This is a guest post by Oludami Yomi-Alliyu, a professional copywriter, a web content consultant.
I remember a part of a letter written by the legendary bestselling author Robert Ringer that I’m very fond of – and which applies to almost every entrepreneur, whether online or offline. Robert recalled a friend of his comment that “There are no guarantees in either life. No matter how great your ideas and no matter how well you execute them, you can still end up broke.” Sounds typical? Well, it does, at least to me. You get this spark of a big idea. It looks divine and God-inspired, “Eureka!” You then put all your efforts into executing it and you still end up failing – or broke.
Trust me; this isn’t the part I’m fond of. I don’t do negativity. It’s Robert’s reply I love so much and agree with. And if you are open-minded, this reply alone could change your life forever. For good! Robert responded, “That may be true, but my own experience has convinced me that the best insurance policy against that happening is to know how to write effective ad copy.” (underline mine for emphasis). Hey, wait, don’t run away. (‘Cause I almost hissed too. Like, “how’s this related to the issue in question?!”). Robert Ringer insisted that he meant it then, and he feels even more strongly about it today. And with time, I agreed with him and would like to repeat it to you; the best insurance policy against your big idea failing flat is to know how to write effective copy. In other words, to know how to sell!.
A quick Google search on this man would make you believe every single thing he says about ideas, marketing, and most importantly, success. Robert Ringer published his first book, Winning Through Intimidation, in 1973. The book became a huge success – a #1 bestseller, spending 36 weeks at the top of The New York Times Best Seller list. But the success didn’t come to Bob on a platter of gold. The manuscript of the book got 23 rejections from publishers. Then Robert decided to self-publish the book. Yes, a successful self-published author as far back as 1973 – when there was no internet. Don’t be shocked, ‘cause there’s more. He also self-published his second book, Looking Out for Number One, in 1977, and it became a bestseller too.
There are now thousands of self-acclaimed self-published authors (thanks to the internet!), but with as little as less than 1% becoming as successful as Robert was in the “olden days”. The purpose of this post isn’t to eulogize Robert Ringer (he’s only 1 out of thousands of success stories), and it’s definitely not to lecture you on self-publishing. But I’m sure you’ll begin to take Robert’s words quoted earlier as seriously as I do – this dude knows what he’s saying! The essence of this post is to empower you with the number 1 skill you need to make any idea or enterprise – or business – of yours super successful. It’s to teach you (drum roll, please) the notorious Art of Successful Selling.
Let’s get on the same page here. By selling, I don’t mean exchanging something for money, and I don’t mean “offering something for sale.” Those are your business. By the art of selling, I mean the art of making people buy what you offer. The art of persuading people to do whatever you need them to do. We can also call it the art of persuasion. A suitor sells himself to the girl of his dreams. A fish seller sells his fishes to buyers. A blogger sells himself and his message to his readers, just as a job candidate sells himself to the interviewer. Everybody sells – whether you like that name or not. But doing it consciously, and employing some proven skills (like Robert’s), puts you above the 99% that sell incidentally – and there’s no limit to what you can achieve with this skill.
Luckily, like all talents and skills, selling or persuasion is an art that can be learned and mastered through having sound knowledge of its principles and constant practice. The first I will give you, the other, you guessed right; is left to you. Now let’s get to the meat of it.
Here are the basic principles of successful selling:
1. Know who you’re dealing with (your prospect).
2. Make the message about the other person and not about you.
3. Spell out the benefits that he will get by taking the action you are recommending.
4. Make the benefits emotional and concrete –– easy for him to imagine.
5. Support your claims with proof or logic.
6. Keep it stupidly simple (KISS).
Now let’s apply these principles to a practical scenario, so you can better understand how it works – and how you can always use this skill to your advantage. Since the aim is to teach us to make more money online, let’s take it online, and use a fictional info product as our example. And of course, sell it with a sales email or landing page. Let’s say you create an info product in the fitness niche “The Ultimate Head-Turner”; a DVD program that teaches a 15-minute daily workout routine that tones the abs and ultimately gives 6-packs. How do you sell this and be super successful at it?