Last Tuesday, copywriter Amy and I went to National Achievers Congress 2015 to see Richard Branson live! As true entrepreneurial spirits, we’re big fans and he didn’t disappoint. The last hour of the day, he was interviewed by Aussie journalist Ben Fordham and within the first two minutes, Sir Richard had cut off Ben’s tie. He's a cheeky bugger, but so gentlemanly and humble. What he has done for the world is nothing short of incredible. One of the best quotes of the night was when Ben asked if he’d be winding down any time soon, and Sir Richard responded that to retire “would be such a waste”.
The rest of the day was … interesting. To be completely honest, it left a little (lot) to be desired and wound up being more exhausting than it was enriching. There was so much selling. Too much selling. Almost every speaker finished their talk by selling tickets (sometimes to the value of $17,000!) to their very exclusive, definitely not overpriced, secret information seminar that was conveniently coming up in Sydney in the next few months. And we're not the only ones to feel this way!
The lesson of the day was definitely this: you’ll get more sales by being genuine and open and having a great product to sell, rather than shoving it in people’s faces. So in light of that, we wanted to share some of our top anti-selling tips with you all.
NB: we’re not claiming to be marketing geniuses, but we do know a thing or two about being consumers!
1. Don’t underestimate me
It pays to remember that people are intelligent, switched-on consumers; marketing tactics just can’t afford to be what they used to. We all have information at our fingertips, so claiming to know something that no one else knows is just not going to sell. No one likes to feel like they’re being taught. Instead, try to appeal to people’s emotions or nostalgia. Do some targeted market research; figure out who your ideal customer is, where they hang out, what they read/watch/buy/laugh at. There’s no use creating a new cheeseburger, then setting up a stall outside Vegans R Us.
2. Don’t throw it in my face
We live in an internet world. Research shows that 89% of people will google something and check out the website before actually committing to buying it or using the service. How many of us have about 20-odd tabs open on your computer or phone, to remind you of the things you want to buy or browse come next pay slip? How many of us see something cool at the local markets, but instead of buying it on the spot, we pick up a business card, visit the website later and buy something online? Step away from aggressive sales tactics and into the future.
At the National Achievers Congress last week, one of the best speakers of the day was Michelle Bridges. Neither of us were very familiar with her before the event, but during her talk we found ourselves wanting to see what all the fuss was about with her 12-Week Body Transformation program. Keep in mind, Michelle only mentioned it once, as part of a story. We’ve already bought one of her books for the office, and not once did she talk about having written any books! By not trying to sell us anything, she got a sale out of us!
3. Don’t overdo your calls to action (CTAs)
We’re all about calls to action (CTAs) here, but there’s such a thing as overdoing it. Trying to sell something on the spot, and claiming we’ve all got limited time to take advantage of this special offer, can serve to overwhelm people, rather than make them jump to action. In this day and age, too many calls to action is like walking into a shop and having a salesperson hold a pair of shoes in front of your face while you’re trying to browse. Think: do you like those annoying pop-up sign-up newsletter CTAs that appear every five seconds when you visit a website, or YouTube adverts when you just want to watch T-Swift’s new video? There’s a reason most of us cross the street when we see those Oxfam/Red Cross/Save Our Trees hasslers waiting on the next corner.
4. Tell me a story worth sharing
You probably think of ‘content marketing’ as a buzzword, but it sounds way more complicated than it really is. Creating some amazing content to offer your audience is the best way to actually achieve sales. We’ve shared some really cool examples on our weekly Creative Show & Tell posts, such as this one with a video story about a little boy whose best friend is a stuffed penguin. We don’t even know it’s an ad for John Lewis until a few seconds at the very end. Create something worth talking about and sharing, and then people will find you and your brand.
5. Give me something back
If you’re going to use those pop-up email sign-up boxes on your website, consider actually offering something for your readers other than a weekly or monthly EDM. Maybe you could collaborate with a like-minded brand to offer a freebie or discount at their store, instead of just yours. Then you have twice the audience, twice the free content for your readers, and half the amount of output. Take this example we shared a few weeks ago, when four friends and like-minded brands created The Cosmic Collective - an e-book for their fans and followers that was cheap, downloadable and beautifully designed. We read and shared it in the office, and have since gone on to google the founders, their respective businesses, and buy some of their products.
In summary, if you’re really awesome, people will google you! So make sure your social media and website is approachable and up-to-date. Incredible branding also goes a long way toward helping you stand out from your competitors and achieving more passive income sales.
Let us know in the comments below if you can think of any more great ideas!