Article #84, August, 2009
Give Away More and Sell More!
To some, it sounds counter-intuitive to give away value in order to sell, but it can work brilliantly!
Here’s a perfect and simple example: a food manufacturer pays to give away samples of their new food in grocery stores – then they also give a discount with a coupon! Of course they do this because they are confident that if you have a small sample of their fabulous product, you will want to buy it.
Sampling is an extremely successful marketing strategy when used well.
For a small, service business, this can also work very well, but can be tricky. (More on the trickiness later.)
First, in relationship-building sales, you need a certain attitude toward your prospects and your sales process. You need to believe that plenty of the right people are out there waiting for you – they need you. They cannot wait to meet you. This belief takes off a lot of pressure.
Also, understand that you will not close every sale, and that’s perfectly fine. If you do, there is a problem. For example, if your price is too low, everyone will say yes. On the other hand, everyone should not be saying no, either. If they are, there are many possible reasons, like you could be pitching to the wrong people.
Next, you need to know what your prospects’ problems are and how you can solve them. For example, if you are in alternative health, your prospects may struggle with getting medical doctors to use natural healing. However, the prospect is not a natural medicine practitioner, so they don’t have an education in the field – they need an expert.
The trick to making this work for the client AND for you is to tell them what needs to happen and the probable result, but not how to solve the problem themselves. If you give too much information about how to solve the problem, they may try to do it themselves, expecting the same result you would get, which is unlikely. This damages your reputation, potentially damages or upsets the prospect and you make no money – lose/lose.
Focus on what, not how.
For simple fixes, give them all the information. If reading an article or eating more green vegetables will take care of their issue, tell them. You are giving a sample of your expertise that will build your reputation, possibly even making you an instant sale.
The reason the internet came into being was people’s insatiable need for information. Service businesses can provide information, educating their prospects and building their credibility, while increasing sales and referrals.
- Nothing turns off a prospect more than jargon. They may feel dumb or feel you are trying to make them feel dumb. Or, they just may not understand what you are talking about, in which case they will almost always say no, but probably will not tell you why. Use lay-terms – just regular language.
- Beware of your own enthusiasm! I see this with women more than men. They are SO excited about how they can help that they don’t hear the prospect. Most of the time, the prospect will tell you exactly how to close the sale if you are asking the right questions and listening carefully to their answers.
- Do not give too much away! Again, more of a problem with women. We are helpers and nurturers. We want to help! We want to make it better right now if we have the ability to do so. As mentioned earlier, you can actually be doing a disservice to the prospect by giving too much information, and you will certainly reduce your potential sales.
In summary, sampling is an excellent marketing strategy when used correctly.