The ABCs of Effective Online Selling

Whether you're starting a new business or growing one, you'll want to make sure that your selling muscle is in peak physical condition. In this article, we'll show you how to keep it flexing all through your website!

In the classic movie Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin’s less-than- charming character “motivates” the salesmen in the office to sell. He uses the famous sales acronym ABC: Always Be Closing.

For those of you without sales backgrounds, it means that everything you do and say to a potential customer should always be suggesting the sale and promoting that the customer should buy from you. That goes for your website, too.

Is your site “always closing”?

Only a few, good sites are always closing. One great site that’s always closing is

Many sites only close sometimes. Instead of suggesting the customer buy, they end up acting more like store windows and turn their potential shoppers into window shoppers, simply looking at the merchandise before they move on.

Here are a few ways to help your site go from sometimes closing to always closing.

1. Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak. This famous saying reminds us to sell the benefits of the product, not the features. Roy Williams turned the diamond sales industry on its head when he told jewelers to stop selling their diamonds based on cut, carat, color, and clarity. Instead, he said they should sell their diamonds by telling people about the good reactions others will have when they see them. They tried it and he was right. Highlight the pain problem and keep it at the forefront of your customer’s mind. Then present your products as the solution. Do this over and over and over and over! (and over and over and over!)

2. Make your sales process very clear and very easy. Too many clicks spoil the sale. If a customer doesn’t know what they’re doing and they’re left up to their own devices, they’ll click here and there until suddenly they’re off your site. Number your steps, and tell them what number they’re on and what’s next. Instead of a “next” button, customers will feel more at ease to buy (and thus, more likely to buy!) if you say “you’re on step 2 of 4… click here to enter your mailing address so we can send you your product!”

3. Get your site in front of your customers quickly. Use images to sell your products… but not too many. This is a tough quandary for most entrepreneurs. You want to have a great site that shows off your products, but if you put too many pictures on the site, it will take forever to load and you’ll lose customers. There are no hard-and- fast rules for this. You simply have to try different configurations and do your best to keep people with all connection speeds happy.

4. Make sure the above-the-fold portion of your first page is amazing. “Above-the-fold” is newspaper jargon. In the online world it means the part of your webpage that your visitor sees without scrolling down. It needs to clearly spell out how great you are at solving your customer’s needs.

5. Don’t look at how others in your industry are selling. Be better than that. Look outside your industry and see how other people are selling their products. You may be surprised when you come up with a few good concepts that no one else is doing.

6. Always include things like a PS in your emails or send coupons to your customers periodically. Every chance you get, promote your product.

If you love what you do, you shouldn’t have any problem taking advantage of every opportunity to Always Be Closing!

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