One of the Best Tips on How to Sell a Product Online
This may be the most important selling tip you have ever learned, so stay with me. I have been in sales for many years, both in retail stores and online, and this one is probably the single most important concept you should learn if you want to sell ANYTHING successfully...online or elsewhere, actually.
The Biggest Mistake
First, what is the biggest mistake people make when they try to sell a product?
They try to sell the product!
So why is that a problem?
Well, the truth is that most people couldn't care less about your product.
What people care about most is satisfying their needs. A need can be to be healthier, look better, own the newest, and so on. Whatever it is for the individual, that's the real reason they are buying a product.
Not Because of the Product but Because of Their Need
For example, the story is often told, and repeated in the Corey Rudl Internet marketing course, of the man who goes into a hardware store and buys a drill bit. If you really press him for what he "needs", it does not have to be a drill bit. What he actually needs is a hole. The drill bit is what the hardware store has which will satisfy his needs. Obviously, however, if he walked into the store and said that he needed to purchase a hole, he might be looked at funny and leave without being satisfied.
However, if an astute clerk says, "We have just what you are looking for over here. How big a hole do you need?", that clerk probably has the sale.
So, out of all the possible tips on how to sell a product, the most important in my experience, and as pointed out by many other professional sales people, is to identify the potential buyers' needs and offer them a solution.
Now, let's step back for a minute and look at the instructions of Internet marketing professionals and see how this can work in the world of selling things online.
The title of Lesson 3, in my battered and torn copy of the Corey Rudl Internet marketing course is "Find a 'Niche Market' Whose Needs Are Not Being Met - and Position Your Site for Profits!"
Go to any Internet marketing course, and you will find this to be one of the earliest instructions for Internet marketing success. However, people get a little confused on this subject. They tend to think merely in terms of "product" and not people.
What Do I Mean By That Last Statement?
Well, many examples of finding a niche contained in various Internet marketing courses and discussions have to do with the product. Start with a widget. If there are too many competitors, see if "wooden widget" gives you a better position. If "wooden widget" is still too broad a product with too many competitors, try "Amish made wooden widget", and so on. Each step narrows the field of competitors, but it also narrows the field of people as well.
That's okay. Someone who is trying to find tips on how to sell a product online probably has a limited budget and normally needs to narrow their focus a bit anyway. It's very hard competing with all the other people selling widgets, and narrowing your target market to those seeking "Amish made wooden widgets" gives you a better opportunity to compete effectively. Along the way, you might just also pick up a few customers seeking widgets and wooden widgets as well.
That was an example of what I mean by focusing on the product. Most Internet marketing courses use that sort of example of finding a niche market in their presentations, and it is a perfectly valid model.
You must remember, the "niche" is actually in the mind of the buyer.
Here's what I mean.
I am an AMSOIL synthetic motor oil dealer. This is actually already a niche, but there are still a lot of competitors in it. Many of them, not having had many tips on how to sell a product, online or anywhere else, assume that since they are already in a niche market, all they have to do is present the valuable features of their product - longer change intervals, better engine and component protection, longer viscosity retention, better cold start protection, etc.
All valid points, but also the same points that everyone else selling AMSOIL synthetic motor oil.
If we remember our earlier discussion, we can realize that people are really searching for things to fulfill their needs. Our list of "features" may or may not trigger some sort of link with their needs. If, however, we list our product's benefits, we are more likely to get a match and trigger not only a link but a sale as well.
So, I sit back and think: Which would touch on people's needs more, a recitation of the features of my product...great motor oil (whoopee!), or tell them how my product can save them money? For this reason, I often target things such as how to save money on gas, or how to save money on car repairs by using AMSOIL synthetic motor oil! This gets me a great many more website visitors (and targeted, motivated visitors at that), than simply saying that I have a great synthetic motor oil for sale.
More Website Visitors = More Sales in the World of Internet Marketing
Now, in the retail environment, such as a furniture store, the seller (you) can ask the customer questions to get inside their head and determine their needs. For example, I would ask: What kind of dining table do you have now? Is it big enough? Are you satisfied with it? What DON'T you like about it? Do you do a lot of entertaining? How much space do you have? Do you prefer a light or dark finish? Do you want a metal or a wooden set? Do you have a limit on cost?
All of these questions are asked in order to help the customer find the product which most effectively matches their needs. This is important, because if I sell them something that gets me the biggest commission but does not match their needs, even if it is a great product at a great price, they eventually will feel that I have taken them to the cleaners, and they will no longer trust me.
Not only that, but statistics show that while people will often tell others about a great deal they got or how well the salesperson treated them, they tell even more people about bad experiences! Not only will they not come back to purchase from me again, but they will warn others not to as well. If they are satisfied with their experience, they may actually send me more business as well.
The Niche in the Customer's Mind
In Internet marketing, you usually will not have the customer there with you, so, instead of asking questions, you have to figure out what thoughts might be running around in the head of a customer seeking your product. In the case of my AMSOIL motor oil example, I guessed, and correctly, I might add, that many people might not have even known that there was such a thing as synthetic motor oil. Even many of those who had heard of such a thing probably never had a reason to think of buying it. However, when they are searching on ways to "save money" and learn that my product can save them money in multiple ways, I have found and contacted the niche need in the customer's mind.
Talking About Tips on How to Sell a Product
Here's another example of product niche vs. people niche.
You have to remember that when we are talking about a marketing niche, we are actually talking about what people are thinking about. As I pointed out earlier, many people use products, such as our Amish made wooden widgets, as examples of finding a niche market.
The Niche is in the Mind of the Beholder
I mentioned Corey Rudl's Internet marketing course earlier. What if I wanted to sell that?
Internet marketing courses are a dime-a-dozen and there are a kazillion people selling them. What makes this course different, and how can I find a niche, or niches, to market this particular course to?
Of course, I can look at the facts: It's one of the biggest, most professionally designed courses available. It is updated yearly. The tips are actually tested and put into practice by the people over at the Internet Marketing Center where it is published.
I can even use the fact that I bought the course after being successful online myself and still learned even more tips on how to sell a product.
However, I have still not touched a niche market.
What about people who want to get into Internet marketing but have little money to invest (waste)? The truth is that many people who try Internet marketing and eventually become successful often learn through trial and error! They often spend lots of money, sometimes thousands of dollars, learning the nuts and bolts of successful Internet marketing.
I know! I am one of them!
Okay, there are many people who want to learn Internet marketing in order to save money in the long run. They will spend up front for a product such as Corey Rudl's Internet marketing course in order to save a lot of money, and many trips down blind alleys...where they will be mugged, as they learn the techniques needed to become successful selling online.
These are people who might fit into some of the niches below:
These are all searches which were done on Yahoo last month.
Just to give you an idea of how to narrow the mental niche, here's a list of searches in the same time period which contained the first phrase, "How to start an Internet business".
In my slightly older edition of the Corey Rudl Internet marketing course the example is given of the man who wanted to sell an eBook on how to train dogs. As with so many things, competition, while not fierce, was very deep. All sorts of people and organizations from Amazon.com on down were selling the same product. He met with no success until he hit on the idea of selling a book on how to train large dogs, such as Great Danes and Saint Bernards. He put himself inside the heads of his potential customers and found his niche there. The book was not that much different, even the people who made up his potential customers did not change. He simply figured out what a particular need was and pitched to that need.
I hope you can now see why, out of all the tips on how to sell a product, this one might truly be the most important to your success.
I have assumed that if you are reading this little article, you are probably planning to do some selling online yourself, and one of the best places to start this project is with the proper training. Get the Internet Marketing Course which will teach you how to be a successful Internet marketer.
Most Internet marketers, yours truly included, acquired the Internet marketing tools currently in their toolkit at great personal cost...both in time and money. However, if you know how to go about it, you can have access to the Internet Marketing course which teaches genuinely successful Internet marketing techniques at a cost far less than the thousands of dollars many of us have spent! In fact, as I write this, the foremost company in this field is providing a trial of their highly acclaimed Internet marketing training online for only $2.95!
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