Everybody is a salesman. You sell every single day.
Convincing your coworkers to go to a specific restaurant during lunch break? Selling. Persuading your spouse on a particular vacation destination or decoration theme for the living room? You’re selling.
Everyone in the world sells every single day. It’s not a matter of whether you want to sell—it’s a matter of whether you’re doing it purposefully.
Giving value to people is a good thing, and it’s a part of relationship marketing. But don’t forget the importance of the second word: marketing.
You have to market something if you want to sustain yourself. Marketing is the promotion of goods or services. If you don’t market, you won’t sell. If you don’t sell, you can’t make money. That leaves you without a business. It leaves you without a home and food on your table. If you don’t make money, you can’t continue operating or doing what you do. Everyone loses.
Many of us have a negative association with the word sales. It leaves a bad taste in our mouth because of past experiences with salesmen. But the difference between you and a salesman is that the salesman’s entire job is to sell. If you have a bad purchasing experience, it doesn’t affect the salesman because you’re going to talk to customer support. The salesman’s sole goal is to get you to sign on the dotted line. Often, this means doing whatever it takes to get you to buy. We don’t like that, and we don’t want to be like that person.
But you’re different. See, you made what you’re selling. You’re not selling someone else’s product you don’t believe in; you’re selling something you made to better people’s lives. If people buy your product, they will benefit from it. You know you created something great.
Everyone loses when you don’t sell. Your potential customer doesn’t benefit from the value you have to offer, and you end up running your business into the ground—which means not only are you out of a job, but you can no longer help people!
You Must Sell
Business is commerce. It’s transactional. It’s the exchange of currency for goods or services. To operate a business is to engage in commerce. Commerce is the act of buying and selling. If business is the exchange of currency for goods or services, what then do you need?
You need one of two things:
Pick one or the other or both—but you have to pick something! You must sell something.
Step 1 is to create something people can purchase. Step 2 is to sell it.
People value what they pay for, and they take for granted what they get for free. If you want someone to value what you’re offering, make them pay for it. The true value of information is not just the hearing or seeing or reading of it—it’s in the application of that information. If people aren’t applying what they read in your book, they’re not going to get value out of it. They have to take action. If they buy your course but don’t do anything with what they learn, they won’t see the results they want.
To maximize the chances that people take action on the information you give them, you need to put a price on it. You’re actually doing people a disservice if you give everything away for free. They will take it for granted, and they will not take action on it. By selling, you’re helping people get value out of what you have to offer. If you’re not selling, you’re decreasing the chance that people who consume your material will value it.
Giving free value is important, but if you give free value over and over and never sell, people will fall into a pattern of consumption without application. There will be no execution because they don’t have any skin in the game. They’re not invested, so they’re not going to act on something they didn’t buy.
You can’t give away free things indefinitely—you have to survive, your business has to make money, and you need to make a profit.
You have to make money, and to make money you need to sell. If that seems selfish to you, then get out of business because business is selling. If you really want to help people, you have to sustain yourself in doing that. If you want to help people once and never again, give everything away for free. You’ll run your business into the ground and then be done. If you want to continue helping people, you need to sell.
It’s a noisy world, and selling is the cost of entry if you want to do business. You have to promote, and you have to market, but you can do so in a way that doesn’t make you feel gross.
Believe in What You Sell
Shed any sense of guilt, shyness, reservation, or timidity you may have about your product. You need to become the chief ambassador for what you’re selling. Who else is going to do it for you? You should be the one selling more than anyone else, and the biggest thing holding you back is yourself.
You’re doing yourself a disservice by lacking confidence, and you’re doing your clients and customers a disservice by lacking confidence. If you’re not confident in your own product, what makes you think they will be? Who buys something they’re unsure of? When you’re unsure, they’re unsure. That means they’re not going to buy. That means they’re not going to receive any of the benefits, and it’s your fault.
When you think about the benefits your product brings, you should be going out of your way to sell. You should be falling over yourself because you’re going so far out of your way to sell. As long as you’re over-delivering on the value, your product is a no-brainer!
The only way you can market yourself without feeling awkward is to believe in what you’re selling. If you feel timid or shy about your product or service, you need to stop right now and think about whether or not you believe in what you’re selling. If you don’t believe in it, you need to quit. If there’s something morally objectionable about what you’re selling, you need to quit. If you don’t believe it will make someone’s life better, you need to quit. If none of those things apply, then you need to get on board fully and believe in what you’re selling!
Focus on the customer and how you’re enriching their life. If you lack confidence, it’s because you’re focused on yourself. Focus on the customer. Focus on how you’re making their life better. That is where your confidence comes from. Remember that your product or service is a solution and an investment for the customer, who will ultimately get some kind of return from it.
If you’re not on board, other people will not get on board. The way you think about it translates to the way others will receive it. You set the tone. Their level of belief will be matched by your level of belief. You need to be fully convicted. It can’t be underscored enough: you need to be fully convicted and completely on board with what you’re selling. You need to believe in it with every fiber of your being.
If you serve people because you genuinely care about solving their problems, they will trust you and want to work with you. When you operate this way, you will be unstoppable. You will make more sales when you learn to source your confidence from the fact that you’re making people’s lives better.
Be the Obvious Solution
You don’t want to be a contender. You don’t want to compete. You want to dominate.
Your product or service needs to be the obvious solution, not just another solution. It needs to be the no-brainer option, and you need to be the go-to person in your industry for this thing. That means everything you put out, everything you talk about, everything you focus on, and all the work you display must be fully related to this thing you’re selling. Anything less will compromise your position as the best. The people who are the best spend no energy on anything that isn’t in the field they dominate. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the best or not if people don’t believe it. They have to believe. To believe it, they need to see characteristics of domination. Anything you’re projecting that doesn’t align with your position as the best in your industry is going to undermine your credibility. It doesn’t matter if it’s valuable. It must be both related to your industry and valuable.
Do not write about things that are not related to your specialty. Do not talk about things that are not related to what you want to sell and what you want to be seen as the best at. People need to associate you with this thing. They need to think about you, and they need to immediately think about this thing you’re selling.
Promote Benefits Over Features
People don’t buy products; they buy a better version of themselves. Nobody wants to buy products; they want to buy what this product can help them become. If you’re smart, that’s what you’ll sell. But most people sell products. They don’t think about selling someone a better version of themselves.
Instead of promoting features, promote the benefits of what you sell. Features and benefits aren’t talking about different things. They’re talking about the same things with different framing. Your products already have benefits. You just have to do a little bit of work to present features as benefits.
You want to sell people a better version of themselves. Since it’s easy to list the features, start there. Do a brain dump of all the features you can think of. The key is first to list your features and then turn them into benefits. Show how your product or service helps the customer. How does what you’re providing help them become a better version of themselves? What do they want?
List the features, read them, and ask yourself:
- How does my product or service benefit the customer?
- Why do they care?
- What difference does this make for them?
- What does it do for them?
- How does it help them?
The answer to those questions is what you project. For instance, compare the following:
- Feature: 68 Lessons on Copywriting
- Benefit: Sell More of What You Sell
The feature is accurate, but it’s not interesting. Yes, your course has sixty-eight lessons, but what does it matter? A feature is what something is. A benefit is what someone wants. No one wants sixty-eight lessons. They care only about the result your lessons can provide. What is that desired result?
If you’re having trouble turning features into benefits, just ask yourself, “Why?” Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Interview yourself.
Why do you have sixty-eight lessons?
Because I wanted to go in depth on the subject of copywriting and cover all of the nuances thoroughly.
Why did you want to go in depth?
Because a thorough education will help you understand why to make certain copywriting decisions and improve your skills.
Why does improving my copywriting skills matter?
Because once you improve your copywriting skills, you’re able to sell more of what you sell.
That sounds great! Selling more of what I sell is exactly what I want.
Remember, features and benefits are not different things. They are the same thing with different positioning. Present features as benefits. You can still talk about features; just promote the benefits first. Sell the benefits, and then let any specific features simply push them over the edge.
It’s possible to sell only when you’re completely sold on your own product. You have to believe in what you sell. Know at the very core of your being that what you sell will help someone. Then see it as your duty to sell because that’s how you serve this person and improve their life. Paint a picture of who they’ll become. Remember: people don’t buy products; they buy a better version of themselves.
- Everyone in the world sells every single day. It’s not a matter of whether you want to sell—it’s a matter of whether you’re doing it purposefully.
- You’re doing people a disservice if you give everything away for free. They will take it for granted, and they will not take action.
- You can’t give away everything for free forever—you have to survive, your business has to make money, and you need to make a profit.
- If you feel timid or shy about selling your product or service, you need to stop right now and think about whether or not you believe in what you’re selling. If you don’t believe in it, you need to quit.
- You don’t want to compete. You want to dominate. Your product or service needs to be the obvious solution, not just another solution.
- People don’t buy products; they buy a better version of themselves.