"Always be closing" is a common platitude in sales & marketing. Maybe you've been explicitly told to follow this motto. Even if you haven't it's implied everywhere. In marketing, it's normal to push hard and do anything to get the sale.
Shove people into your funnel, smack them over the head with upsell after upsell. Make grandiose claims in your copy. Whatever it takes.
And the defense of these tacky, gross marketing tactics is inevitably: "it works!"
So what if it works? Did you start a business to become a walking infomercial? Or do you want to be able to sell with integrity?
And even if the tacky approach works, that doesn't mean that every other approach doesn't work.
In this post, I'll show you the motto I've been following, as an alternative to "Always Be Closing".
The Alternative Motto: “Never Be Desperate”
The motto I've followed for my own marketing and sales content is: never be desperate. I never want to beg people to buy something from me, to pay attention to me or to give me validation. And I never want to need to make more sales so badly that I agressively push people down some obnoxious sales funnel.
An important reason for this is that I just don't want to. I don't want to be that kind of person and I don't want to live my life being desperate, pushy or aggressive.
I also believe that if I ever actually felt despearate, that would be an indication that something's wrong with my business. There are 3 things to look out for, if you ever feel the need to desperately cajole more sales out of your leads:
1) Product-Market Fit
Do you have a highly valuable product? Is the product made to meet the needs of a specific target audience? Does the product deliver on the promise of solving a problem or adding value to someone's life?
If you can answer "yes" to all of the questions above, you never have to be desperate or pushy in your marketing. In other words: product-market fit makes marketing much easier.
If people aren't buying, make sure you have a great product and you're addressing the right people, before trying to push harder.
For a quick but practical guide to product-market fit, check out this article.
2) Inbound Marketing vs. Door-to-Door Sales
In your online business, are you acting like a door-to-door sales person or like an inbound marketer?
The sales person goes out to potential customers, knocks on doors and hope whoever opens the door will be interested in whatever they're selling. This is a pretty outdated way of doing things. But many online marketers apply this same kind of sales approach online.
I choose not to do that. Instead, I choose an inbound marketing approach. Inbound marketing means you make potential customers come to you. You create things people want and/or need and place these things in an existing stream of attention. People find you through search, word-of-mouth recommendations, social feeds etc.
Remember that there's an opportunity cost to everything. So even if outbound sales tactics work, I would rather spend my limited time and energy building an inbound marketing system.
3) Nudge, Don't Push
Even with a solid inbound marketing system, sales still play a role. When you offer a product, most people will be on the fence, most of the time. Good sales copy will nudge the right people off the fence, towards a buying decision.
To me, this is what I aspire to with sales copy. A bad sales page is one that makes all kinds of overblown promises and desperately tries to push everyone on the fence towards a "yes". It uses hype, deception, fear and manipulation to do so.
A good sales page uses factual, clear communication and above-board persuasion to nudge people towards a "yes" without ever needing to be deceptive.
Online Marketing Doesn't Have to Cost Your Soul
Frequently, people will remark that my style of selling is refreshingly non-hypey (here's one example). I've seen many people express a mixture of amazement and relief when they see that a grounded approach like mine can lead to great, profitable outcomes.
I think that a lot of people in the online marketing space feel like they need to emulate the loud-mouthed, overblown and tacky marketing tactics they see all around. They don't want to do it, but they feel like they have no choice.
That's why I made this video. I want to say loud and clear: you can play this game successfully without compromising your values. You can write a sales page that converts well and that you could show to your grandmother without feeling ashamed.
Have you felt like you had to make compromises in order to succeed online? What is your take on my "never be desperate" motto? Leave a comment below to let me know!