Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Your Blog Should Tell, But Your Website Should Sell

December 6, 2012

You’re educating. You’re engaging. You’re monitoring social networks and building relationships. When do you get to sell? 

Are you tired of hearing that salespeople aren’t supposed to actually sell anymore?Your job these days, you’re told, is to get to know people on social media sites, to learn about their pain points and their needs and their passions.

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That process is the core of social selling. But once you’ve nurtured prospects to the point where they’re ready to buy, be sure that their ordering experience is as fast and painless and satisfying as possible. Make your website — your online point of sale —  sociable, helpful and clear.

How? Here’s what the best e-commerce websites have in common.
They show as well as tell. When was the last time you bought anything — online or at a physical store — without getting a good look at it? Well-lit and carefully-staged photos that show off your products’ best, most unique attributes are critical.

They use unobtrusive, understated colors and fonts. Anything else looks like you’re yelling or desperate or both.

They don’t make you scroll endlessly. The most important elements — your calls-to-action, shopping cart (which should always be visible and updated) and your navigational tools — should be “above the fold.”

They offer multiple payment options. Visa and MasterCard alone doesn’t cut it anymore. You will lose some sales if you make people type in their credit card numbers. At least offer PayPal for those who like it.

They suggest related items. Think Amazon. If you ordered a CD player, they’d know what CDs you’d bought in the past and recommend similar items. VistaPrint will make you crazy with its post-order buying ideas, but you’ll probably be swayed sometimes.

They never leave you stranded. Navigation is possibly the most crucial element of your sales pages. Halfway through an order and your customer wants to add something?  Don’t lose them.Todd Martin blog 112712 image 2

They make shipping costs and options available early. Don’t surprise your customers.

Amazon and Lands End and Apple have entire staffs building and maintaining their websites. As a small business, your resources are much more limited. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use the same techniques that they employ to make sales. Considering all of the time and hard work you’ve put in on the “social” part of your social selling, I hope you’ll reap the rewards.

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