So, When it comes to building a business online, I think it’s fair to say that Selling isn’t something that comes naturally to most.
And, it really shouldn’t come as any surprise because, I don’t know about you but I was never taught how to sell when I went to school, or really at any time in my professional career.
Even when I had sales jobs… I might have had some of the most basic ‘objection handling’ training by trainers, who were usually failed sales people that were being paid by the hour to come in and give a half hearted presentation during lunch about what to say to customers… but actual sales training?… it wasn’t that.
And I think that’s fundamentally true of most people when they decide to start an online business. They may have a product or a service that they love, and they want to promote, but they’ve never been shown how to effectively sell it.
I think it frightens a lot of people and so many of us don’t think of ourselves as natural sales people… I know I don’t fit the mould of what I imagine a traditional sales person to be like… and I know that this inability to sell effectively means that the vast majority of people building a business online end up focusing on the wrong things.
And usually the place they focus is on the tools… things like the latest new funnel builder or the newest social media fad, without ever really finding out what makes people tick… and more importantly, what makes people buy.
I mean, you only have to venture online for a few minutes and you’ll trip over some gasbag guru telling you that all you need is their latest system or shiny new piece of software to be able to ‘sell on autopilot’ without having to do any real work or learn any skills at all.
And I’m not saying that they’re not good systems… well, some of them are OK, but there’s no system in the world that’ll make someone buy something that they flat out don’t want… or have no idea why they need it in the first place.
It’s really made the Internet, and in particular social media a messy place to be most of the time because there’s a prevailing attitude that all you need to do is sling enough links around and the sales will come flooding in.
So that’s what most people go out there and do.
And let’s be honest here, if most of the companies out there… and I’m including the companies that sell qualifications in this… If they actually told the people that they were trying to recruit or to sell their training program to that there was some hard work involved and they’d have to learn how to sell and market themselves… they’d probably be way down on their sales and recruitment numbers because it’d scare a lot of people off.
So instead they tell people that ‘once you’re qualified, you’ll have more clients that ever’… or, ‘the product is so good that it sells itself, just go out there tell everyone that you know about it’
Unfortunately for many, there’s a little more to it than that and that’s why the vast majority are struggling.
Having said that, selling is a skill that can be learned just like anything else.
I’ve been in and around some really big sales organisations most of my working life. Just to give you a little bit of background about me, I was the UK and Nordic sales manager for the Western Digital hard drive company as well as being the head of the retail sales division for the largest UK owned computer distribution company for quite a few years.
I’ve been all over Europe attending sales meetings and I’ve done the trade shows in Vegas… I’d be responsible for selling to companies like Amazon, PC world, Debenhams, QVC, Argos… loads of massive companies, so I know a bit about how traditional sales organisations work, but in all honesty that experience really hasn’t helped me one jot in building our business and selling online… and here’s why.
And the reason I say that is because when you work for a company, there’s an inherent structure to what you sell and how you sell it.
You’ve generally got a line of products that are all carefully chosen to sell to a particular sector of the market…
You don’t have to source any of it or make it yourself… in fact, you don’t even see it most of the time… it’s little more than a barcode or a SKU to the sales person.
The benefits and the selling points of that product or product range have already been clearly identified, and the customer base is usually aware that they need it.
Even if it comes down to price to win a deal (and it often does) there are a set of parameters that you have to abide by or the deal just isn’t worth doing.
In other words, there are rules and guidelines that someone else has set in place around how that business runs, that keep us within the lines of what we should and shouldn’t do.
We don’t have to decide what to charge for things… we don’t have to come up with the marketing strategies… if you can call them that.
There are teams of people for that.
Back when I was in corporate, and had to wear a suit and tie for work… every week the division heads would sit down for a marketing meeting with the chairman… and this was for a company that was turning over £300 million per year… so not a small company… and the ‘marketing strategy’ *cough, was ‘so what are we putting in the catalogue this month?’
So, even if we’ve had a sales based upbringing, we’ve never had to do most of the hard stuff like come up with products, marketing messages that actually get people to buy now , deciding what to charge, building a customer base and USP’s for our companies stuff.
It’s all been done for us. We were never taught how to do all that stuff.
And boy, do we make it our job to know what is and isn’t our job!
If it doesn’t fall within our job remit then we don’t do it.
And it’s a totally different scenario when you’re working for yourself online because you’re responsible for everything… the pricing, the products, the marketing, the sales, the messaging… and most people are completely thrown by it.
So what most people do when they start an online business is kinda breeze past all that essential stuff and start listening to the gasbag guru’s.
These guys will keep you focused on the tactics, like the latest system or app that they’re not actually using themselves, but will miraculously work for you!
They totally want you to ignore the fundamentals and focus on the lovely new, hypnotic shiny object.
I know because I bought into this mentality big time when I first started my online journey.
And I struggled… big time!
Let me know if this sounds like something you can relate to.
I’ve got this line from one of my favourite Paul Weller songs rolling around in my head because it’s how I felt when I started trying to piece all this stuff together… the line goes ‘The more I see, the more I know, the more I know, the less I understand”
And that’s just how I felt because it seemed like every time I did a new training there was some conflicting advice telling me to do something totally opposite to the training I’d watched just before that.
I’d just think I’d had a breakthrough and then I’d think, well how does this thing fit in with that?
There was email marketing,
And so on…
I felt like I had to learn them all…and make them fit together somehow before I could move forward.
I was literally going round and round in circles and getting really frustrated and overwhelmed in the process.
But the one thing I won’t do is quit… I’m kinda stubborn like that, so I started looking for some way to make sense of all the conflicting advice that was driving me nuts.
And one day I actually found something that just made total sense to me and helped me to cut through all the fog that was keeping me from seeing the way forward…
And guess what…
It wasn’t in some brand new course or app.
It was in an old school PDF version of an e-Book that was published as a memoire in the 60’s, and it was a book about selling.
The author has since passed away but he was one of THE most successful salesmen of his time.
The book is called The Secret of Selling Anything: A road map to success for the salesman… who is not aggressive, who is not a “smooth talker,” and who is not an extrovert and it’s by a guy called Harry Browne
At the time you could only get this directly from the Authors widow but it’s since been listed on Amazon.
I’ll leave a link in the show notes for anyone that wants to grab a copy.
Well it’s certainly not the only book on sales out there, and it was written well before the Internet was even a thing, but because of that, it totally blows past all the fluff and the shouty BS that’s so prevalent online and breaks down what actually makes people buy stuff.
It helped me to understand what makes people tick and how to actually get them to buy what you have to offer… if they were ever in the market for it in the first place.
And that was a massive distinction for me, in fact here’s a short quote from the book really quickly.
“Selling is easy. It’s always easy if you think of the prospect as someone you’re trying to help. It becomes difficult when you think of your prospect as an adversary who must be out-maneuvered.”
Sometimes you don’t sell what the prospect wants or needs but then, it’s much nicer to admit that to yourself and to the customer quickly so you don’t waste time trying to persuade someone who will never buy, and even if they do, you’ve done them harm.
So we transitioned from worrying about all the fancy systems and software, and how to sell, sell, sell that seems to keep so many people spinning their wheels and tried to think about how we could help as many people as possible to get what they wanted using our zone of genius, which is organically marketing your business using Facebook and in particular Facebook groups.
And that’s when everything started to change.
Not only that but as I look around the Internet, I see that just about ANYONE being successful is pretty much following a version of what’s laid out inside this book.
They’re focused on genuinely providing something that helps people.
Anyone not following these principles is a ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ affair because they’re typically not offering any real value, and the ONLY way to build a sustainable business on or offline is to provide value.
Your customers are not idiots, if you’re just trying to make a quick sale and aren’t interested in helping them get results, they’ll pick up on that… in fact that’s usually what they think everyone’s trying to do anyway, it’s our job to show them why that’s not true of us.
Now Harry’s book is around 120 pages long so I can’t possibly go into everything here, and I wouldn’t out of respect for the author but I’ll break down a few ways you can use the sales principles to make sales while leveraging the power of Facebook groups.
People buy what they want so there has to be some perceived value to your offer. That value needs to be something that your prospect values more than the money in their bank account.
Otherwise – no sale!
Every decision that people make in life is centered around one thing. To replace unhappiness with happiness.
People want to feel happy.
They want to solve a problem and move forward.
Feeling like they got value is a form of happiness.
So selling isn’t about convincing someone to buy something that they don’t really want or need, or being a smooth closer. In fact it’s almost impossible to sell something to someone if they don’t want the thing.
No, it’s about finding out what people already want or need and finding a way to deliver it to them so that they feel like they got value.
Turning unhappiness into happiness.
This means we have to get to know a bit about them and have a system for putting such things in their path.
Then selling becomes easy.
Facebook groups are great way to do this because
A, Your members will already perceive you as someone who has the answers they need (The power of having a group).
B, Facebook groups are a brilliant way to get members to open up and tell us what they need and what they want.
C, Getting someone to buy something on the first time of seeing it is VERY difficult… unless you’re lucky enough to have a unique ‘no brainer’ product (like the first iPhone for example) where the value is indisputable and easily explained to the masses.
These products are rare beasts and usually take companies as brilliant as Apple to develop them.
Now, you may get lucky on occasion and make a sale to someone who was in the right place at the right time, but generally this is not sustainable.
So, to put this principle into layman’s terms, we need something of value to our customer to exchange for our customer’s money… and it needs to be perceived to be worth more than the money to our customer or they ain’t buyin’!
So it needs to be something whereby they have a reason to want it. It has to do something for them… it has to change their world for the better,
And we have to be able to clearly explain what that is to them quickly and simply.
Typically, people need to see an offer a few times before they realise the value of that offer, and Facebook groups are the perfect place to magnify the perceived value of what you’ve got because you can point out all the different benefits of buying your product or service in various posts to an audience that’ll get warmer and warmer every time they hear from you.
Just randomly slinging links around hoping that someone will love what you’ve got enough to pull out their credit card on the spot is not a solid strategy for success.
If you need help getting clear on your offer and how to present it to your audience in a clear compelling way, this is exactly what we teach inside the Tribegeeks Academy.
People buy from people they know, like and trust.
I must have heard this a Thousand times from my Dad when I was growing up… turns out he was totally right.
“People buy from people” he’d say.
To take that one step further, people buy from people that they know, they like and they trust.
If you’re brand new to someone and you tell them that your product or service is gonna help them get a result, chances are they won’t be convinced.
Especially with all the snake oil salesmen that are out there right now making big promises.
They can’t trust you because they don’t know you from Adam (or Eve!).
Unless that is, you can put that person in front of an audience of people inside your Facebook group that are happy to confirm that you are in fact the real deal.
For example, every time we have someone ask if it’s a good idea for them to join the Tribegeeks Academy, we don’t have to say a word because our tribe are the ones to edify us and shout about how good it’s been for them.
It’s the quickest way to develop trust with a new person and take them from cold to hot.
As far as the ‘like’ element is concerned, remember, if someone’s getting value… if we’re really helping them , this equals happiness.
If we’re providing value to our group members we’re building goodwill because we’re making them happy.
If we’re making them happy do you think there’s any way they’re going to not like us.
It’s very unlikely.
Facebook groups achieve all of the above more effectively than just about any other medium we’ve come across, so we always advise people to use them to build relationships with your tribe and if you can do this well and make offers that’ll help your audience to get what they want, selling will become easy.
People are essentially tribal, they need a community to belong to.
So, it’s no secret that for the last couple of years Facebook have committed to making communities (groups) their major focus going forward.
It’s largely because they recognise what one of the all time marketing greats Dan Kennedy would say…
And that is that “Most people are walking around with their umbilical cords in their hands looking for someplace to plug it in”.
In other words people are looking for somewhere to belong where they feel like they fit in and are validated.
Now I think we can all agree that this was true in times gone by when, if you didn’t belong to a tribe then you didn’t tend to last very long… your tribe was how you survived.
But what about now?
Is being a part of a tribe still a big driver in human behaviour?
Well, I was never taught this in school, although I think it’s something maybe they teach in schools in the US, drop me a comment and let me know if I’m right in saying that, but there’s something that many people refer to when they’re looking into what makes people behave the way they do and it’s something called Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs.
According to Maslow there are 5 levels of basic human needs, and you’ll usually see this demonstrated with an image of a pyramid with kinda like ‘layers’ that represent each level of human need, and as each need is satisfied, a person will move on up to the next one.
Now what psychologists accept as the basic needs of just about every person on the planet are as follows:
Firstly, we all need to take care of our physiological needs… that means having enough food and water, air, shelter and basically everything that we need to survive.
Pretty obvious, right?
Next we need to take care of our safety, so we need to look after our health, have a place to live where we feel safe, have a job or some means to survive.
Then, assuming our basic needs and our safety are taken care of, after that we need to have a sense of belonging or being loved. We need to have companionship… in other words, we need a tribe.
You’ll notice that the need to feel connected to others comes right after taking care of our most basic needs of having what we need to survive and feeling safe.
That makes that sense of belonging pretty high up on the scale of what people need to feel happy and complete in their lives.
And it only get stronger from there because the next levels of human need are esteem, in other words we need to feel appreciated and have the respect of other people, and then the top level is self actualisation, or the need to be creative and solve problems.
So being a part of a community and having the respect and acceptance of others is massively important on the scale of basic human needs… and Facebook know this!
And it’s certainly been our experience that people will come to your Facebook group for the content and the information but they’ll stay for the community and the sense of belonging to your group.
Because we’re not just building a Facebook group… we’re building a tribe.
Once you give people a home online, somewhere where people feel like they belong and are secure, you essentially eliminate all of your competition.
Once your audience have a bond with you and your community it’s very unlikely they’ll buy from anyone else.
And as long as you’re promoting products that are in line with what your tribe are trying to achieve, selling becomes superfluous.
Which is exactly what Harry Browne describes inside his book.
There’s no need to convince people or be an aggressive closer if you’re helping people to get where they’re trying to go, and it kinda irritates me when I see people out there saying things like “I’ll help you become a super closer” because all they’re actually doing and all they’re teaching other people to do is to take care of their own selfish needs, and not the needs of their customer.
Remember how it was phrased in the quote from the book I mentioned “don’t waste time trying to persuade someone who will never buy, and even if they do, you’ve done them harm.”
That’s certainly been our experience, and we’ve made it one of our core policies to never sell anything if it wasn’t in our customers best interest.
And it’s been a game changer for us.
It can be for you too.
You just need to stop chasing the shiny objects and focus on what’s proven to work.
We’re here to help you and encouraging you to become a member of the Tribegeeks academy is the best way we know how.
Everything you need to start attracting your ideal audience and making more sales the right way is in there and I’ll leave a link in the show notes if you want to learn more.
Anyway, I hope you found this episode helpful, please let me know what you think… are you enjoying these podcasts? Do you hate them?
Let me know, I’d love to hear from you either way.
I help home business owners and online experts build their Facebook tribe, dial in their message and automate their sales process using organic methods so they never have to beg people to buy.
With online false claims and under-delivery of promised results becoming the norm for many right now, I believe that honest, relationship based business promotion is the way forward for anyone looking to build an online brand.
I’ve worked with thousands of business owners to help them ‘find their voice’ to clarify their message, as well as show them how to make offers in the most natural and efficient way.