I'll explain ...
Here's how a sale works offline and online ...
Think about a typical customer buying from an offline store - for example, a tourist in a new city who wants to buy some sunglasses. Here are four things that happen in the buying process:
- First, they choose - for example, by walking through a shopping mall or seeing a retail store on the street.
- Typically, there are only a few options to choose from, and they choose one of them.
- Generally that store has a reputation, because of the brands they sell, because many other customers are also in the store, or because it just looks reputable.
- When they walk into the store, the sale starts. Even if a sales assistant does not come up to them immediately, they eventually talk to a salesperson, who guides them through the sale.
Now contrast that with your online store, which also sells sunglasses. Consider a customer who comes to your Web site for the first time:
- They might stumble on you – say, through a Google or a link on somebody else’s Web site.
- When they did a Google search, there were many options for them to choose from – sometimes thousands and even millions.
- Unless you are a well-known brand, you are an unknown. They can't see other customers buying at the same time, they can't be sure you will still be there next week if there are any problems, and they know that even scammers can build nice Web sites.
- They don’t immediately start a sales process. There isn’t a live person there to chat with them about what they want, and answer their objections. There is still a lot of marketing.
These are significant differences - and all before the customer has even started exploring the Web site! If you assume your offline and online customers think the same way, you'll fail because of these differences.
For example, let's say you are a professional speaker who runs workshops successfully, and now you want to build a membership site offering the same material as your workshops. Here's how an online customer sees your sales process:
- They might stumble on your Web site from a Google search (rather than choosing you from a few workshop trainers).
- There might be many options to choose from. For example, if you have a sales membership site, you're competing with all the other sales information out there on the Internet.
- For strangers who stumble across you, you are an unknown, and you're competing with Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins, and every other well-known sales expert.
- You have to do quite a bit of marketing even before you get into the sales process and before they start thinking about their objections.
Here's the biggest difference between offline and online sales ...
In a nutshell:
- Offline, your customers are fairly comfortable about you when they enter your store.
- Online, they have a lot of doubts.
This might sound simplistic, but it's an important point. Your customer's frame of mind is different.
If you're planning to sell anything online, you have to work very, very hard to get the customer in the right frame of mind before you even start showing them your product or service.
Start with the four factors I've mentioned: they are stumbling on you, you're just one of many options, you're an unknown, and you have to do a lot of marketing. If you don't address and manage these effectively, you will fail at online sales.
Gihan Perera CSP