I’m writing this post because I am SO tired of people spamming social media with sales stuff that adds zero value.
I regularly get friend requests on Facebook from people who have their business as their main photo and their entire feed and cover image are about their business.
If I wanted to watch a commercial, I’d go to the old school guide on channel 99 that plays nothing but a million commercials… or I’d go back to listening to Pandora instead of Apple Music.
No one wants to see commercials and no one wants to be sold.
Everyone wants to buy.
Soooooo, how do you get people to buy without spamming them to death?
Very, very carefully.
Basically, you’re helping them realize that buying is the right decision for themselves… You’re not forcing them to buy.
Here are the seven steps you need to take them through to successfully sell without feeling like a used car salesman:
One of the BIGGEST mistakes that I see with people who decide it’s time to start building their network is that they skip the messaging and go straight for the ask.The BIGGEST mistake you can make when you decide it’s time to start selling is to skip the messaging and go straight for the ask. Click To Tweet
STOP RIGHT HERE.
If you ask before you build credibility, your audience will ignore you.
That means low engagement, tons of unsubscribes, less referrals, less people raising their hand to say they want to do business with you and a bajillion unfollows.
You know what I’m talking about… The constant stream of self-serving requests that are asking for their business…
Call me if you need a ____, I’m ready to help you.
Come support me.
It’s awesome that you’ve finally taken the step to ask, but if you have no credibility and you start asking them for stuff, you’re killing your relationship before it even begins.
Think of each of your relationships as a bank account.
Every time you pour into someone and come from contribution, you make a deposit.
When you’re like “hey, I’m selling this now so support me”, you’re withdrawing from the account faster than you can deposit.
You have to earn the right to ask and you do that with your messaging.
What do I mean?
I’m so glad you asked.
Wayyyy before you start selling them, you need to build rapport first.
Let’s be clear… Building rapport doesn’t have to be a long, tedious process.
Rapport building can take 10 minutes or it can take years… It totally depends on you.
It just so happens that I’ve written a wholeeeee post about how to hack small talk for your right here:
After all, when there’s rapport, the person who’s most certain will influence the other.
Rapport is ESSENTIAL to selling.
… and even once you have rapport, you don’t start selling yet.
First, you need to figure out what they need and how you can help them.
Identify The Need
By asking great questions, you can determine whether they have a need for your service.
No matter how good of a sales person you are, if someone doesn’t need or want your product or service, they’re not going to buy it.No matter how good of a sales person you are, if someone doesn't need or want your product or service, they're not going to buy it. Click To Tweet
… It’s as simple as that.
So action item numero uno is to stop trying to force your product or service on people who don’t need your product or service.
At this point in the conversation, you’re just asking questions and learning about the prospect.
Here’s a hint…
People will tell you exactly how to sell them if you just ask the right questions and then really listen to what they’re saying.
For example, 99.99999% of the time when I tell someone I’m in real estate, guess what their response is?
“How’s the market?” (or “the market is hot right now”, or “why are properties so expensive!?”)
Instead of being like “the market is great! You should buy a house with me.”
My response is always, “depends… Are you looking to buy, sell or invest?”
Now, they’re going to tell me what they’re looking to do and I can tailor the conversation from there.
They might say something like, “oh I was just curious! I was thinking about selling if I can get the right price” or maybe “I’ve been keeping an eye out for my sister.”
Something along those lines.
Qualify The Buyer
Once you’ve determined they have a need for your product or service, it’s time to qualify the buyer.
THIS IS WHERE MOST PEOPLE BURNOUT.
They ASSUME just because someone has the intention to purchase your product or service, that they also have the means and motivation to actually do it now so they spend allll their time running after people who aren’t actually motivated to buy and then end up frustrated with the whole sales process.
Sooooo, instead of hopping into how awesome you are as soon as they tell you they’re interested, you ASK MORE QUESTIONS.
Noticing a trend here?
It’s all about the questions.
Your initial questions will determine if they have interest and when you dig deeper to qualify them, you’re identifying whether they have the motivation and means to do it NOW.
Every industry’s questions are going to be different, so think about the questions you can ask them that will help you determine how ready they are to work with you.
Once you’ve established if they’re ready, if you’re REALLY good, you’ll also ask the questions that will identify the objections they have UPFRONT so that you can customize your presentation to them.
The more information you get from them up front, the more likely you are to be able to customize your presentation DIRECTLY to them without all of the extra fluff and BS.
When I say presentation, that could be an actual presentation where you sit down with them, a speaking presentation where you’re addressing an audience, a webinar where you’re speaking to them online or even an email sequence that you’re using as part of a sales funnel.
Obviously, if you’re using an email funnel, you’re not going to get them to answer back to you.
However, as you talk to more people, you’ll find that most people have the same few objections and we’ll talk more about that in a few sections.
Next up, just because they have the means and motivation STILL doesn’t mean they are going to work or hire you.
A quick little story for you…
Since my target audience for my real estate business is young professionals who make about $75k per year, I find that a lot of them are first time buyers.
They’ve heard alllll about home buying but they’re noncommittal because buying a home requires change.
There are two ways I could go about doing this…
First up, I could explain to them why they need to buy and are throwing money away by renting.
Excepttttttt, people don’t like to be told what to do and they don’t like to be wrong.
If you handle their objections by telling them they’re wrong, they’re going to shut down.
Instead, my approach is to make home buying seem super easy and approachable.
Now, here’s what I do…
When someone tells me they’re thinking about buying within the next 6 months or so (after qualifying them, I generally find that timeframe works because they have a lease that’s expiring or some other deadline), then I add them to my “home buying guide”.
Instead of just a 50 page PDF that I know they’ll never actually read, it’s broken down into one email a day for 10 days and each day covers a different part of the home buying process.
The emails are about 700 words each, are written in a super conversational manner and walk them through the ENTIRE process.
Since I started doing that, I’ve had a bajillion (yes, that’s a scientific, accurate number) prospects who were like “meh”, turn into “when can we meet?!”
The key is that my focus is on educating them and answering the questions they didn’t even know they had.
That, my friend, is called messaging.
To clarify, it’s messaging and not marketing.
Marketing is “I’m awesome and here’s why”.
Messaging is “here’s what you need help with and using an example, I’m going to show you how I’ve helped other people with the same thing”.
In your own business, I want you to think about how you can “create desire” by educating them.
Email series, video series and mini courses are AMAZING for this.
In the Empire Builder Academy, I put together an entire 60 minute workshop that will walk you through exactly how to create this for your business AND how to nurture long term prospects on autopilot so you don’t have to worry about burning out.
Before we continue, there’s just one more thing we need to talk about…
Your family and friends don’t owe you their business
Listen up, Empire Builder!
Just because they are your friends or family does NOT mean they “owe you” their business.Just because they are your friends or family does NOT mean they “owe you” their business. Click To Tweet
The burden to convert your relationship from personal to professional is on you to create enough value to COMPEL THEM to take action. It is not on them to support you just because of your relationship…. And no, it’s NOT about loyalty.
If you work with friends or family who are doing you a “favor”, they’re going to ask for a “favor” in return in the form of cutting your fees, commission, etc. etc. etc.
When you’ve shown enough value to COMPEL THEM to WANT to do business with you, you are now doing THEM a favor and they wouldn’t DREAM of reducing your fees, commission, etc.
… anddddd not to mention, when you’ve EARNED their business, it’s a bajillion (yes, a bajillion, not just a million) times easier to work with them because they trust you and don’t think they know better than you. They respect your business process.
All good things, yes?
Here’s one more: when they trust you, respect your process, and actually do business with you, you get more referrals too.
Until you change your mindset AND the way you communicate from expecting business from your network to earning business from them, you’ll always be at the mercy of “doing favors”.
So how do you earn their credibility so that you can lead your network to become clients who trust you, are excited to work with you AND won’t try to slash your prices?
It’s all in your messaging.
Truthfully, our prospects don’t give a crap about how awesome we are until we can show them how we can make that awesome work for THEM.
There’s a whole workshop on copywriting in the Empire Builder Academy to help you turn your words into powerful messages.
Sooooo, even if they’re interested, they have the need to buy your product or service, the means to do so AND want to, they still might hesitate.
You have to be ok with that.
Anddddd if you talk to enough people, you’ll find that there are only a few objections that come up over and over again, just in different ways.
Most of them are some variation of:
“Your fee/commission/etc. is too high”
“I’m not ready yet”
“Just send me some information”
“I already have someone that does this for me”
“I have to talk to ___ first”
These my friend are objections… and truthfully, they’re just unanswered questions.
I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of how to deal with each objection here because that could literally be an entire blog post on it’s own, so we’re just talking about high level objection handling here.
Isolate the objection
Sometimes, when people are thinking through something, they’ll throw out ten different things that aren’t really that significant to their decision but if you listen closely enough, you’ll hear the real objection.
As they start talking about the things that are stopping them, your first objective is to isolate the REAL objection.
This script is GOLDEN for this:
“So what I’m hearing is you feel like [isolate their objection]”
(Let them confirm)
“Before we talk about that, is there any reason you wouldn’t be ready to buy/hire/work with me today?”
Nowwwww, you’re probably like “I COULD NEVER SAY THAT”.
Here’s what I’m here to tell you…
They WANT us to make their lives easier and helping them clarify what’s stopping them will help them make decisions faster.
Handle it in a logical way
If you know their objections up front and have taken the time to think through a logical answer that gets them to change their perspective, you’ll get through this with grace.
The key here is that you can’t make them “wrong”.
If they feel like they’re wrong, they’ll shut down and you’ll lose them.
You can change their perspective through examples, personal stories or just through a series of questions that get them to see it from a different perspective.
Without getting into crazy detail here, I’m going to HIGHLY recommend that you read the books “The Ultimate Sales Machine”, “Secrets To Closing The Sale” and “Fanatical Prospecting”.
I know that’s three books and it sounds like a lot but if you’re committed to growing your business, you’ll take the time to invest in reading them because it WILL help you grow your business.
Sometimes they have multiple objections
After you’ve handled their objection, go for the close.
If they’re still hesitant, isolate the new objection, handle it in a logical way and then close again.
Don’t worry, the more that you do it, the better you’ll get at it.
Notice that we went through a wholeeeee process before getting to the close.
We didn’t just say “hey, I have a product, wanna buy it?”
We got to know the person, their wants and needs, and their ability to buy.
We got them excited about our product or service and we addressed their concerns.
Thennnnn, you close.
… and truthfully, you often have to close more than once, especially if they have multiple objections.
You’ll handle the objection, close. Handle the objection, close.
Yup, before you even start thinking about promoting anything, you have to figure out what you want them to do.
This allows us to work backwards by making sure that everything that we do and create is leading them to your inevitable ask.
Are you trying to raise money for your organization?
Do you want them to buy a course from you?
Become a client?
Refer a friend?
Click on a link?
Give you their email?
What is the one thing you want them to do?
Yes, I said one.
If you give them too many options, they do nothing.
Focus on one ask at a time… and when you’re ready to focus on another, you’ll go back through this process again to create a whole new campaign for your new ask. If you start blurring the lines between your asks, you’re going to burn your audience out, make them think too hard, confuse them and they won’t take action.
That’s why when you visit a landing page, there’s like 17 buttons asking you to do the same thing and the entire page is dedicated to that ONE topic.
When you read a great blog post, it’s focused on ONE topic and then asks you to do ONE thing.
Give them ONE option and a million reasons to do it.
Here are some of the questions to consider while creating your ask:
- What do you want them to do?
- How will they get there?
- How do you bring them into your world?
- What happens once they enter your world?
- How do you earn their business?
Andddd after you’ve closed, make sure that you service the client the right way.
There’s nothing worse than working your ass off for a client and then they end up getting crappy service so you never get referrals.
I wrote an entire article about how to streamline your onboarding process to help with just that:
Lastly, when people complete your ask, reward them for it and keep in touch with them.When people complete your ask, reward them for it. Click To Tweet
Yes, that means deliver the value you promised AND STILL reward them… That’s how you get referrals.
If you’re asking for referrals, reward them when they give you the referral (regardless of whether or not the referral pans out), you want to reward the behavior so that they continue to do it.
I always send a handwritten thank you note and a $10 Amazon gift card when someone refers me and then if the referral pans out, I’ll send an Amazon Echo (even though they call them Alexa, because you know, my name is Alexa… and I want you to think of me as a resource!)
If you’re asking them to register for something, give them a shoutout when they do (people love being shouted out and it’s the easiest way to show the rest of your network “other people are doing it so you should do it too.”)
I do this for my free courses… When someone registers or if someone buys a ticket to one of our workshops, I always post them on my Instagram story. The more I do it, the more our sales and registrations go up.
I’m not even talking about spending a lot of money or anything, just make them feel like they belong in your little community.
Rewarding them serves a few purposes…
Firstly, by rewarding them for doing what you want them to do, you’ll encourage them to continue taking action.
It helps build your relationship with your community, is the social proof that you need to show them that other people are doing it so they should do it too (believe me, it works!) and it gets them talking about you even more.
Ready to put all of this into action?
I’ve got a totally free cheat sheet for you right here to help you hack your buyer’s psychology so you get them to say “yes” more often. You can download it right here: