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Why you're not making sales

Discussion in 'Making Money' started by Thulean, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. Thulean

    Thulean Newbie

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    I've spoken with a lot of folks who don't like sales, but want to make a living selling their own products.

    Here's the reality: if you want to earn an income from a product you've created - a web app, an e-book, an iOS app, or desktop software - you're going to put a price on it and ask people to buy.

    You might not like it, but there's no other way. No one is going to just give you money so that you can achieve your dreams. Truthfully, customers don't really care about you; they're just regular people looking to solve their own problems.

    It's not about you

    I keep meeting brilliant people who are building products wrong. It's not the technical aspects that are wrong; the problem is they're not starting with the customer in mind. They're starting with themselves. Instead of finding pain that people need solved, they're focused on their own needs: they want to use the latest tech, the latest framework, the latest design technique.

    It's not about you.

    No seriously, it's not about you. If you want a business, you can't be your own customer.
    If you started your project without talking to a single soul you're doing it wrong. If you've talked to 100 people, it won't matter until you connect with a group of people who need your help. That's where you start. Not with yourself, and your ideas, but with other people.

    You're not connecting with a real need

    Derek Sivers tells a great story about trying to make it in the music business. He hustled for years as a musician, but his career never really took off. Then he created CD Baby, a site that allowed artists to sell their music. This was before PayPal existed, and setting up a shopping cart was difficult. The company he'd accidentally created in a weekend, took off and became a great success.

    "I'd finally created something people wanted. It was like I'd written a hit song. Once you have a hit, all the locked doors open wide. People love it so much, it seems to promote itself. Don't persistently do what's not working."


    Finding a hit means starting with people (as I mentioned above), and figuring out what they need.
    You don't start with code, or with an idea; you start by listening to people. It's inherently difficult to find a genuine pain that others have for two reasons:


    1. We're inherently self-focused, and not thinking about the needs of others
    2. A lot of legitimate problems have boring solutions, or solutions that require hard work

    You might be a photographer that really wants to do artsy photo shoots for magazines. But the reality is that there are more weddings that need photographers than artsy magazines. Doing artsy photos is a desire you have for yourself; being a wedding photographer connects with a need people actually have. You can test this easily by searching Craigslist: how many people are looking for wedding photographers? How many people want to pay you just so you can express yourself creatively in a way that is satisfying only to you?

    Tell me about what you're selling

    Whenever people tell me they've built a new product, I ask them to tell me about it, or show me the web page.
    This is where words really matter. Every elevator pitch, landing page, or sales letter basically boils down to this formula:

    You (the customer) have ___ problem.
    Hire my product, and you'll solve that problem.


    That's it. However, that's easier said than done. The key is to keep it as simple and as direct as you can. The customer doesn't need to hear about your philosophy or your ideals. They don't need to hear your mission statement. All they want to know is: "Can you solve my problem?"

    You need to appeal to the person with the checkbook

    This is often the hardest part for creatives to swallow. When you're selling to businesses, you're not appealing to the cool, hip designer, or the brilliant engineer. Usually, you're selling to a boring manager with a checkbook. They don't care about what framework you used for your software, or about that beautiful font pairing you made. Generally they only care about four things:


    1. How will this make me more money?
    2. How will this save me more money?
    3. How will this save me more time?
    4. How will this make me look good?

    I know: capitalistic, boring, pragmatic and vain. And yet while things like user experience, design, and technical architecture do matter over the long haul, they're not going to get you the sale up-front. Your value proposition is what gets you the sale; everything else helps you keep the sale (or creates repeat sales).



    Source: justinjackson.ca/sales
     
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  2. nanavlad

    nanavlad Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    This is great advice
    As blackhatters we spend so much time getting to the top of google
    we miss golden opportunites by not having very targeted sales pages
     
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  3. 4ContactUK

    4ContactUK Regular Member

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    I guess i slightly disagree as it depends on what your offering and what your comfortable with. If you're a faceless business then yes but I find in my business - Web design and SEO, its all about me that potential clients want to know about first. If you have read the book 'The Secret' you will know why they seem magnetized towards speaking to me. My personality alone gives that trust that they need to connect with me to then want to know more about what I offer. So i guess my way is going out to meet potential clients at networking without the pushy sales methods. BUT then thats where your above advice comes in for the next step, its then all about them and their needs.
    Thanks for sharing
     
  4. louisvu

    louisvu Junior Member

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    Very Informative OP.

    "There's Levels 2 Dis Shit!!!"
     
  5. SavyCon

    SavyCon Regular Member

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    I see someone else reads HN. Good post.
     
  6. watsonovedades

    watsonovedades Senior Member

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    Very good advice, need to be straigth forward and focus on benefits to the buyer
     
  7. alessandro_gm

    alessandro_gm Newbie

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    Not for all cases, most of the time the costumer not even know what they want. Believe in yourself and ajust thing over the course
     
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  8. edgematch

    edgematch Elite Member

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    I am about to cry...
     
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  9. King Midas

    King Midas Junior Member

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    Although it is true that in some cases an individual expects too much flexibility from market demand, it does not lead to the conclusion that you're not able to follow your dreams to be successful in business. This problem boils down to whether or not you're able to separate your own personal preferences from your business model. It's important to be disciplined and focused, business is about offering either a product or a service for others, it's as simple as that.
     
  10. GigaGorilla

    GigaGorilla Junior Member

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    I a lot of rehashed words put together to become and all inspiring guru.
     
  11. Ptrick125

    Ptrick125 Regular Member

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    People like Bill Gates made their money due to their marketing skills combined with their other skills. If you can't sell something, that item is worth nothing.
     
  12. GigaGorilla

    GigaGorilla Junior Member

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    That and plenty of start up capital and a start at Harvard paid for by family. People like to look at these people like they were working class that became something when in all actuality they were raised for these positions almost.
     
  13. IamNRE

    IamNRE Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Need, Entry, Control, Scale, Time.
     
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  14. pishty

    pishty Junior Member

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    I'm selling digital products for 2 years now. It is hard to get new clients but by following basic selling rules I get to make few hundreds a month.
    1. find a niche
    2. create your product
    3. marketing your product
    4. pre sale assistance
    4. SALE
    5. post sale assistance (customer support is essential and grows your reputation and generates sales)
     
  15. UmaMccarthy

    UmaMccarthy Newbie

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    I have all these, and also the following:
    Intelligence, Creativity, Ingenuity

    I lack:
    Motivation, Business Network, Staffing Funding
     
  16. King Midas

    King Midas Junior Member

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    Try not eating for a couple days and see how motivated you are to actually work and make some money.