Direct selling has been an important sales strategy for decades, and it is still highly effective to this day. Many ecommerce companies can actually learn a lot from direct selling tactics, which have been tried and tested over many years — particularly at the enterprise level where the smallest improvement can make a big difference.
Here is what you need to know about successful direct selling, and how you can adapt some of the most important tactics to use for your ecommerce brand.
What Is Direct Selling?
Direct selling is where people sell things (usually products, but also services) directly to the consumer. This is usually done by a sales representative working for a direct selling company rather than via a retailer or wholesaler.
This is a classic sales model that has been around for decades. Despite being around for so long, it is still big business even today. In fact, it was worth $134.2 billion in 2016, with the United States being the largest market.
Even in this day and age of growing ecommerce sales, direct selling is still proving effective. So what can you learn from direct selling to increase your own sales?
How You Can Use Direct Selling Strategies to Boost Your Ecommerce Sales
With a sales model that’s been around for so long, and is so different from ecommerce, what can you possibly learn from it? Quite a lot, actually.
Many salespeople have perfected their sales techniques over the years, relying on decades of time-tested principles. Many of these can certainly be transferred to ecommerce effectively. Let’s look at some.
Focus on the Benefits
Anyone selling door-to-door will know that in order to make sales, they need to focus first and foremost on the benefits. They have to quickly demonstrate how a product will improve the buyer’s life. Will it make them happier, healthier, wealthier? If so, how?
You may already be using this strategy in your own company. Rather than just listing the features of your products, make it clear how those features will improve the lives of your customers. Come up with benefits for each of them and focus on them in your copy. People are far more likely to buy something when they know how it will make life better for them in some way.
Clarify How Your Products Are Different
A direct seller is often selling the exact same products as other sellers, especially when they are selling for the same company. This presents a challenge. Why should a customer choose them instead of buying from someone else?
As a result, they need to make their service stand out, and they do this by providing special offers, discounts, and loyalty programs, as well as simply being friendly and likable. You may be selling products that are exactly the same or very similar to those of your competitors. If so, what makes your service different and better? Why should they choose you?
Come up with a USP, a Unique Selling Proposition, and focus your efforts around this. To get an idea of what themes are popular in the ecommerce world at the moment, look at available ecommerce businesses for sale — you want to steer clear of anything overplayed. Know what makes you different, and then make sure your customers know it too.
Be More Visible
Good direct sellers know that “no” sometimes means “not now.” As a result, they will make an effort to stay on the radars of potential customers. They might send newsletters or make follow-up calls — and you can do the same.
In fact, this is easier online. By collecting the email addresses of your visitors, you can send them regular newsletters in addition to being active on social media. All of this helps you to stay visible so that when people are ready to buy, they know where to go.
Go High, then Low
There is a technique that direct sellers use where they make a big pitch for something really expensive. The customer inevitable says no, and then the salesperson comes back with a much smaller price — which suddenly seems far more reasonable.
You can use this same principle in your own store. You can set the price of a product very high, then when visitors to your store are about to leave, you can provide them with a discount using an exit pop-up.
Provide Amazing Support
A good direct seller knows they cannot just make a sale and disappear. They need to provide excellent support as well. That means providing follow-up support if the customer has questions or if something does not work.
Sellers don’t always need to do this themselves, and the companies they work for will often have dedicated support departments, but it’s crucial to be able to provide support if needed. Do the same with your store so that people know they can get help when they need it.
Give Them Something Free
Reciprocity is a classic sales tactic. The idea is that when you do something for your customer, they will be more inclined to do something for you in return.
This is why direct sellers often give things away for free. Sometimes they only give away very small things like a free badge or a free drink. But the fact that they are giving something away at the start increases the chance that the customer will return the favor by buying something.
Think of something you can give away for free on your own website. It could be a free ebook or guide, or it could be a welcome special offer. By giving something away as soon as someone arrives, you might make them more likely to buy something during their visit.
Boost Your Ecommerce Sales
These are some of the most effective techniques that you can learn from direct sellers for your ecommerce company. Direct selling has been around for many years, and ecommerce is still relatively new in comparison, so it makes sense to borrow techniques from the experts — even where the two sales models are so different.
So think about what you could learn from direct sellers. Look at the tips and tactics above, and consider which ones would be most effective in your online store. Experiment with them, test your results, and you may well be able to boost your sales using these time-tested strategies.
Victoria Greene is an ecommerce marketing expert and freelance writer who’s extremely passionate about the possibilities of online retail. You can read more of her work at her blog Victoria Ecommerce.
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