You’re holding a product at that brick-and-mortar store, debating if now is the time for you to spend money on something you’ve been wanting — or needing — for some time now. As you weigh out the pros and cons silently to yourself, an inevitable deterrent appears out of the corner of your eye: those pesky salespeople who interrupt your thought process by repeating annoying slogans and pointing out product features you already know well. The amount of robotic desperation in their voices is enough to make you want to flee the store immediately.
It’s ironic that the more those salespeople hope to convert you into a paying customer, the farther away they drive you from the cash registers. As business owners, be sure you’re not doing the same. Instead, employ a new sales strategy that loosen the wallets of potential customers without leering over them like an off-putting hovercraft.
We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invitation only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs, the following question to find out how they creatively convert a “looker” into a happy client:
“What’s your most creative tip for growing sales when customers are still leery of opening their wallets?”
Here’s what YEC community members had to say:
1. Capture the Leads
“Many shoppers often find it hard to immediately commit to something, and can use a bit of hand holding through their online shopping process. Instead of trying to sell them on the spot, capture their email, and get them to register for your site or to connect with you on social platforms. Then work to nurture them into a loving and paying customer.” ~ Danny Wong, Blank Label Group, Inc.
2. Go to Trial
“If prospects are not ready to make the leap into your pool, get them in better shape by at least allowing them to dip their toes in the water. Free trials can be extremely effective to whet a customer’s appetite for your product or service. Make the free trial long enough to show the benefits, but short enough to get them interested in buying more.” ~ Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.
3. Name Your Price!
“Taking the money off the table, would you use our service? Yes? So you clearly see its value. Now, we can’t give our product away for free, but you pay us what you think is fair for the first month — and we’ll go from there.” ~ Nathan Lustig, Entrustet
4. Build Long-Term Relationships
“You don’t need customers to buy the first time they encounter you if you’ve got relationship-building mechanisms (like a good mailing list) in place. You can’t entirely automate the relationship-building process, but you can keep it simple and still connect with customers who will buy bigger tickets items from you more than once after you’ve got the relationship in place.” ~ Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting
5. Ask Questions
“Whether a customer is still a prospect or a confirmed buyer, the best way to help make a buying decision is by asking questions. Find out what they’re looking to do with the product considered, and ask why they’re hesitating to try it. Then thoughtfully help them by analyzing the products you offer to match them with the right one. Sales requires strategizing, not just spending.” ~ Vanessa Nornberg, Metal Mafia
“Pay-for-Performance is a great way to grab attention and gain sales because it earns customers’ trust and loyalty over time. My company went to a pay-for-performance model, which resulted in a growth of sales. People feel more comfortable with spending money after they see results. If you actually provide your clients with value, then you shouldn’t be scared of implementing this model.” ~ John Hall, Digital Talent Agents
7. Try Tiered Pricing
“Irresistible tiered pricing draws customers in. Don’t simply offer one variation of your product/service, but instead offer several, including an irresistible “Best Value” offer. This allows prospects to have comparison points, which defines just how good your “Best Value” deal really is.” ~ Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net
8. Make an Event Out of It!
“Event-based marketing works. We’re all busy, and sometimes it’s not so much that people don’t want to spend money, but that they’ve not seriously considered your offerings. Give them a time-specific deadline to sign up and buy — with good reason, of course — and they’re more likely to make a decision. That might mean a “no” but you’ll also get some successful responses.” ~ Nathalie Lussier, Nathalie Lussier Media
9. The Ol’ Risk Reversal
“There are a few reasons people don’t buy: price, trust, or simply not being ready right now. It’s strong when you can reverse the risk and put it on you as the company to perform. Offer a trial program or beef up your guarantee so the buying decision has no risk for the customer. Eliminate the fear of purchase and you’ll be golden.” ~ Trevor Mauch, Automize, LLC
10. Demonstrate Your ROI and Value
“Customers are always going to be leery about opening their wallets. The key is to only sell to companies in industries that will legitimately benefit from using your services or buying your products. Nobody wants to throw money at something where they can’t see any value.” ~ John Berkowitz, Yodle
11. Create a Trust
“If you’re having trouble closing deals, try looking past the sale and focus solely on creating trust with your customers. They’ll be much more likely to open their wallets once you get your hand out of their pocket.” ~ Christopher Kelly, Sentry Centers
12. Give Them Free Value
“If you are selling something to someone else, you are assumed to be an expert on what you are selling. Take some of this expertise and give it away for free as a whitepaper, blog post or newsletter. Once your customers know how knowledgeable you are and how valuable your expertise is, they will be more likely to purchase it from you.” ~ Lucas Sommer, Audimated