How Do I Sell Products Produced By Others?
by Bob McElwain
answer is indirectly, and with a very light touch.
We have all
hit sites that seem like nothing but a catalog of stuff being sold.
Flashy, blinking banners. Bellowing sound, if you allow it. I don't
know how they can sell anything. I run quickly without even a thought
of looking back.
When you are
selling products produced by others, let the producer do the selling.
(If they can't get it done, you have the wrong producer and product.)
All you should do on your site is to recommend the product. And to do
so indirectly, with little fanfare, may be best. Look at it this way.
When a visitor
arrives at your site, the question is always what's in it for me. So
you answer this with good useful site content. You provide the
information the visitor came to find. Maybe it's air fares to Europe,
the cost of renting a house boat for two weeks next summer, all known
symptoms of hoof and mouth, or the latest rumors about the price of oil.
Your site has
a purpose for being. If all is working well, your visitor arrived in
accord with that purpose looking for information you can provide. Do
To hit a
visitor with a sales pitch is dumb. All surfers know where the Back
button lives. And they use it frequently.
One way of
looking at your point of view as a webmaster vs that of your visitor
is to think in terms of MWR (Most Wanted Response). That is, think of
what you most want your visitor to do relative to what your visitor
take a lot of brain power to realize you and your visitor do not
ultimately want the same thing. For example, your visitor wants
information; you want a sale.
Taking this a
step further, it should be obvious that what you want is meaningless
to your visitor. Thus you are whipping a dead horse if you do
anything other than seek to provide your visitor with exactly what is
wanted. That is, your MWR must be for your visitor to find what is
needed. To work toward any other objective is to fail.
visitor is looking for information about pruning rose bushes. Then
her MWR is to find that information. Your MWR at the time of her
arrival must be to provide it. If you can, you have accomplished a
great deal. You will have drawn her into your site. You have been
allowed to demonstrate your resources and expertise. While you may
not have made a sufficient impression to assure she will return, she
probably will not unless you provided what she wanted.
you have a marketing deal with a garden tools wholesaler. That your
visitor is interested in how best to prune roses, may mean she is
also interested in good pruning shears. Which of the following will
bring more sales?
within the article:
If you think
the second approach is even feasible, you're right in only one sense.
It is feasible. Some will jump at a sale. Some will even do so when
they have no real need for the item on sale!
But you can
not build a loyal customer base with the latter approach. The soft
sell in the middle of an article in which you are providing needed
information will take you much further in the long run. If your
visitor clicks on your link, it will be her choice. Thus at the other
end of the link, you will know she arrived by choice.
support is called for. But so is lightness. And grace and style help
as well. Something very simple may work best.
the gardening fanatic that I am, I think I've tried every gardening
tool made. Those I haven't tossed, lie rusting in the garage. These
days, I've given up looking. Diltson tools always deliver. They work
better and last longer than any other tools out there. Nothing beats them.
visitors say the same thing. Many thank me for recommending them. [A
great place here for a testimonial.] Check it out for yourself. Just
Now look what
has happened. If your visitor clicks on this link, she arrives at
Diltson's showplace with an open mind, probably hoping to find a
better tool. With less than eighty words, you have converted a total
stranger into an excellent prospect.
Even if your
visitor did not click on either link, you still have a big win here.
For one, you have not offended her with a blatant sales pitch. More
important, she found what was needed, good information about pruning
roses. In this, there is at least the beginning of trust and an
appreciation for your expertise. From here, she may explore further
or come back later.
While we would
like to believe this approach always brings a return visit, it just
isn't so. A visitor who does not buy on the first visit, and does not
come back, is a potential sale lost forever.
But the more
important view is to look at this from the other end. If your visitor
does not find what is needed, does not recognize your authority and
expertise, there will be no coming back. Period. At bottom, your MWR
at the time a visitor arrives is to provide precisely what is needed.
It is the only way that offers the chance of a future visit and a
further opportunity to make a sale.
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