After over a decade of teaching people how to market their businesses online, I have come to the conclusion that it’s time to stop.

I’ll pause here to give you a moment to make sure you read that right.

Because I really meant it.

And I have meant it for the last ten years, I’ve just said it differently.

This last week I had a meeting with an amazing entrepreneur, with a highly disruptive product he has been trying to sell in a well established marketplace. Despite spending hundreds of dollars a month on ads and marketing programs, he’s getting almost nothing out of it. He’s lost a LOT more money than he’s made.

And isn’t that really your biggest concern as well? Whatever program you choose to sell your products on line is going to be a colossal waste of money?

I’m here to tell you right now that if you go out there and try to sell your product on line, then you’re probably going to experience that: a waste of money.

Here’s why:

There are over 700 MILLION products for sale online, and you’re not that special.

That pretty much says it all right there. If you think you can just go out there and put up your digital shingle and wait for the business to roll in, you’re crazy. So I’m here to save you the time, heartache, and money you were about to waste by trying to sell your product online.

I haven’t said a word about digital marketing, though. That’s where you can really have some extraordinary success.

In a nutshell, you need to stop thinking about selling your product. Just stop. There’s an old adage we used to use in copywriting that guided our word choice and overall content creation. It goes something like this:

“People don’t buy a drill.  They buy a hole.”

Stop thinking of your product as the thing people are searching for. They think that’s it, and so you think that’s it. It isn’t. They are actually looking for the end benefit of buying/using/owning/renting your product. They don’t want a drill. They want a hole. So sell the hole, not the drill.

This is where the entrepreneur I was talking to was going wrong. He told me that he has a horrible time getting leads, and even when he does, he has to take a big chunk of the first meeting educating them about the differences between his product and everyone else’s, and even then, he doesn’t close all the deals. It’s grueling work, and killing his schedule. But he was absolutely following the old sales advice:

“Sell the prospect. Educate the client.”

Now, I STOPPED using that advice back in the 1980s. I realized that when I educated my prospects, a significantly higher percentage of them became my clients. That’s what this entrepreneur needed to learn, though. Stop selling; start educating.

Find the pain point you are solving, and make it your life’s mission to TEACH people about the process of eliminating their pain. There are many ways you can do this, such as downloadable PDFs or putting up YouTube videos, but the two best ways I’ve found are to either have an evergreen webinar, or to have a full online course available on your website.

Here are the basics of both:

  1. The Evergreen Webinar | You can create a simple video webinar that can run continuously, with people signing up to watch it at times they choose. This is a GREAT option if you don’t have a lot of support material they might need to refer back to when making their buying decision. Even a 20 minute video workshop on “Four DIY Maintenance Tricks to do with your AC Unit BEFORE you call the Repairman” can be a great help to anybody with an AC problem right that moment. And aren’t these people the EXACT customers an AC contractor is seeking? So talk to them about what they need, and give them a venue that allows them to register, view your material, and then contact you if it doesn’t work.  You were the first person to help them. 90% of them will contact you if it doesn’t work, assuming they are in your service area.
  2. The Online Course | If you have a fair amount of information you think your potential customers can use to make a better buying decision, then the online course route might be better for you. These are especially helpful for business managers and buyers who have been tasked with the job of finding a new product or service for an existing company. Why is this great for them? Because they are going to be evaluated based upon the quality of the purchase choice they made. In other words, they don’t want to get fired for buying the wrong copier, or contracting with the wrong credit card processor. These people are scared, and they often don’t even know what they don’t know. If you offer them an online course that they can refer back to, with specific lessons that they can replay for their boss if they can’t explain it well enough themselves, then you have just turned them into the smartest heroes in the room. And if you just happen to be the only vendor who can offer this particular kind of service in their marketplace, then you have just closed an instant sale, without ever having to make a phone call.

 

When I stopped selling products, and started selling the benefits, my closing ratios skyrocketed. In a sea of 700 million products, be the one person that helped them find the right product. Even if what they find doesn’t turn out to be yours, you will see enough people turning to you for help that you can’t help but see an overall uptick in actual sales.

You’ll probably also find that the quality of your customers go up, as do their average purchases. This kind of program breeds customer loyalty to boot.

If you’d like help setting up your webinar or online learning platform, please don’t hesitate to contact me.