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July 7, 2008

Creating A Successful Online Sales Strategy

You have a website, and perhaps you’re even a professional salesperson, and as such you know that the best way to sell someone something is face-to-face, but have you seen the price of gas lately?

So whether your customers are local, national, or international, the cost of getting to them is just too darn high to make any money. You could call them on the phone or email them, but with voice mail, spam filters, and all manner of gatekeepers, it is literally impossible to get to people, even when they’re waiting for your call.

It’s never been easy to sell, but in today’s jaded, cynical, frustrated business climate, the job is even harder.

Order-takers are next to useless in the field, so don’t expect the tactic to work any better on your website: you know what I mean by order-takers, the guys and gals that service fully developed territories with clients that already use your wares, and who order what they need no matter whether anybody calls on them or not.

No, what you need is a real sales presentation, one aimed at the customers you don’t have, the ones looking for new ideas and products.

Here’s seven website sales tactics to remember:

1. Use The Web’s Video and Audio Capability

Make better use out of your company’s website by adding some face-to-face ingredient through the use of audio and video. Give your audience someone they can relate to, someone who will connect on an emotional and psychological level.

2. Don’t Fall Into The SEO Trap

Unfortunately, many business owners have fallen into the SEO trap of designing their online presentations for search engine spiders not people. Sure it’s great to drive traffic to a website, but if they leave within seconds of arriving without getting your marketing message, what exactly have you achieved?

3. Technology Is Not The Solution To A People Problem

And of course, you’ve got those websites that are nothing more than a shopping cart and ordering system; a technological solution to a human problem that turns whatever is being sold into a commodity, and we all know commodity sales go to the lowest seller.

4. Be Aware of The Paradox of Choice

Some entrepreneurs think by offering everything but the kitchen sink is how to get customers; but they obviously haven’t heard of the Paradox of Choice, a term coined by psychologist Barry Schwartz, whose book by the same name postulates that the more choice you offer, the less likely people will make any decision at all.

5. What Is Required Is A Performer

The Web with its remote, dislocated nature requires very specific performance criteria that few people, even professional salespeople possess. You may be practiced at making presentations, maybe even immensely effective in front of a live audience or in a boardroom, but selling in person is far more forgiving than selling remotely online.

What is required is a performer, someone who looks, sounds, and acts the apart; someone who also knows how to use verbal and nonverbal techniques to deliver a message. Don’t let your ego get in the way of building your online clientele.

6. The Web Is No Place For Overheads Or Flipcharts

Selling on the Web is about building relationships the same as traditional beat-the-pavement sales, but the arsenal of techniques required is far more challenging from a psychological and performance point-of-view. An online presentation that is nothing more than a series of overhead slides, graphs, and royalty-free photos delivered with a tentative delivery will not be taken seriously from an audience that is one click away from accessing your competitors.

7. Treat Your Website Visitors Like An Audience

So what then are the criteria for creating an online presentation that sells? There are four things your online presentation must be: informative, engaging, entertaining, and memorable.

Why you ask? The thing you have to keep in mind when you want to use your website to connect to people and build a business relationship is that you can’t treat them like customers, you have to treat them like an audience, and once you make that leap of faith, you are on your way to a successful online sales presentation strategy.

Jerry Bader is Senior Partner at MRPwebmedia, a website design firm that specializes in Web-audio and Web-video. Visit http://www.mrpwebmedia.com/ads, http://www.136words.com, and http://www.sonicpersonality.com. Contact at info@mrpwebmedia.com or telephone (905) 764-1246.

About MRPwebmedia

People ask, “What do you do?” You could say we inform, enlighten, innovate, and create; you could also say we deliver our clients’ marketing messages in memorable ways using video, audio, webmedia campaigns and websites; all created in-house from concept to implementation, from graphic and motion design to Web-design, from script writing to video-production to post-production, from music composition to signature sound design.

What do we do? We motivate action by speaking to your audience’s real needs. We tell your story so your brand, your message, embeds in the minds of your clients. We are corporate storytellers.

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