Wondering how to close a sale? Here’s a hint: people have to know that you’re selling something before they can buy it.
Here’s something I hear all the time: “Brenda, I’m posting all kinds of valuable content and my engagement is high…but I’m still not getting any sales.”
My next question is always the same: “Are you asking for the sale?”
Think of marketing like a pendulum. At one end of the pendulum are the Spammy-Pammy “hey Girl” messages to friends they haven’t talked to or had any interaction with in 20 years. At the other end of the pendulum is someone who is posting only engaging social content with no calls to action or commercial content at all.
If you want to know how to close a sale, you need to be somewhere in the middle.
I’ve Boiled Down How to Close a Sale into 3 Steps:
- Warm up your audience
- Nurture your audience through your funnel
- Close the sale (ask!)
If you’re not making it all the way to step 3, you’re not making the sale, closing the deal, getting the booking, or getting the new team member. In fact, stopping at step 2 will just leave your audience hanging in the middle of your funnel not really knowing what they need to do next.
Step 1: Warm Up Your Audience
This first step is about making contact with your prospect and getting on their radar. Someone has to know you before they can decide they want to engage with you. This stage is about helping your audience know, like, and trust you. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone you met last week or someone you went to high school with years ago or someone you just met in an online community an hour ago — either way, they need to know, like, and trust you before they can make up their minds as to whether or not they will do business with you.
Activities at this stage include:
- Actively engaging in new social communities to grow your network.
- Posting valuable and entertaining content on your social channels.
- Actively growing your friends and followers.
Step 2: Nurture Your Audience Through Your Funnel
This step is about guiding your prospect from where they currently are in your funnel to where you want them to go. This might be guiding them from your friends list to your Facebook page. Or you might be guiding them from your Facebook Page to your newsletter list. Perhaps you would like to guide your new friend connection to your Instagram or blog — wherever they can go to get to know more about you and how you can help them. This stage is about value and relationship nurturing.
Activities at this stage include:
- Defining your value offer (what is it your prospect needs and how do you provide that).
- Developing your strategy for how you will lead or guide your prospect from one step to the next.
- Analyzing and monitoring where your prospects are in your marketing funnel and measuring the effectiveness of your steps.
- Expanding your presence to more social channels and nurturing any prospects found on those channels back to your core offering or group (through the new funnel!).
Step 3: Close the Sale! Ask
You’ll notice as you interact and engage with your prospects more and more, you’ll start to learn more about them. You’ll begin to understanding your prospect’s needs, allowing you to tailor your message of value to them. You’ll begin to see just what kind of additional value you have to offer above and beyond the product you’re selling. And then — it’s time to ask. This is where it’s going to pay off to know how to close a sale because this applies to everything: bookings, sales, sponsoring, or any other promotional activity that builds your business and your income.
Activities at this stage include:
- Defining your offer.
- Maximizing the value for the recipient.
- Creating a system that allows you to continue nurturing regardless of the answer.
It’s true, sometimes, people will still say no to your offer:
- Maybe it’s not the right time.
- Maybe it’s not the right offer.
- Maybe something was off in your messaging
So the next time you hear an upline challenge you to “contact 20 people today!” Look at it through this lens: could you work on 20 people today in this framework? Yes you could. People will be at various stages of the 3 steps and you’re continually growing the prospects through more warmup. Some of those 20 are brand new contacts you’re nurturing and will ask later, some are ready for the ask right now.
Your job, as a sales person, is to continue creating value at the top of your marketing funnel through warmup to build your network in the funnel to guide people to the ask.
Don’t think your job is done just because you’re creating engaging social content. Engaging social content will keep them talking to you, but it’s not going to move anyone from one step to the next if they don’t know where to go. Now you have to follow up with those people and continue nurturing the relationship.
In fact, monitoring your key performance indicators (KPI) for each stage of your marketing funnel and tracking your prospects as they navigate through your funnel is going to be an important part of your business.
Let’s Create a Scenario
Mary is actively working her makeup business and focusing on relationship-based growth.
- She joins three Facebook groups to begin networking, socializing, and making new connections.
- She makes new friend connections in the groups and nurtures them with engaging social content by using custom lists on her Facebook profile.
- She invites these new prospects to join her community Facebook group.
- Jane, a new friend, has been actively liking and commenting in Mary’s group.
- Mary reaches out to Jane and says “I noticed you’ve been liking a lot of my posts! I’d love to invite you to get even more value by [booking, joining, etc.]
Mary and Jane have an established connection, value has been provided, and the ask, the point in which Mary tries to close the sale, is the natural extension of value. What have we created? A natural progression from new prospect to friend to customer.
Why do People Burn out in Direct Sales?
People burn out in direct sales and turn negative because:
- They don’t know how to close a sale without being self-serving (“can you help me reach my goal”).
- They skip the warmup.
- They don’t set up or monitor their funnel and don’t know where prospects are within that funnel.
And after all that, they get tired of the no. They ask everyone the same question the same way and, quite frankly, that’s hard on their mindset. They start blaming the company or their upline, they start looking for shortcuts and scripts — but really, if they knew how to set up a marketing funnel and how to nurture people through that funnel, they wouldn’t be feeling so burned out at the end of the day.
And before all you people who swear by cold messaging me start throwing apples and saying that cold messaging works… I agree. Yes, cold messaging can work. Yes, cold messaging does work for some. However, it’s a numbers game:
- Cold message 100 people to get 1 yes in one afternoon, and you have a 1% success rate — but it worked! (And now you’ll need to find another 100 numbers to try it again tomorrow).
- Nurture 10 people through your funnel and get 1 yes and you have a 10% success rate plus 9 other people who are still in your funnel and engaging with your content (and are more likely to say yes the next time).
And what do you think that does with your mindset? Constant rejection, hits to the mindset, the grind of cold messaging, reminding you why MLM and direct sales feels predatory? No thanks.
And for the record, anyone who is saying you have to get a lot of rejections in order to be successful is just plain wrong and is showing that he or she only cares about you pulling in numbers so they can rank up. They don’t care about the value of the product or qualified leads, they don’t care about their relationships or their friends. They’re just trying to get to a yes and they aren’t bothering to learn effective ways for how to close a sale to get there.
I can point to many, many, success stories of doing direct sales the right way, that builds relationship value, sustainability, and long term success online both for you, and those you serve as team members or customers.
Bottom line, we can find the happy balance of your business feeling genuine and authentic to you, growing consistently in sales, booking and team while still continuing to focus on relationship-based nurturing. But you have to ask.
If you’re just expecting people to magically come to you because you’re posting engaging content, you’re going to miss all the opportunity to help people maximize their value with products, community, and relationships your brand has to offer.
Owning your own business doesn’t mean you have to do it all on your own! Come hang out with me over in my free Facebook group: Social Marketing for Direct Sales, with Brenda Ster.