places like Carvana, where the entire car-buying process is done online.
For the most part, people don't need to look to salesmen to learn about the benefits of a product or service — they've gathered that information themselves.
The new consumer is incredibly informed.
Which means there's no use trying to convince someone your product is better priced, they've already done the market research.
These days it's all about true value. Can your product add value to their life?
How can they be sure of that?
It starts with trust.
If you're in the sales industry, don't take this personally...
People don't like being sold to.
Because most people associate sales with telemarketers, spammers, scammers, and junk mail.
In a world where people can access any product from their phone, they don't want to feel bombarded with sales.
They want to feel in control and seek out products when they feel ready.
But surely we can't just throw out sales and marketing completely.
Without it, how would people become aware of new products and desire new services?
The key is to stop selling products, and start selling trust.
Might sound like a dumb concept.
But actually, most of us experience it all the time, especially online.
Think about health and fitness coaches on Instagram.
Most of them, the smart ones at least, are using their posts and stories to give you their routines and diets.
At a glance, that doesn't add up, right?
Why would they give up their knowledge and expertise for free? What are they left with?
I could have have someone call, email, and text me everyday trying to sell me on an 8-week fitness program — and they could show me hundreds of success stories from their clients.
And they might actually have a really great, valuable program that I'm missing out on.
But I don't know them or their clients personally, I have no idea whether or not they're lying, and I'm naturally skeptical of anyone sending me that many messages.
I'm much more likely to trust someone on Instagram demonstrating their workouts, posting pictures of their personal transformation.
Because they're providing tips, insights, and advice that I can interact with.
I'll check out their page, see their former posts, and might even visit their Youtube channel.
Which is why I rely completely on Youtube and Instagram for my workout routines.
Not only because it's free, but because there's plenty of user-generated data like number of views, up-votes, comments, etc. to tell me whether or not they're legit.
In other words, I can easily develop trust in them.
"But if I give away my expertise for free, how do I make any money?"
Don't Be Scared, It's OK to Give
And you don't have to be Oprah.
Giving a little goes a long way online.
In the fitness coach example, they're making money off of views alone. Youtube pays great money to it's top producers.
And earlier this week Snapchat announced they're giving $1M every day to users posting with their new Spotlight feature.
I've said it before, content is king.
But also, the true IP of a fitness coach is their ability to create programs for specific individuals.
They're not giving away tailored workout routines or meal plans.
To get their complete expertise, you'd need to work with them, and that's the real product.
They're not forcing their programs on their users.
They built a digital presence with real, valuable content, and the sales come naturally.
In an example from his book To Sell Is Human, Daniel Pink talked about an up-and-coming software company taking advantage of this strategy.
"The employees that offer support, unlike a traditional sales force, don't tempt callers with fast-expiring discounts or badger them to make a long term commitment.
Instead, they simply help people understand the software, knowing that the value and elegance of their assistance can move wavering buyers to make a purchase"
Face it, with the internet, people are going to be able to do their own research.
As a fitness coach, the fundamentals of what you teach are available for free online.
Instead, consider consolidating that information, make it simple and easy to understand, and give it away for free.
People will see your content, notice your expertise, and trust you're not a sleazy salesman.
That's the beauty of content marketing.
Content Marketing Is a Great Way Earn Online
It creates your income vehicle.
Content creates trust — trust becomes authority — authority becomes leverage.
In other words, content allows people to get to know you.
When they see you, understand your expertise, and recognize your value, selling becomes easy.
Forget the sales talk, it'll get sent to the junk folder anyway.
Build your brand by giving out content and let people see your value, if you're consistent, the sales will come.
Do you have a content channel? Want to create one? Tell me about it in the comments! I reply to every one.
Next week I'll dive into the art of storytelling.
Look for it next Friday — or you could subscribe so you don't miss it 😏