The Elements of a Successful Plan for Making Your First Sale
When you already have your product, you are excited to make your very first sale. You have taken photos of that product, written its descriptions, set up your online store, and provide your followers with great content. All these efforts could mean it is time to launch your product. Unfortunately, you cannot just sit back and expect sales to come flooding in. It is never easy in the business world, especially in e-commerce.
You are probably like most entrepreneurs out there who are virtually unknown. It is possible to have a paying customer without building an audience first. No matter what path you take, selling a product is not the last step to take in running a business. This process alone takes several procedures before you can establish your brand to your audience.
Are People Interested in Your Product or Will They Hit the Back Button?
Many business owners agree that there is nothing like the feeling of making the very first sale. Some believe it is even better than getting your hundredth sale. The first time that someone makes a purchase, you feel validated. It just means you have created something that can help you earn money even as you sleep.
However, your business is not something that you can set and forget. There will always be ongoing work for you to do so that those sales will keep on coming. You need to perform significant steps to ensure there will be a viable income stream.
Before you make a sale though, you should know about the value proposition of your product or service. Value proposition is a crucial thing that you need to test, and if done right, your revenues will get a huge boost. What exactly is it though? Value proposition is the very reason why a prospect should choose your product over your competition. In a nutshell, it is a statement that clearly states:
How your product will provide a solution to the problems of your target customers or how it will improve their situation – in other words, relevancy
The specific benefits of your product or its quantified value
Why your product is unique and should be chosen by your customers, not the competition’s
If you already have a website, your value proposition should be presented to your website, particularly on its landing or home page. Of course, it should also be noticeable on all major entry points for your site.
How to Make an Effective Value Proposition
Value proposition can ultimately increase your customer lifetime value. It is not for robots or search engines, but for humans to read and understand.
Use language that is easy to grasp without the need for meaningless jargons, which are common in “blandvertising.”
You cannot guess how your customers describe your product because it will usually be different from how you talk about it. You should interview your customers, or you can use social media to find out.
Figure out the end-benefit of the product you are offering and describe it in one short sentence. Make sure it is an attention grabber.
A value proposition also has a sub-headline, which can be comprised of two to three sentences. The sub-headline will specifically explain what the product will offer, for whom, and other reasons why it is useful.
There can also be a list of key features or benefits, which are presented in bullet points.
You can insert an image of your product. Since images can communicate faster than words can, you can use the best photo of your product to reinforce your message.
With your value proposition ready, you can proceed with the other steps toward making a sale.
How to Make Your First Sale
If you have no prior experience in selling something, it should not worry you at all. There are actually several ways on how you can make your very first sale even if it is literally your first time to do so. Here are techniques you can use:
Take advantage of social media. There is a significant number of social media sites and apps you can use. With the right platform and a wise strategy, you will eventually make your first sale:
Facebook: Make friends on Facebook, craft compelling status updates, and create a page that will feature your store.
LinkedIn: Create a network on LinkedIn by connecting with the right people, having a professional profile, posting intelligent and useful content, and leveraging groups on the site.
YouTube: Use the site to sell, produce engaging video content, and use YouTube analytics to help you start selling.
Twitter: Strategically involve followers and convert them into customers with the site. Use hashtags, tweet, and retweet regularly, and make sure to interact with the other users.
Tap into search engine marketing. These days, there are many consumers who use comparison shopping to purchase a product. You need to stand out on these comparison shopping tools so that you can get your product or service in front of more consumers. While at it, you should also know how important it is to be found on Google Places. Additionally, your website and your content should be search engine optimized, which when done correctly, can help you rank higher on Google searches.
Be accessible on handheld devices. With everyone on the go these days, you want to make sure your website is accessible on mobile devices. It is one of the best ways you can gain an edge on your competition. You can make your existing site mobile friendly, or you can create another one that is intended for mobile use.
Improve on your PR. For your online marketing method to be effective, you should get other people or websites to review your products. Doing so can help build visibility for your brand while increasing credibility. Of course, there is also word-of-mouth advertising. You can also write a press release for your product or pull a PR stunt to bring attention to your brand. You can also interview an influencer who is well-known in your industry.
Be ready with relevant content. It cannot be stressed enough how vital content marketing is for your product and your business in totality. Some of the things you can do here include:
- Writing a guest post
- Creating a viral video
- Having your own blog
- Writing a blog post that is sure to be controversial
- Creating your own YouTube channel
- Building your email list
Advertise. You can go for paid ads online, such as advertising on Facebook, paying for Google AdWords, or buying banner ads. You can also promote on Twitter to highlight your tweets on the site. Of course, you can also practice traditional advertising where you go with trade shows. You can also try print ads, or you can sponsor an event. Distributing flyers, advertising outdoors, and even going door to door are some of the most overlooked techniques for startups. However, these methods can actually work whether you are delivering physical, subscription, or digital products.
When you already have a product, do not forget to tell your family and friends about it. These people are usually the ones who would make your first sale easy. It does not mean you will have to sell to them, but you can use them to kick start advertising through word of mouth.
How Companies and Entrepreneurs Made Their First Sale
Most of the big companies that exist today also went through a hard time, particularly in gaining their very first client. Prior to launching their products or services, they went through a variety of stages and challenges. The same things happen even after a sale. As you can see, the process does not stop when your customers pay for your products. It is usually the start of something you have to consistently improve on.
Here are some stories of how entrepreneurs and companies made their sale and how they did it
Sales Funnel Roadmap
Jordan Gal created his first product that he called the Sales Funnel Roadmap. It was an info-product where he provided an online course about implementing a successful sales funnel for startups and small business owners.
At that time, Jordan had no name recognition, and he even had no existing mailing list. However, he managed to make a four-figure sale on the first day of introducing his product. He did it by creating a plan that worked for him as well as the course around sales funnels. He put up a home page where there were offers of a free webinar discussing the same traffic. He also made sure traffic went to his site using Facebook Ads, and it allowed him to land hundreds of registrations. He also hosted his first ever educational webinar where he presented his premium course.
Clint Warren is the man behind Illuminate WP, which is a workshop business for WordPress. Its very first workshop was in 2013. Clint already had a blog at that time, but he did not post there a lot, and he also did not have a personal email list. He was not a fan of tweeting as well. However, his first workshop was able to sell 25 tickets, which were priced at more than $300 per seat.
His technique included a combination of speaking engagements and word of mouth strategy. Before he launched Illuminate, he was at several local meet-up groups for WordPress, and he eventually became the organizer of some of those meet-ups. One of the very first things he did was to send an email to those who attended the last meet-up. Since they were already interested in WordPress, this means that these people were the perfect audience for his workshop.
Ma Yun or Jack Ma is the founder of Alibaba who also used a unique technique to gain a large number of users for the website. What he did was he sent out several members of his workforce to visit different parts of the country. From there, they went from one factory to another to make the people understand how to use Alibaba in order for them to sell their things online.
At that time, there were not a lot of people who were willing to work with those they would only get in touch with online. Apart from that, most of them did not even own a computer or have an Internet connection. It was definitely hard work, but Alibaba’s efforts immediately saw its first sale because many companies flocked to the site.
Niel Patel, who is now known as the founder of CrazyEgg and KISSmetrics, had an SEO company prior to the two mentioned. He found it difficult to have clients at that time because most of the companies already had others providing services for them. He later looked for companies that were spending more on paid search advertising. He started calling them one by one until he found someone who was willing to talk about SEO.
It took him almost a hundred calls before he got a client to say yes. It was not a big contact at that time, but he was able to convince the company when he showed that he could help them save money.
A Successful First Sale and Many More to Come
The product launch is definitely not the end of your business. You cannot just rest easy simply because you have your product or service out in the market. If you do not have a product yet, you can survey your target audience to know what they would like to get from you. If you don’t have an audience, focus on building your audience first. It becomes easier to sell the product because there will be people who really want it.
You should also be crystal clear on your offer. Confused consumers will not be paying customers. You can provide them with useful content that will provide them with a list of benefits they can get from your product. Doing so can help you with your conversion rates.
Finally, when you already have a product, do not stop selling. Some entrepreneurs simply start the launch, but they do not sell the product hard. As a result, they do not achieve their goals, and they eventually give up. It is actually the follow-through that will make you successful, so make your first sale and do not stop selling.