You’re Good. But Are You Too Good to Be True?
When you read a well crafted, long, sales letter on the web telling you how “I made $341,000 and so can you…”; how do you feel? This guy promises to reveal his secret. He also promises that you can do it too. He even promises to guide you step-by-baby-step. This is your wish come true. This is what you have been looking for through all your surfing online. You are desperately trying to believe that the promises are true. You want to believe so badly, your finger trembles as your mouse hovers over that “Buy Now” button. Why do you hesitate? What is holding you back? Go for it!
What is wrong? What is missing? The three key components of the advertising maxim Attraction, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA) are all there. There was attraction, interest and desire but no action was taken. And that missing piece means a failure to convert traffic into sales.
Somehow, the link between the product pitch and the buyer action is missing. In the off-line world, other than broadcast media and printed collaterals, we can depend on sales people to make a difference. Telemarketers, sales consultants and relationship managers can easily add a personal touch to push the sales through. They can use convincing words, encouraging smiles and a warm handshake. In the online world, the keyboard and mouse is the only means of interaction between you and your buyer. Words are all we have to complete the sale when the traffic is flooding through our gates. Why is it a major constraint?
1) YOUR PROSPECT CAN’T DISCUSS or NEGOTIATE WITH YOU and
2) THEY CAN LEAVE WHENEVER THEY WANT.
Online, your sales letter is all you have to convince visitors to take action to become buyers. So why do some sales letter fail to move us to take that final step of making a purchase? They are convincing, compelling and persuasive, often with evidence of earnings (eg, ClickBank’s cheque, PayPal’s Statement) and testimonials from successful buyers.
Let us stop to think about this for a moment. Testimonials from lots of successful buyers might seem convincing at first glance, but then, who are they to you? Do you really know them? Can you really trust that these testimonials are as truthful as you would like them to be? Are the ClickBank cheques real? We questioned their credibility and integrity. We doubt the authenticity of the testimonials. Remember when you were young, mummy said “Don’t talk to strangers…”? This habit of mistrust continues to live in us even though we are no longer tied to mummy’s apron-string. There is no relationship between us and the seller. Buying from a stranger is psychologically uncomfortable and frightening, and that convinces our logical mind that it is commercially unsound and financially hazardous. The missing link here is a relationship build on trust, credibility and good faith.
How can you build trust, credibility and good faith online? We need to go back to basics. At the heart of it all, we need to remember that even though we are selling online, ultimately, we are still dealing with real people. It is a person sitting on the other side of the wire reading your sales letter. And it starts right there. Between you and him. Man to Man. Woman to Woman.
Surprisingly, one of the most important and yet most often left out, pieces of information people look for in a sales letter is this – WHO sent me this letter? You will never trust a faceless corporation. You want to know that there is a door you can knock on when your washing machine fails. You want to know there is a number you can call and speak with someone when your travel tickets fail to arrive. People look for other people. Therefore, it is always important to first introduce yourself. Before you can be “Mister Guru”, you first have to earn the respect to be called “mister”.
We are people guided more by emotions than logic, likes and dislikes, prejudices, and lots of other stuff. When we look at a guru or a leader, another human, we have questions in our minds and are filled with doubts and skeptism, “What is he like?”; “What does he want from me?”, “Is he pulling wool over my eyes”, “Is he for real?”
Before you even try to sell your product, you have to sell yourself. If I do not know you, if I do not like you, do not doubt that I will never buy anything from you. Because, if I neither know you nor like you, it is very unlikely that I am going to TRUST you. You will be surprised that building trust could be as simple as revealing who you are. By showing yourself as a real person could be all it takes. Then, you can start to talk about your “guru” status, or accomplishments; then you can start to sell. A successful sales person can turn a stranger into a friend within one conversation. So can you. If you need some tips how to do so, go read some of Brian Tracy’s books for starters.
If building trust is a starter, the content is then the entrée. How do you cook up a sumptuous entrée and have people begging for more? You can find more tips in Brett McFall’s “How to get more prospects to trust what you say”. These insightful tips were shared during the World Internet Summit Singapore in November 2006:
1. Use your photo in your sales letter and add a caption
2. List your experience and qualifications
3. Case studies about you or your company
4. Reveal full details about your company
5. Honest copy revealing true intentions
6. Educational/problem solving copy
7. Use specific numbers in your facts and figures
8. Prove your claims
9. Plenty of helpful photographs to aid understanding of your products and services
10. Virtual tour of your product and service
11. Hands-on demo
12. Free sample
13. Include a list of customers
14. Testimonials to explain your credibility
15. Media Coverage
16. Press coverage of you and your company
17. Strong guarantee
Even if you do not spot a handsome face; it is still a wiser choice to include your photo. Have you not scrolled the pages looking for the product owner’s picture, trying to figure if he is for real? I do that all the time. Genuine buyers like to know who they are buying from. They want a connection, if not an interaction. You will have to study your market and audience if a “casual” you would be better off compared to a “tie-and-suit” you. A photograph will shorten, if not bridge, the gap between you and your buyers.
Another important element in building trust is proving the claims. This is very important and most difficult especially if you are a newbie selling a product for the first time. You can successfully eradicate concerns, doubts and skeptism if you can list the credentials of the professionals and laboratories who verified your products, publish relevant reports, letters and statements, and provide a link to trackback. You can also provide your product to other marketers who are committed to be successful online. Let them test drive your product and their success stories would be your case studies and testimonials. Very often, prospective buyers will read the testimonials of John Smith or Mary Jones very carefully. Curiosity, skeptism and a genuine intention to buy would prompt them to run a google search. They correctly assume that there must be some kind of online presence if the testimonial givers are indeed genuine successes. Buyers will immediately conclude that it is bogus or a hoax when is the search yields no results. But why let the buyers run a check? By providing them a link to the testimonial giver’s website, you are telling them you stand fully behind your product and your words. Very few internet marketers do this. It will be great if your protégé put up a video clip. You can then include that same clip as part of your testimonial. Tell your testimonial givers that it is a win-win scenario. Curious people who call upon them to check on you might decide to buy from them after all. Being a serious internet marketer, I’m sure these testimonial givers are already in your affiliate programs.
With hoaxes and scams lurking around, it’s no wonder that people are more and more cautious. We have to face up to the fact that no matter how sincere we are, there will always be people questioning our integrity. You cannot please everybody. You just have to put up with undeserved rotten eggs thrown at your path. Look at the recent “Feed the Children” Challenge that internet guru Stephen Pierce accepted during the World Internet Mega Summit Singapore 2007 held from 26-29 May 2007. Some netizens said it was a scam, while some accused him of using that as a bait to sell more of his book “The Influence of Third Power”. Yet, we, the participants at the auditorium witnessed the presentation of USD100,000 to a local TV celebrity. Did the hoo-ha die down because of that? Somewhat, but never quite completely.
Let your product deliver the results. Results don’t lie, numbers reveal the facts. When you have established your credibility in this small world, start to develop more relationships with your affiliates and end-customers, gain increased recognition because your product actually delivers results; you and your product will not be too good to be true.