If you tell your sales force and persuasive writers that the most effective sales strategies use an outline created in the 1930’s, they might just shrug off the idea. Monroe’s Motivated Sequence has been the behind some of the most persuasive sales writing in human history. In 2010 I developed my own sales sequence that was responsible for outrageous results (that story in a moment), years before I had learned of the 1930’s strategy. If you’ve read the sales copy on daily deals sites, you’ll see a mix of effective copy with ineffective copy. I’m going to layout each section of my sales formula so that you can use it in your next daily deal promotion (or any online sales). First, it’s important to understand the development of the formula and why using it with online video will skyrocket your internet sales.
The sales formula I developed is largely geared towards online videos, but it’s also effective in written copy. Little did I know when I came up with the formula in 09’ how eerily close to the Motivated Sequence developed by Monroe at Purdue University in the 1930’s. It’s quite possible that the timeless AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action) was derived in part from Monroe’s sequence (which I learned several years ago). I based my original idea for the formula off of traditional long form direct sales letters (I remember getting stacks of them in the mail at one point). Over several years I used trial and error to develop my sales process, but it was rare to achieve a sales conversion of over 2% on the sale of a $97 ebook. It wasn’t until I had an epiphany, while watching an internet sales video in 2009, that I hit the virtual jackpot.
Direct sales copy and sales material can be written by the world’s greatest copy writers, and still be largely ineffective. In fact, put the world’s top 10 copy writers in a room and force them to develop a single written piece of sales material and it will still lack in potential. Put a sales professional on the phone with that sales message and ROI skyrockets. Why is that? What is the difference between written sales material and a phone sales process? That was the question I asked myself. Throw out the obvious answers such as interaction, responsiveness, connection, tailored message, and so on. Those components are largely impractical in an online sales environment. What’s left, hit me like a ton of bricks because I believe it contained the secret to the future of hyper-effective online sales messages.
The difference between written sales material and a sales message delivered by a sales professional, is the option to digest any portion of the sales material at will.
That simple fact is the reason webinar presentations are an effective way to sell high ticket products typically reserved for traditional phone sales. It’s also the reason most online sales messages perform horribly with even the best inbound marketing efforts. Many a great idea are lost to impatience or lack of time. Think about the last time you were exposed to a product or service online. Chances are, you had the opportunity to look at pricing, benefits, features, and the “about us” page, in any order you desired. I’m willing to bet that if you’re honest with yourself, in past big ticket purchases, you wouldn’t have bought if the price was shown up front. In fact, you might not have purchased at all if you weren’t forced through a perfected sales process. When a prospect is exposed to a sales message in its most effective form, the chances of a sale are greatly increased.
Maximum effectiveness in a sales message is attained by taking a prospect through an optimized message and sequence, in order.
The video persuasion process that I developed was largely accidental. Trial and error. That shouldn’t stop you from realizing its potential and incorporating it into your efforts. It’s been used in hundreds of markets and by authors, publishers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. When Mike Geary, fitness trainer and best selling author, implemented the formula, he sent me this email:
“Hey Keith, We’ve talked before… I was one of your affiliates for your video training product,” , “I had to thank you because when we implemented the video sales letters last November, my business basically doubled to over $1MM (million) per month! So thanks again!”
The formula has been very effective. It varies slightly from the Motivated Sequence and when you’ve got just the right daily deal ready, you can use the formula to rocket your sales. I first learned of the original sequence in the book “Public Speaking: An Audience Centered Approach” (Beebe and Beebe 212). The book lays out sales persuasion in a concise five part sequence:
- Attention: the introduction and attention grabber
- Need: address the need of the listeners and induce cognitive dissonance (more on that shortly)
- Satisfaction: how your solution (product/service) will satisfy the above need
- Visualization: giving the audience a way to visualize life before and after solution, and the consequence of inaction (life without your product/service)
- Action: the conclusion and a direct call to action telling the listeners exactly how to take the next step
I’d suspect that if you’re reading this, you’ve been exposed to some sales training or persuasive speaking, so I won’t go into great detail on each section. I use language that is easy to understand and conceptualize so keep that in mind as you go through the sales formula. Here it is, step by step…
MILLION DOLLAR INTRO
It got its name from the first time I used this process to sell an internet marketing training and website builder platform package my company developed. I definitely wasn’t ready for a million in sales and damn near ruined my reputation because of it. A million in sales in 2 weeks is enough to strain even large companies, but a company run by a GED holding CEO with no business experience who grew up on a farm an hour from the nearest big city, fahgettaboudit. You’ve been warned.
The purpose is to capture attention and introduce yourself. Induce “Cognitive Dissonance” by making a bold promise of the epiphany that will result from watching the presentation. Introduce yourself (your company): this is a chance to build subtle credibility with images such as awards, titles, company building, team pictures in the company, etc.
ADDRESS THE PROBLEM
Tell a story that relates to the audience and explains how a problem needed addressed and you vowed to find the solution. When you did, you were compelled for some reason to build a business from it, which gets into the next part. The better, more sincere, surprising, interesting, scary, exciting, etc, that your story is, the higher the chance of relating on a deep human level. This process is similar to a sales agent attempting to relate to a prospect. “What do you do for a living?” That questions smells of sales, they’d be better off telling a story (assuming they’re talking to a targeted lead).
Important note: Your solution needs to address one or more of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Why offer the solution. Answering this question helps to eliminate possible objections down the line. People are naturally skeptical and giving an honest and believable reason that your company is offering what you’re offering will go a long way in tearing down the walls to yes. Increasing your revenue isn’t a good reason. Hopefully, that’s not why you’re in the business you’re in.
Unfortunately, people love to put things off. That makes the job of a marketer that much harder. If people can put it off, they will. That’s why you’ll need to ensure you create as much immediate demand for your solution as possible. Daily deals have built in demand by their very nature. Things like limited quantity, limited time, and limited discounts, are all great ways to create demand. Take advantage of timelines as well. There is a reason sales of talking toys spike during Christmas.
CREDENTIALS TO MAKE OFFER
It isn’t enough to simply have a great product that solves a problem. Because people are naturally skeptical, it’s wise to explain why you’re company is uniquely qualified to make the offer you’re making. A daily deal offering a discount at a bar is equivalent to a daily deal offering the same discount at another bar. Read that again. Find the unique credentials in your company. “Over 3 generations of Bob’s Bar have been perfecting the amazing service and drink menu you’ll only find here. With our triple A rating and 200X great bar award…” Fail to address your company’s credibility to offer your solution and you risk losing the sale to a subconscious objection and worse, your competitors.
INTRODUCE PRODUCT & BENEFITS
The benefits of your product/service are just as important, if not more important, than the features. Introduce the product with passion and genuine excitement. If you’re not excited about it, you can’t expect others to be. Share the specific features of your solutions with a benefit. I like to think of benefits as the selfish outcome of use. If it’s food, the feature might be the nice atmosphere and the benefit might be a memorable evening with a spouse. If it’s a haircut, the feature might be professional and consistent results and the benefit might be confidence in the office. Much like Monroe’s Motivated Sequence, the underlying purpose should get the prospect to visualize life with your solution (I reserve the opposing, life without your solution, for the eliminating objections part in my formula).
INJECT CONFIDENCE (SOCIAL & OTHER PROOF / CREDIBILITY)
This is almost self-explanatory but the main idea is social proof and credibility. How have other people benefited and can you prove it? What specific credibility does your business have that gives a potential buyer the confidence needed to pull out a credit card and trust you with their hard earned money? This is different than the credentials you have to prove you are qualified to offer the solution but often overlaps. Credibility might be an accreditation, a BBB rating, number of people served, and so on. The social proof aspect is proof that other people are buying and enjoying the benefits of your solution.
PRODUCT POSITIONING (WHAT MAKES THIS DIFFERENT)
How is your solution unique in the marketplace? What do you have that you’re offering or that customers get that they won’t get (can’t get), anywhere else? Don’t gloss over this because as already explained, you need to separate not just company from other companies, but also your solution from other solutions. This is a prime spot to further dive into descriptive words and explanations that get the prospect visualizing the benefits of your product/service.
There are probably a countless numbers of possible objections a prospect might have before making the plunge to purchase your offer. The more objections you eliminate prior to those objections taking place, the easier it is to make the sale. Brainstorm a list of all the objections your company gets on a regular basis from prospects and you’ve got a list you need to address in the sales presentation. While a few of the biggest objections should be addressed at this point in the message, you should attempt to subtly eliminate as many as possible throughout the presentation. This is also a great place to discuss life without your product benefits. Address the pain that the problem you solve addresses. Give a reminder of how much that pain hurts.
OVER THE TOP
The idea for this section came from watching way too many infomercials. The famous “but wait” portion of the infomercial that gives you a lifetime supply of mop heads is an effective way to push the prospect over-the-top. If you’ve done well throughout the rest of the presentation, your prospect might just be on the edge of their seat, ready to hit the buy button. They’re looking for a reason to take action. This is your chance to give them one. Make it good.
CALL TO CLOSE
Real simple. Ask for the sale and tell the prospect exactly what to do. Don’t beat around the bush, don’t stutter, and don’t skip anything. “Click the “Add To Cart” button where you’ll complete the secure order form. After your purchase you’ll get instant access to a unique coupon to print off and bring in. Click Add To Cart to get started now.”
Creating a video sales presentation isn’t difficult, and technology has made it increasingly easy to get a powerful and professional looking sales message online, quickly and easily. In the past I’ve used PowerPoint and Camtasia (Windows) or Keynote and ScreenFlow (Mac) to create nice looking slides and record the audio over them. Keep the slides short and simple. The fewer words on screen the better. Utilize images and visuals as often as possible (royalty free or company assets). Upload your video to a video site and you’re set. Not all group buying and daily deal sites will allow you to use video in your offer but I’m not a fan of giving the big deal mafia giants 50% of my sales anyways. I currently work with a company that is encouraging small businesses, publishers, and entrepreneurs to launch their own deal sites. It’s quick, easy, brandable, and effective (plus you don’t throw away 50% of your revenue every time you run a deal). You can learn more at http://www.dailydealbuilder.com
Good luck! This process has worked amazingly well for me and countless clients but it’s ripe for improvements. I’d love to hear about your sales ideas, results, improvements, or suggestions.
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Beebe, Steven and Beebe, Susan Public Speaking: An Audience Centered Approach
BIO: This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission from the author.
Keith Wellman is a persuasive sales writer, internet marketing consultant, and an internet entrepreneur since 2001. He built his first business into a 7 figure internet company which he closed down in 2011. Clients include internet software startups HC Consulting Group and Construct Zero (Simpleology) as well as nonprofit organizations Foreverfamily and East Lake Commons. You can reach him via Twitter @keithwellman