E-commerce opened the door to a whole new way of selling. Rather than an established brick-and-mortar store, a seller could set up an online shop and attract people through Google. A lot about retail has changed as a result. Yet the key to selling has not. It has remained unchanged in the internet era.
If you are a successful retailer, you know what the key to selling is. You probably don’t need to read this post. Read it anyway though because it will encourage you. As for those retailers who are not succeeding, it may just be ignorance. Not knowing the key to selling generally prevents one from succeeding in retail.
1. Know Your Customer
You have just started reading and you are already chomping at the bit. You want to know the key to successful selling. Well, here it is – know your customer. That’s it.
Sincere apologies if you were expecting something more profound or intellectual. But maybe that’s why you’re not selling much. You are overthinking things. You are trying to apply $100 solutions to a $10 problem. If so, you’re not alone. A lot of modern businesses suffer from overthinking.
At its core, selling is about providing a product or service someone else wants or needs. A travel agent sells trips to people who want to travel. A jewelry store owner sells jewelry to people who want it. No matter what you sell, trying to sell it to people who do not want it is a waste of time.
If you don’t know who your customers are, how do you know that you’re targeting the right people? You don’t. Your entire business is an exercise in begging people to buy from you. That is a recipe for disaster.
2. Creating a Customer Profile
Modern marketers are very fond of something known as the ‘customer profile’. Also known as a ‘consumer profile’ or ‘customer persona’, a consumer profile is a document that outlines a company’s perfect customer. It includes demographic information like age, sex, ethnic background, income level, education level, and so forth.
Creating a customer profile can help improve sales dramatically. But understand that knowing your customers doesn’t have to be so formal. You don’t need an official document put together by a professional marketer who loves to use industry jargon you don’t understand.
You can accomplish the same thing by sitting at your desk and spending some time thinking about the types of people who would be interested in your product or service. Put yourself in their shoes. Get inside their heads and consider what they think, how they feel, and so forth. Understand where they are coming from, and you are half-way home.
3. Taking Your Business to Them
The other half of the equation is taking your business directly to your customers. If you are waiting for them to come to you, plan on waiting a long time. You have to get out there and find your customers where they are. Once you find them, you have to offer them your products and services.
Have you ever heard of Poshmark? According to Redwood, California-based PoshyVA, Poshmark is a revolutionary platform for combining social media with e-commerce. People looking to buy and sell clothing, shoes, and accessories gather on the platform the same way they would on Facebook.
Poshmark works because sellers and their virtual assistants can target a specific audience. They can take products directly to those consumers most likely to buy them. In essence, they know their customers. They know where to find them and how to reach them. That is the key to selling in the internet era.