We all know the ability to sell our product or service is crucial to the success of our business. When I talk to small business owners, the biggest complaint I hear is,”But, I’m not a sales man (or woman)!” I have studied the art of selling for many years. (Yes, it is an art.) Here’s the good news. At its core, selling is really all about listening. Here is an excellent article explaining just how that works.
Death of a Salesman: The Art of Selling Without Selling
As a small business owner, you’ve probably thought to yourself, “I’m not a salesman (or woman), how am I supposed to market myself or product?” The beauty of marketing is that you can sell without actually selling.
But how can this be?
I’m going to focus on social media marketing for the sheer fact that I’ve had many small business owners say to me, “I post my products on Facebook, but no one seems to care.” People don’t care because you haven’t given them a reason to care.
Let’s use a real life example. Let’s say it’s the first time I met you and all I did was talk about myself and what I wanted you to do for me. Would you continue to talk to me? I’m not a gambler, but I think it’s safe to bet that the answer would be no.
Give your audience a reason to like you
In social media marketing, or really any form of marketing, you rarely want to talk about yourself. This might seem counter intuitive but if you talk about things your audience cares about, educate them about the topics you are an expert in, and let them speak their minds, they will be much more willing to listen to you when you do talk about yourself.
Remember, you are an expert in whatever you do and your audience knows that. This gives you the opportunity to show off your expertise and build relationships with your customers. For example, if you are a hair salon owner, offer a daily tip about how to do your hair. This can be anything from “Tip: If you’re going to curl your hair, make sure you do not wash it for 12 hours before curling,” to a video tutorial about how to style your hair for a black tie event.
When you show off your expertise, your customers will appreciate you for educating them about the things they’re interested in. Also, the next time they are looking for a hair salon, they’ll think of you first because you gave them such great tips on how to do their hair at home.
Let your audience talk about themselves
People love to talk about themselves. This is no surprise to any of us, so tap into that urge. Ask your audience questions related to your brand or create a poll and let them participate. The best thing about doing this is that you’re not only increasing engagement but you’re learning who your audience is, what they’re interested in, and what they’re looking to learn from you.
Let’s go back to the hair salon example. Why not ask your audience, “What hair style have you tried at home but can’t seem to get right?” This question allows your audience to interact and participate with you, and (this is a big AND) it helps you understand what your customers are struggling with. You can then take this knowledge and create a workshop or tutorial to help them with that tricky hairstyle or simply make sure you’re offering that specific service.
Make your audience laugh
So many people are afraid to post things that are not directly related to their brand. This is a fear you need to overcome.
Again, we return to the hair salon. You can post a picture of a dog having a bad hair day and have a caption that says, “Looks like Fido should have come into the salon today.” You can also go a little further off topic but make sure to bring it back to your audience. TheConstant Contact Facebook Page has a ton of great examples of this…but here’s one of my favorites:
Use the 80/20 rule
This does not mean that you can’t promote yourself. By building relationships with your customers and ensuring 80% of your content is for them, you can then throw in 20% about yourself without the fear of scaring them away.
Now that you’ve engaged your customers with the valuable information they’re looking for, allowed them to talk about themselves, and entertained them, they’ll be willing to listen to your promotions without feeling like they’re just another person you’re selling to.
Your promotions don’t have to feel “salesy” either. There are ways to talk about your new product without saying, “We have a new brush…come buy it now!” Never say “buy it now.” This is a pitch your customers will run from. Instead, why not post a picture of that new brush with the brand name below and a caption that reads, “It’s waiting for you!”
No salesman allowed
Not a salesman? That’s perfect! People don’t want to be sold to. There are numerous ways to spin your content so you are selling them without making them feel like you’re selling them. This is the key way to build engagement and relationships.
Just remember, if you read your content and realize you’ve been talking about yourself more than 20% of the time, it’s time to change your strategy. Take a step back and interact with your customers. You can sell without selling!
What steps have you taken to sell without selling? Have you seen an increase in your customer engagement? Let us know in the comments below.