The business industry has evolved massively in just the past decade. This brings about advantages as well as downsides. Let’s dive in and learn more about how to sell a product.
Let’s take a look at the good side first. The internet and technology go hand in hand in making business transactions smoother. They bridge the gap between businesses and consumers by allowing for fast and secure transactions. It also helps businesses to initially startup, which brings me to the downside.
Since anyone can easily start up a business in this era, it results in aggressive competition. Whether it’s the food industry or service industry, there’s a number of businesses catering to customer needs. This excess of product supply gives consumers more power to choose from, which is why businesses need to go the extra mile to attract and retain customers.
Here’s a guideline on how to sell a product effectively:
- Highlight your Unique Selling Point
Some customers are willing to pay more for the same product to get better quality. If your product has an edge over competitor products (be it quality, quantity, convenience, accessibility or any other) customers will go for your product over others.
The perfect example in this case in Dominos Pizza. You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free. So if someone’s thinking of ordering takeout pizza, they’ll think of Dominos first because it’s fresh out of the oven and it’s delivered fast, something that no other brand is promising.
A unique selling point is a company’s competitive advantage over others. Every business’s goal should be to be in the winning zone (in the picture above) because that is when customers choose your product over others.
- Fit into your customer’s routine
If you want customers to switch from competitor products to yours, you’ll have to fit into their routine. This means that if they have to make too much off an effort in transitioning to your product, they probably won’t make the change.
Let’s take the example of OnePlus. It launched its first smartphone in 2014. Since it unveiled high-end phones, the company needed to provide customers with an incentive to switch from Apple, Samsung or Huawei. And they did exactly that. How did they penetrate the aggressively competitive smartphone industry? OnePlus provides almost all features available in a high-end phone, but with a $300 cheaper price tag! Once customers realised the fact that they were getting more and paying less, OnePlus’s sales boomed.
The graph above shows the market share of smartphone companies in India as of January 2019. As you can see, OnePlus is slowly dominating the Indian smartphone market despite launching only 5 years ago. This sets an example for companies on how to penetrate the market effectively and gain a substantial amount of market share.
- Create ease of use
Your product may be great, but if it’s too complicated to assemble or use, your customers are likely to either return it or not purchase it again.
Think of a baby’s crib. A single parent purchases it because it looks good quality-wise and it’s in his/her price range. However, the said person has difficulty assembling it, especially without any help – and calling the departmental store to send someone to set it up is too expensive. What’s the person’s only choice? Return the crib and replace it with one that’s easier to assemble.
User guides or instruction manuals are often too complicated to understand.
The picture below is an example of a common instruction guide for assembling cribs, but can you really understand it? The actual process is much more detailed and complicated than what is shown in these 4 pictures.
Similarly, if you buy any type of product for your home and it is too complicated to use, your only choice will be to return it.
That is why, as a business, you need to factor in the ease of use when designing and selling a product. If a product is complicated by nature, provide convenience to your customers e.g. the salesperson who sells it can demonstrate the customer on how to use the product or the business can send workers to customer homes for product installation at a minimal fee (usually for products such as air conditioners). Another great way to not only help out your customers but also interact with them is to upload a demonstration video on social media. A video provides much better instructions and is engaging for potential customers. Interact with customers in the comments section and ask them if they’ve been successful in assembling their products and offer help to those who are struggling.
- Sell benefits instead of features
This is perhaps one of the most important aspects of how to sell a product. If you sell features, you’re likely to be boring most of your customers. Customers are more interested in what benefit they can gain out of your product rather than knowing the general features and having to figure out the benefits themselves. Here’s a number of ways in which this can be done.
- Know the difference between a benefit and a feature
✘ This phone has a corning Gorilla Glass 6
✔ The glass on this phone will prevent scratches and protect it from breaking.
The first is the feature, and the second is a benefit. Your customers are more likely to buy the phone if you market the benefit. Why? Because most of them are not familiar with what a Gorilla Glass is. Instead, they will be willing to pay a good price for the phone as long as they are assured that it is protected from damage.
2. Use clear but simple language
✘ The roof of this car provides protection in the event of a rollover accident.
✔ If this car rolls, there’s a good chance you’ll walk away unharmed
If you evoke emotion, customers are more likely to remember the benefit longer. Anyone buying a car wants themselves and their family to remain safe in the case of an accident. Thus, they’ll be more motivated to buy your product.
3. DON’T use jargon
✘ This phone has a dynamic AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with 16M colours
✔ The pixels and crystal clear colours on this screen will make watching videos more enjoyable
By using jargon, you’ll only be uttering words that your customer cannot understand. Instead of impressing them, it’s likely to be a huge turn-off. Thus, use language that your customers are familiar with.
4. Keep it short
✘ Here’s a list of 10 reasons why you should buy our product
✔ The 2 best things about our product are…
No one likes a promotion to be dragged out – whether its a written one, a call, or face to face. The shorter you keep it, the more interested your customers will be. It’ll also be easier for them to remember the benefits of the product.
5. Be specific
✘ This car has a higher fuel efficiency as compared to its competitors
✔ This car is 30% more fuel-efficient as compared to other cars
Customers are likely to remember facts and figures because they’ll use it to weigh the advantages of buying your product over competitor products.
- Let your customers try it out
If a product doesn’t have a sample or trial period, it can be a real pain for customers – especially if it’s expensive.
Since there is so much competition in most industries, most brands offer free samples for just about everything. Businesses in the cosmetic industry offer free samples of lipsticks, foundations and other similar products. This way, customers can experiment and try out different shades and then buy the one that suits their skin types.
As a company, you need to make this extra effort for your customers. If you offer no samples, they might just ignore your product altogether. On the other hand, if they like your sample, they’ll come back to buy the product.
If your product is too expensive for you to give out free samples, go for smaller packaging or offer discounts. Creating convenience and incentives for customers ensures loyalty in the long run.
The 3 secrets to successfully selling your product
Secret #1: Create an online presence
Everyone is on the internet now. From 10-year-old children to our grandparents, almost everybody in this decade is active on social media and online platforms. As a business, you need to take advantage of that.
Opening a physical store in a good location is way too expensive for most small businesses and freelancers. Luckily, the internet is a hub that connects businesses to businesses, businesses to consumers and consumers to consumers. Here are a few ways your business can create an online presence to boost sales:
2. Create an official website
Make sure your website has the following:
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – You can create a blog so that your website ranks higher in search results
- Loads quickly – 40% of people will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load so make sure your images are optimised
- Appears good
- Has a high conversion rate – if you have high web traffic but fewer sales, you have a low conversation rate
- Registered – a registered website is secure so customers are more willing to make a purchase as they don’t have the fear of being scammed
The best thing to do is to hire a web designer or a whole team (if you can afford it). This investment will ensure a professional online presence and will prove to be much less costly as compared to an actual store.
3. Target the right social media channels
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be on every social media channel. Research your target audience and find out which channels they are most active on. Then, create accounts on these channels and focus your time and energy here. You’ll be able to generate better content by having fewer platforms to manage.
Secret #2: Know your audience inside out
The better you know your audience, the better you can cater to their needs. Create polls, surveys, questionnaires and collect feedback to understand customer experiences and improve your products. Furthermore, you can use analytical tools to understand customer habits, likes and dislikes so that you can market products to them accordingly.
If you don’t know your audience, your strategy will undoubtedly fail. Suppose your product is aimed towards retired persons and you’re marketing it on social media only, how many people do you expect to reach? According to statistics, only 27%. That is why knowing your audience is a crucial part of implementing your marketing strategy.
Secret #3: Offer great customer service
No matter what type of business you conduct, customer services will earn you goodwill and a strong brand reputation in the long run. That’s because consumers have a lot of power over brands and one bad review reaches twice as many people than a good review. Bad customer experiences are inevitable because of human error; however, customer service can be a lifesaver in these situations. Set up a complaint helpline for your business and train employees to handle customers professionally by offering store credit, returns or exchanges for defected products and bad experiences. It’s the smallest things that can make the biggest difference.
Source: Email Vendor
Being better at something than your competition is no longer an easy task, but it’s doable.
Follow these guidelines and focus on the long run instead of short term sales. Run your business professionally, ethically and keeping your customers in mind; this will ensure a significant market share for your company.