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To make a sale is to sell something. That’s pretty simple, but the best way for you to make a sale online is far more complex. That can change based on your products, your niche or your business.

If you’re selling products from an ecommerce store you may think that you can skip the person-to-person interaction that many people expect when they hear the phrase “make a sale.” But in ecommerce, it is even more essential to create many different ways for your customers to engage. 

15 Strategies to Help You Make the Sale

1. Great selling is mostly listening
2. Show that you’re into what they’re into
3. Get your selling process in order
4. Create a clear plan
5. Have your follow-up materials ready
6. Test twice, launch once
7. Focus on the long game
8. Find the right person for your offer
9. Making a sale online isn’t just about marketing
10. Understand what problems your product solves
11. Limit their options
12. How data can help you make the sale
13. Talk to your team
14. Don’t devote all your energy to the top or the bottom of the funnel
15. Closing the sale

Your customer may not want to have a phone conversation, but they still might be hoping to hear from you or your business. They want to hear your answers to their questions and how your products can solve their problems. 

Many articles with tips on how to make a sale are full of helpful techniques. But if you haven’t built a solid foundation for your sales skills you could easily get lackluster results. This could lead you to reject a strategy that may be valuable for your business if it’s done in the right way. 

So let’s take a look at 15 tried and tested strategies that can help you make a sale today.

1. Great selling is mostly listening

A man listens on a phone call to make the sale for his online store

Even if you think you already know your customers’ primary pain points and how to solve them with your products, it’s essential to listen first

It can become a habit to make educated guesses in repetitive conversations. But if you don’t give all your energy to listening to a customer’s concerns and needs, you could be missing vital information. These details can be the key to improve your business and help you make a sale.

2. Show that you’re into what they’re into

Fans love other fans! If your business revolves around something you love, show your audience why and how you love it. Create detailed blog posts and social media stories that talk about how you became interested in your niche. Show how your product evolved or how you continue to engage with the community. Don’t just nerd out on your products, share other brands in your niche that you love!

A group of super fans watches a game, and being a super fan is one way to make a sale in ecommerce

As you start to engage, keep in mind that internet culture is always on the lookout for anyone who is faking their interest for personal benefit. 

Being honest is important here. Admitting what you don’t know and sharing what you do lets your community know that you’re a fellow fan and a member of the community that they can trust.

3. Get your selling process in order

Have you ever had a hard time finishing a workout? The sequence of exercises and how you warm up your muscles can affect how you perform and how you feel after your workout.

Working out in the wrong order can hurt, and so can selling the wrong way, so get your sale process in order with a Selz ecommerce coach

Making the sale is the same way. It’s important to think about where your buyers’ heads are during different steps in your sales process. You want to share the right information with them at the right time. When you’re making local sales or talking one-on-one, you can succeed with your gut instinct, but it can be more challenging to repeat the process at scale.

4. Create a clear plan

It will often take more than one conversation to make the sale, so schedule consistent follow-ups. Setting a specific date, time and outcome for your next meeting can help your customer understand that they are important to you. It will also make it more likely that they will make a purchase. You can also answer questions and connect with customers with live sessions, webinars or videos as well as email or text communications.

5. Have your follow-up materials ready

Expensive or complex items can take some time to close. To connect to your customers as they make a decision, create a detailed landing page or design an email that covers your products in detail. That way, if a customer wants to know more, you’ll be ready to quickly respond to the request.

An ecommerce coach can help with these details. This resource for your questions and concerns can speed up the learning process. It can also help you make the sale faster and more effectively, accelerating your business growth. 

Read more: Why an Ecommerce Coach is the Secret to Small Business Success

Ecommerce coaching with Selz is a chance to work with an expert ecommerce coach

6. Test twice, launch once

Sales are a process and it’s important to carefully consider how the decisions you make at each step will affect your customers. Have you ever heard the phrase measure twice, cut once? It’s about preparation.  

Any time you launch a new product or redesign a section of your website, you’ll want to test how it works. Test one small section at a time so that you can pinpoint how each change is affecting the experience. If you make a lot of changes quickly it will be difficult to know what parts of the process your customers are responding to.

7. Focus on the long game

Making your sales goals or the act of closing a deal can become so important that you forget your real intention. A great sale isn’t a single transaction, it’s a relationship that brings customers back over and over again. 

8. Find the right person for your offer

No matter how a lead comes to you, you should do as much research as you can before reaching out. Even a contact email address can provide helpful insights that can create a more meaningful conversation. If you aren’t sure who you should target, take a look at your top customers. There may be similarities in age, location or product preference that can give you an idea of who you want to zero in on with your effort.

Marketing is one way to make a sale, but not the only way - talk to Selz experts about other options that could work for you

9. Making a sale online isn’t just about marketing

Having a great blog or pay-per-click advertising alone won’t ensure sales for your business. That said, an effective inbound marketing plan can help you create a powerful foundation for sales. 

Check out these resources for the best marketing strategies for your small business:

How to Market a Product Online in 7 Powerful Steps
How to Promote a Product in 10 Different Ways
Small Business Advertising Services: How We Tell Your Story
Ecommerce SEO

Of the marketing channels you can use to increase traffic to your site and awareness of your brand, SEO has proven to be the most successful. But most small businesses don’t even have an SEO strategy, let alone an understanding of how SEO works. 

Scheduling a free audit is a great idea if this is a channel you’re interested in, but you’re not sure where to begin. 

10. Understand what problems your product solves

Successful products solve a problem, and that’s why you created your product. So, you may think that you’ve already taken care of this benchmark. But it’s also essential to know when the problems your product solves are urgent. 

A man solves a problem for his customer online, a great way to get return customers to make the sale

When the problem is quick and sharp, you want your marketing and outreach to connect with a lot of people and make it easy to make a sale.

The challenge most businesses find themselves in is that many problems are low and slow. Like a migraine headache, they give off warning signals for a long time before the problem becomes urgent. Because of this slow build, your customers might believe that the problem isn’t a big deal. They think they can put off solving it.

To address this you want to create a longer sales funnel that includes listening, informational content and building trust. That way, when your customers’ problem becomes urgent, you will be the first person they call.

11. Limit their options

Studies say that offering any person more than 8-12 options to choose from is overwhelming. When you think about most online stores, just consider the hundreds of options.  Some sites have up to 40 variants for a single product! 

After all, finding a personalized and specific solution is one of the most attractive parts of shopping online. But it’s also important to find ways to limit these options for your customers. This way they can comfortably make a decision and get to the stage where they will finish their purchase. 

12. How data can help you make the sale

There are a lot of outcomes in the sales process that you can’t control. Monitoring your website analytics regularly will give you a clear picture of your typical performance. It can also help you see how outside influences can affect that process. If you’re already aware of what you want to work on, use your analytics to track improvement in those areas.

Analytics can help you understand your customer pain points and sell online more effectively

Read more: Where Customers Come From: Understanding Website Analytics

13. Talk to your team

Sometimes a chat or phone conversation with a customer crystallizes a hunch or inspires a new direction for your small business. The trouble with this is that usually, only one person gets to hear it. A team of five or less can feel small, but when you add the hundreds of interactions with customers, partners and other contacts each day, it’s easy for valuable information to slip away. 

So, schedule regular meetings to trade insights with your team. You can also learn a lot by listening to the way other people on your team or in your network are selling similar products.

A man talks on the phone with a prospective customer during a crucial sale

If you’re working on your own or with a new team, an ecommerce coach is a wonderful person to do this exercise with. After all, if you’re just starting to grow your business you may not feel comfortable telling your new employees your fears and concerns. That makes sense because you want them to feel confident in their job, in your business and its success.  

An ecommerce coach can be an impartial confidant. It’s someone who is there to support you and your business without the personal stake in your success that can sometimes cloud judgment and communication.

14. Don’t devote all your energy to the top or the bottom of the funnel

Most people pay attention to the top and the bottom because they’re where the exciting stuff happens. The top of the funnel has all the big numbers– traffic, likes, impressions. At the bottom of the funnel, sales numbers represent your ultimate goal. In comparison, the middle can feel like a fuzzy complicated mess that just happens.

But the middle is also where some of the most useful and interesting conversations happen. The middle of the funnel is where your customer has decided to make a purchase but hasn’t decided who they’re buying from. They’re making comparisons and looking at the details you’ve worked so hard on.

This part of the funnel is where your buyer research is most useful. It’s also the moment when your customer is deciding whether their positive first impression of your business is the real thing.

Making the sale means clear and consistent communication, like email follow ups

At this stage, there are three important things to do. First, if you feel like the tiny details on your ecommerce site could use some work, spend some time on your website. 

Next, take a look at your customer reviews. If your product is brand new and you don’t have too many, reach out to friends and family, old co-workers, influencers or school friends. Then offer a sample or discount in exchange for their honest review.

If you’re already seeing organic reviews rolling in, take a look at your communication plan. Then, create a system that continues to encourage and grow your positive reviews. Keep in mind that you don’t want your reviews to be perfect.  There are so many people making purchases online today that perfect reviews are more often a warning signal for a fake site than an enticement for new buyers.

Finally, to support the middle of your sales funnel, approach every conversation like you have all the time in the world.

Of course, you’re busy! And there are other things on your calendar that you need to do, but there is nothing more encouraging for most customers than an avid listener.  When a customer feels like they are the most important thing in your world at that moment they’ll not only share valuable insights, they’ll remember you and your conversation. Then they’ll tell their friends about you! There is no more valuable sales strategy than word of mouth for a solid long-lasting business. 

A woman tests how her buying process works in her online store to make the sale

15. Closing the sale

Limiting your options can have another benefit that helps you make the sale. It creates urgency.  

Many people will wait to purchase until it feels urgent. They slowly collect information until they have a compelling reason to commit.

Limited availability and pricing changes are two great ways you can create urgency to make the sale. Other options include:

It can sometimes feel like you don’t need to make the sale personally because you have marketing, your website and other tools for selling. But knowing how to make a sale is essential to any small business that wants to succeed long-term. 

More online shoppers want to buy from people they trust. The big brands that paid attention to ecommerce needs made big gains in 2020 because they had already built trust with their customers. Any small business can succeed in the same way, with the right selling mindset.

About the author

Jana Rumberger

Jana is a writer and Content Manager at Selz. She has expertise in ecommerce strategy, selling products online, and small business solutions. Jana combines diverse experience in education, design, and manufacturing to craft engaging content.

In addition to her writing, she is a visual artist and foodie in Portland, Oregon.