At some point in your business-building process you’ll face a choice. You will have to do something that scares most people. You might hesitate, think you’re not ready. And honestly, if you don’t overcome this fear, you will very likely have to kiss those dreams of location independence good bye.
What is this fear, that rather than face it head on instead drives some people to turn back around settle for a mediocre life?
The Fear of Selling
Yup. Some quit when they realize that in order to have a thriving business, they need to sell something. Some entrepreneurs in the online world have the misguided notion that just by building a website, money will somehow start magically appearing in their bank accounts.
Blogging, standing on its own, is NOT a business.
You can do everything right from a business-platform design point of view, have tons of social media followers, and a highly-visited website. But if you don’t offer your audience (potential customers, really) products and solutions that benefit them in positive ways, you will not be able to make a living.
No $ = no location independence.
Top 4 Excuses Entrepreneurs Use to Avoid Selling
#1 – “I Don’t Know How to Sell”
Did you know that selling is a science? Madison Avenue is a street in New York that became synonymous with advertising because it’s home to some of the most famous ad agencies in the world. If you’ve ever seen the TV show Mad Men, you’ll know who I’m talking about.
Ad agencies spend millions, if not billions, conducting research on what makes people buy things. They test all angles, such as:
– Emotional triggers (what makes people buy on impulse)
– Persuasion language (how to convince people to buy despite initial objections)
– Brand awareness/stickiness (ensuring that expensive Super Bowl commercial not only sticks in your mind after you’ve seen it, but that you retain a positive impression of the brand).
You likely don’t have a million dollar budget. And neither do I. But what advantage you have (or can have) that the big ad agencies usually lack?
A direct and personal connection to your audience.
If you listen to your audience, what their problems are, what their needs are, their motivations, you are in a better position to address those needs and help them in a way that an impersonal, faceless agency never will be able to.
Simply put, selling is the science of matching a buyer with a product or service. To sell, all you have to do is offer a product that solves a need, to a buyer that needs/wants it. The rest is just optimizing your “sales pitch” by explaining clearly how the product addresses the buyer’s need.
You know you’re being ethical if you truly believe in the product and it’s an optimal solution to your buyer’s needs.
Offering is the hardest part, if only because of fear of rejection. But don’t take it to heart. Not every product is for everybody, and not everybody is ready to buy at the moment you offer.
You will never know if you’ve found a perfect match between product and buyer if you don’t offer. Offer first, then, at your own pace learn to optimize your pitch.
#2 – “But There’s Too Much Competition”
Good! Competition is a great sign that you have picked a niche that others have found it worth investing their time and money into.
There’s always risk involved in developing a niche that no one’s ever thought developing. Usually the reason is that someone else has tried it and not found it profitable. The flip side are guys like Steve M., who struck gold with DVDs for cats.
If the competition is fierce, it may be a sign that you’ve jumped into a niche that’s too crowded. You can still be successful, it’ll just take persistence and a touch more experience to succeed. The rewards will be greater when you succeed, and are usually tied to how much effort you put into developing your own audience over time.
If you’re starting out in your first online business venture, choose the path of least resistance. No need to bang your head against the wall. It hurts.
Choose a niche that is not too crowded (remember, competition = good) and differentiate yourself by offering something that others don’t, or covering your niche from a different angle.
Always striving to be the best in your niche will make a difference if your competition is weak.
#3 – “The Economy is Bad and People Aren’t Buying”
This not only untrue, but actually the complete opposite. People ARE still buying, only they are now more discerning about how they spend their money.
Optimize your offer and sell only the best product you can create. Become the value leader for your audience and they’ll choose to buy from you before they buy from anyone else.
#4 – “I Don’t Know What to Sell”
This one is easy, if you learn to or already know how to do this well:
Listen to your audience.
What does your audience struggle with the most? What are the pressing needs and questions that come up again and again in your niche? Seek solutions to those answers and share them with your audience.
What if there isn’t a tailor-made solution out there?
Brainstorm and create a product that answers your audience’s questions and needs. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but it needs to do the job of offering an effective solution to their need.
Selling is both, natural and learned. You may know how to explain things, which will come in handy when explaining the benefits of the product you’re offering as a solution. Maybe you’re enthusiastic, which you can let shine through your writing if you’re really excited about what problems you can solve for others.
The fact is, we all have a facet required for selling within us. It is up to you to just put it out there and at the same time work on getting better at those other parts of selling you’re not familiar with.
Take advantage that an online business is unlike telemarketing. You make the pitch and let the reader decide whether they like the offer or not.
Remember, selling, when done right, is ultimately about helping people.
What are your thoughts on selling to your audience? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment on the section below.
Keep tuned in and check back Mondays for business building info, Wednesdays for content related to expat life, and Fridays for tons of travel pictures as I do an on-the ground report spotlighting a travel destination.
Also, check out my Pinterest page about Antigua Guatemala, one of the prettiest colonial cities in the world and my latest digital nomad destination I’m trying out.
Image Credit: joey.parsons @flickr.com