If you plan to sell products on your website, you need to have an effective sales process. In today’s blog post, I outline practical sales process optimization tips you can use to get more customers and increase your sales.
Selling your product on your website is a great way to make money online.
But selling products isn’t a two-step method. You’ll need a comprehensive sales process so you can sell more of your products to more customers who end up being more satisfied.
A sales process is a specific set of steps that you take with a potential customer to take them from awareness of your product to the decision to buy the product from you.
In today’s article, I present a number of useful sales process optimization tips that you can apply to your own sales process so you can sell your products more effectively and increase your profits.
Lead generation involves attracting qualified prospects by capturing their interest in your product or service. This is a specific, targeted effort to attract leads who are likely to benefit from your product and buy from you.
Here are pointers to optimize your lead generation process.
Always be prospecting. Plenty of channels are available to you: advertising on social media, Google Ads, and your own blog, video marketing, social media statuses, email marketing, and referrals from your past customers. Utilize as many of these channels as you possibly can.
Don’t neglect content marketing. Social media marketing and email marketing are the more popular methods of digital marketing. But content marketing, that is, writing about your product, publishing the article, and directing traffic to your blog so people can read all about your product, is one of the best ways to make people aware of your product.
There are plenty of ways to direct traffic to your blog (in fact, I listed 60 ways to do it). Doing a trial and error on a few of these methods can make a huge impact on your traffic and increase the number of people viewing your content and being made aware of your product.
Experiment with your calls to action (CTAs). Your CTA wordings, buttons, and placements are subtle but important factors to convert potential leads. The clearer your CTA phrases and the more conspicuous they are on your website, the more likely casual readers act on these CTAs and become leads.
Simplify your lead capture process. Oftentimes, at this stage, you only need your readers’ first names only for personalization and their email addresses to send content and information about your product. Having your readers provide less information would make them less hesitant to give it.
Create a variety of lead magnets to entice readers into becoming leads. Lead magnets are meant to appeal to not just anyone; they’re meant to appeal to your target audience who are interested in what you have to offer. Thus, you’ll benefit from creating a number of lead magnets to entice the right people.
If this seems a tad overwhelming, I’ve written a step-by-step guide to creating effective lead magnets.
After you’ve put together a list or database of leads, it’s time to get in touch with these leads and confirm whether these leads are qualified; that is, if they are indeed part of your target audience. Here are some reminders
Create more targeted content. If you created your buyer personas as part of your pre-sales process, this is the time to give your buyer personas more targeted content.
Considering their preferences, what they want to know about your product, and how they want to be contacted, create content that aims to educate and inform your leads.
Start conversations with your leads. Make the first contact with your leads, considering their communication preferences. This will allow you to gauge how much interest they really have for your product and whether they’re able to make the purchase decision on their own.
If they don’t meet either of these two requirements, it’s better to spend time and effort on your other leads or even on better pre-sales activities; perhaps your product isn’t attracting the right target audience after all.
Follow up any unfinished conversations. If you start a conversation and your leads don’t end up replying, follow up with them at least once. They may have meant to ask you more questions or express their interest (or lack thereof) in your product, but life does happen and they may have somehow forgotten.
Send a little nudge in their direction when you haven’t heard back from them in a while. No need to make a big deal out of it; just a little reminder that you’re around to answer any questions or to help them out in any way you can.
When you’ve made that initial contact with your leads and built rapport, you can now build even more trust by ascertaining their pain points and making sure that you address those pain points.
You need to understand your leads’ wants and needs before you can provide value. An effective needs assessment allows you to know your leads better and perhaps even uncover pain points you never knew existed.
Ask the right questions. To help you get started, here are some sample questions to ask your leads.
Add to these questions as appropriate to your niche and your product. The aim is to ensure at this early stage that your product is the right fit.
It might take a single conversation to get the answers to these questions, or it might take multiple. You might qualify these leads, or determine that your solution isn’t going to work for them. Whatever the result, a thorough needs assessment is essential to your process.
When you’re absolutely sure that your product can solve your leads’ pain points, it’s time to show them what your product can do and how it can help them achieve their goals.
Consider creating a video presentation. Videos cost more to produce than blog posts, whitepapers, or even slides, but at this stage, you want to connect more to your target audience, and video presentations make you more accessible to your prospects.
You can even consider doing one video presentation for each of your buyer personas in advance so when the time comes, you can just pull out that specific video and show it to your prospects.
Train yourself to explain benefits, not features. Features are the characteristics of the product, while benefits are how these features help your target audience with their goals.
A simple technique to be able to list down benefits is to always ask “so what?” when you write down the features of your product. Different buyer personas will have different answers to “so what?” and thus, will give you different selling points to expound on and thus give you different scripts for your presentations.
No matter what niche you’re in or what product you’re selling, you can almost always expect objections from your prospects.
Below are the steps on how to overcome objections in a systematic way.
Keep track of the objections you receive. Having a record of all of the objections you receive gives you an overview of the trends and allows you to focus on practicing and refining your responses to the most common objections.
When you’ve successfully closed the sale and delivered the product to your (now) customers, it’s tempting to just move on to the next prospect and focus on closing that sale.
That’s a huge mistake.
Customers who have bought from you once are likely to buy from you again, IF (and that’s a big if) they’re impressed by your product and you nurture them as customers.
Personalize the delivery as much as you can. You should always refer to your prospects by their names in any type of your communication to them, but if you can dial up the personalization, do so by all means.
This may look different for different products, such as personalizing the content of the emails that accompany the product for digital products or including a personalized note in the package for physical products.
Thank them for their purchase. There’s a reason thank-you notes are still in vogue, etiquette-wise: it’s simply good manners to express gratitude.
Sending thank-you notes or emails to your customers may not seem like much to you, but it goes a long way to establishing rapport with your customers and making sure they get what they wanted.
You can include important reminders in your thank-you notes as well, such as instructions on how to use the product, how to claim the money-back guarantee if they’re not satisfied with their product (if applicable), or how their warranty works (if applicable).
Follow up with customers after the purchase. Another oft-ignored action when your customers have bought the product is the follow-up.
Sometime after the product has been delivered, get in touch with them and ask them how they’re liking the product so far. End with an offer of help if they need it.
How long you wait before following up with your customers should depend on the product and how it’s used. How long it takes to learn how to learn to use it and how long it takes to consume should all be factored in your waiting time.
Beyond the initial follow up, maintain communication with your customers. Continue sending them newsletters, product updates, and announcements of new products you’re offering (until they unsubscribe, that is). They should never feel like you’ve forgotten them as soon as you’ve sold your product.
However, this doesn’t give you permission to spam them. Keep the updates relevant and helpful so they don’t click unsubscribe and disappear forever.
Sales process optimization helps you develop best practices from generating leads to closing the sale and beyond, improves your relationships with both target and existing customers, and
increases the likelihood of successful product sales.
Here’s a rundown of the tips I outlined above.
And here are a few more reminders while optimizing your sales process.
Having a structured sales process helps you become organized and allows you to see what works and what doesn’t. Thus, this helps you tweak and experiment with aspects of your sales process while keeping everything recorded.
Your metrics will tell you whether your process is working. The most important metrics you can track are your conversion rates for your different marketing efforts, such as your landing pages, sales pages, “Buy” buttons on your Facebook page, and other similar tactics.
Learn how to use customer relationship management (CRM) software, and email software with the aim of automating as many processes as you can. This will help free up some time so you can focus on optimizing procedures that you can’t readily automate.
Revising and improving your sales process is and will be an ongoing process. From the time you decide to sell your product, you’ll be testing and experimenting and tweaking your sales process.
So don’t be discouraged if it seems like the sales process you thought you’ve optimized isn’t working anymore; it just means something has changed and you need to experiment and tweak your process.
Have you started selling on your site? Have you started optimizing your sales process? How helpful is this article? Tell us in the comments!
JoAnne is your average, everyday, sane stay-at-home mom who believes in the power of the internet to make dreams come true. She has an insatiable appetite for chocolate, as well as all things internet marketing. She keeps up with the latest trends in blogging, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, and more.