Marketing and selling are two different things and you need to keep them clear. Marketing is to get your potential customers interested enough to engage with your organization to allow selling to take place. Selling is presenting all the positive features of your product/service, minimizing any negative reactions until the customer is willing to exchange their dollars for your Product service.
Most marketers will tell you that building a list is one of the most effective ways to spend your time if you hope to make money online.
Despite this, countless people do not bother to even try, or, having looked at the work required, decide that the effort is just too much. If you have come to think this way, I would seriously suggest that you rethink your marketing strategies. An opt-in list of prospects is one of the most valuable assets you can build. Let’s look at that statement a little more closely.
I was talking to a friend and fellow marketer the other day, and we were discussing the relative merits of blogs and mailing lists. He runs a reasonably high traffic blog in the marketing and making money online niche and has built up a fairly decent subscriber base over the past couple of years. He is experienced and makes a full time living online, but, until recently had not focused too much on building a mailing list.
Recently, he changed his approach and began to build his own list and has been amazed by the difference in conversion rates that he has experienced. A mailing to his young list produced 40 sales from one email. A blog post on the subject of the same product produced 1 sale.
As you can imagine, he is now converted and a true believer in the power of owning a list.
This is all well and good, but the things that hold many people back from trying to build a list are often cost related. It costs money for a professional autoresponder – usually a monthly recurring charge, and it’s not always easy to persuade people to sign up for yet another list, and it’s no simple task to drive traffic to your opt-in forms either.
This is where maintaining a blog and your own website(s) becomes very important. Placing your opt-in form in as many places as possible will increase the chances of tempting new subscribers. You will need something to offer them in exchange for their information too and a free gift of some kind is usually the way to go.
It is a lot of work, and this is the other thing that puts a lot of people off. In terms of return on investment however, the work and the costs really are worthwhile.
There are plenty of free programs out there that claim to do the work for you, but, despite the best efforts of the program designers, most of them fall short for the end user and are really no substitute for your own list.
There is one solution that works very well for the beginner however. It does not require that you have an autoresponder (although if you do it provides for full integration) and you do not need to pay for the service.
It works on a very simple principle, that goes a step beyond traditional viral marketing. By using the system to build your list, you will also be helping others to build theirs. It sounds so simple it’s a wonder that not more people have caught on to it but the results can be quite impressive. The marketer who invests in the primary software and hosting stands to gain the most of course, as he or she will reap the benefits of the viral effect in spectacular fashion, but it doesn’t detract from the benefits for everyone else.
If you are still hesitant about building an opt-in list of your own, don’t put it off for too much longer, because the sooner you begin, the sooner you will see the rewards. I have helped many new marketers on the road to their first list and if you want to know more, you can pick up a free manual from our site.
* Fear of rejection. The sheer negative force of anticipating rejection makes people turn to e-mail to generate new prospect relationships because it hurts less to not get a reply than to hear that verbal “no.”
* Getting blocked by gatekeepers and voicemail. When salespeople don’t know how to break through the barriers of gatekeepers and voicemail, they start thinking, “Forget it — it’s not worth the aggravation, and it takes too much energy. I’ll just e-mail instead.”
However, when you try to use e-mail to offer your product or service to someone who doesn’t know you, you can’t possibly establish the natural dialogue between two people that allows the trust level to reach the level necessary for a healthy, long-term relationship.
We all know how much everyone hates e-mail spam, but even so, many salespeople are still sending introductory e-mails to decisionmakers. They feel that, because they’re from a credible organization, they won’t be associated with the negative image of a spam solicitor.
However, these introductory e-mails typically contain the traditional three-part sales pitch — the introduction, a mini-presentation about the products and services being offered, and a call to action — and this traditional selling approach instantly tells the recipient of the e-mail that your only goal is to sell your product or service so you can attain your goals, and not theirs.
If you’re still using email to sell, watch out for these 7 pitfalls:
1. Avoid sales pitches. If you feel you must use e-mail to start a new relationship, make your message about issues and problems that you believe your prospects are having, but don’t say anything to indicate that you’re assuming that both of you are a match.
2. Stop thinking that e-mail is the best way to get to d ecisionmakers. Traditional selling has become so ineffective that salespeople have run out of options for creating conversation, both over the phone and in person. However, it’s best to view e-mail as a backup option only, not as a way to create new relationships. Try to use it primarily for sending information and documents after you’ve developed a relationship with a prospect.
3. Remove your company name from the subject line. Whenever you put your company and solution first, you create the impression that you can’t wait to give a presentation about your
product and services. Your subject line should be a humble reference to issues that you may be able to help prospects solve.
4. Stop conditioning your prospects to hide behind e-mail. When you e-mail prospects, it’s easy for them to avoid you by not responding. Also, they get used to never picking up the phone and having a conversation with you — and they may want to avoid you because they’re afraid that, if they show interest in what you have to offer, you’ll try to close them. This creates sales pressure — the root of all selling woes. This avoidance becomes a vicious circle. If you learn to create pressure-free conversations, you’ll find that you’ll start getting phone calls from prospects who aren’t afraid to call you.
5. Avoid using e-mail as a crutch for hand ling sticky sales situations. Are prospects not calling you back? Many salespeople who call me for coaching ask how they can get themselves out of sticky situations with prospects — but the e-mails they’ve sent have already triggered those prospects to retreat. It’s tricky to come up with the correct softening language in an e-mail that will re-open a conversation with a prospect who has decided to close off communication — direct, person-to-person phone calls or meetings are much easier and more human.
6. Avoid using “I” and “we.” When you start an introductory e-mail with “I” or “we,” you immediately give the impression that you care only about selling your solution, rather than being open to a conversation that may or may not lead to a mutually beneficial match between what you have to offer and the issues your prospect may be trying to solve. If you can change your sales language to a natural conversation, your prospect will be less likely to stereotype your message as a spam solicitation.
7. If you can, stop using e-mail selling altogether. There is a way to renew your confidence and eliminate your reluctance to picking up the phone and have pleasant conversations with potential prospects. Learn a completely new way of working with gatekeepers that will get you past voicemail and to your decisionmakers without the rejection and frustration that are inevitable with traditional selling approaches.
For all these reasons, you should think of e-mail as your last resort. If you can learn to pick up the phone without fear, start a trusting conversation with a gatekeeper, learn how to go beyond voice mail and find your decisionmakers, you’ll join the many who have made their own personal selling breakthrough.