7 Strategies For Successfully Selling Online And On The Beach

Dominican sales peopleOn a recent trip to the Dominican Republic it became apparent to me that effective sales techniques online are very similar to the ones that work on the beach! The people of Puerto Plata are very savvy sales people and it was interesting to see these sales techniques in action. Listed below are my observations of the sales strategies used on the beach with comparisons to the ones we use in the world of online business and the subsequent lessons learned.

Sales Technique #1: Make A Connection

The first thing the Dominican sales people do when you arrive at the beach is make a connection. This starts with a friendly greeting and inquiry as to where you are traveling from. Introductions are made and the sales person lets you know why knowing them is good for you; whether they offer excursions, experiences or souvenirs. They find out enough about you to make you memorable to them and show that you are important.

Lesson: The lesson for online businesses is to get to know your potential customers. Find out what is important to them by simply asking. This could be by way of a survey to your list, for example. At an in person networking event be sure to ask questions and address people by name. It will help you to remember their name and make the person feel like a VIP. Always be sure to collect names (not just email addresses) when someone signs up for your list so that you can personalize your communication to them. These details make your readers feel heard and important.

Sales Technique #2: Build A Relationship

The next thing I experienced in the Dominican was relationship building. The friendly sales people on the beach take the time to greet you and engage in conversation. They will remind you who they are and how they can fill a need.

Lesson: Online businesses need to build relationships with their contacts. We need to ensure we communicate regularly with our list and remind them why knowing us is good for them. Speak about your products and services and how they can fill a need or solve a problem.

Sales Technique #3: Build Rapport

Through conversation, the Dominican sales people get to know that you have family at home that you would like to bring souvenirs home to and we get to know about their families. We begin to build rapport by understanding each other’s feelings and communication continues.

Lesson: We are all people after all and it’s fun to get to know one another. It is part of the relationship building process and the more comfortable people feel with one another the more likely a good sales experience will take place. We are all different, but in many ways we are alike. That’s where rapport is established.

Sales Technique #4: The Rule Of Reciprocity

This principle says that we give back what we receive from others. We feel an obligation. For example if our sales person on the beach in Puerto Plata presents us with a bonus item for making a purchase, we feel an obligation to return the kindness. We are likely to purchase from them again.

Lesson: In the online world we often offer up a ‘free gift’ in exchange for a name and email address or a ‘bonus’ product along with a paid product. These free gifts and bonuses are items of value and they encourage sales and are generally the beginning of a new business relationship with the potential for repeat business.

Sales Technique #5: Build Trust

My savvy sales person on the beach in Puerto Plata solved a problem for me. I needed just the right hat for the beach and he helped me find it. So who did I seek out when I needed souvenirs? That’s right. The same gentleman that made it his job to help me solve a problem the first time around had built my trust and I wanted to give him my business again.

Lesson: We have all heard about the KLT Factor (Know, Like and Trust). The more people trust you, the more they’ll buy from you. So continue to build those relationships, provide products and services that achieve desired results. You’ll gain trust which is very powerful and translates into ongoing business and repeat sales.

Sales Technique #6: Engage Regularly

The Dominican sales people walk the beach regularly showing you their wares. I didn’t know about their little shops at the far end of a long stretch of beach until I asked. I was told that very few people end up at their little shops and even fewer venture into them. They make their presence known and they come to you – they don’t wait for you to go to them. Their livelihood depends on it.

Lesson: We’ve all heard about someone who attempted to start a business by simply building a website. The motto "If you build it, they will come" can prove to be disastrous in an online business. If you have great products and services to sell you need to let people know about them. Start finding the people that are interested in your offerings, collecting names and email addresses and build relationships and show up in their inboxes regularly with your offerings.

Sales Technique #7: Collect Testimonials

I was very pleased with my experience with 2 of the people who I made transactions with on the beach. The gentleman who arranged our tour of the city and the other who helped me with my sun hat and souvenirs. They continued to engage with my husband and I and they asked us about our experience doing business with them and if we would share with others. We gladly spread the word to our fellow travelers so they too could enjoy a similar experience.

Lesson: Do you ask your satisfied customers and clients for testimonials? Recommendations carry a lot of weight with people. Make sure you ask your happy clients for a formal testimonial (there are several templates you can use to make it easy for them) and to tell their friends and colleagues about the good work you do. It will help to keep a steady flow of prospects coming your way.

In summary, it’s important to know your customers well and understand their real needs. One of the most obvious reasons people spend money is to solve a problem. Show them how your product or service solves their problems and take time to build trust. The more people trust you, the more they’ll buy from you. You can’t go wrong with building relationships online and on the beach.

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