How to Sell Your Services Online – The 4 Stages of Conversion
If you own a service business and want to increase the amount of business you generate online, then you need to read this article on How to Sell Your Services Online. As the owner of a service business myself, I understand exactly what you need to do to grow your business. In fact, one of our primary services is professional services web design. The lifeblood of a service business is consistently and predictably generating qualified leads and converting then into paying customers.
When I was starting out, I had no clue how to generate quality leads from my website, and as a result, I was forced to focus on price as my primary marketing vehicle. What I ultimately found out, after years of banging my head against the wall, was that I was doing everything wrong.
My approach to sales and marketing on my website was the equivalent of a guy at a singles bar proposing marriage to a stranger before even asking their name or if he could buy them a drink.
What I’m about to share with you is a proven process for How to Sell Your Services Online and consistently generate new traffic, leads, and sales to your service business.
How to Sell Your Services Online
The mistakes I see so many service businesses make is in trying to sell services right away rather than leading the customer along their buying journey. In reality, there are three stages a customer must pass through before reaching the crucial sales point.
- Traffic – Get the person to click on your URL and go to your site.
- Prospect – Once someone has visited your site, they become a prospect.
- Lead – Find a way to capture your potential client’s information, so they become a lead.
- Sale -Only then can you take them to the final step and convert your lead into a sale.
Each step in the How to Sell Your Services Online process has a different objective and a different strategy to get you there.
Step #1 in How to Sell Your Services Online – Drive Traffic to Your Website
The subject of how to get someone to come to your site could fill volumes on its own. Let’s just keep it simple and say that there are two main ways of getting people to come to your site – Free and Paid.
Free Traffic or Organic Traffic
Free Traffic is a bit of a misnomer. Either you pay for traffic with money or with time. While generating ‘free’ traffic might not cost you dollars, it will still take you some time to produce. Here are some of the most common ways to generate free traffic to your website:
- Social Media – Connecting and engaging with individuals and groups within a Social Media platform for the purpose of leading them back to your website
- Blogging – Writing high-quality content related to your business that will get picked up via long-tail keyword searches on Google
- Search Engine Optimization – Strategically creating targeted content on your site for the purpose of ranking for keywords related to your service
- Direct outreach to potential prospects via email or direct messaging
- Joint Ventures – Partnering with other people who will bring you visitors in exchange for a referral fee for paying customers
The Internet is basically just an advertising platform. It pairs publishers (content providers) with advertisers. My wife once asked me if people ever actually click those Google ads. My response was that Google has an annual revenue of approximately $80 Billion and 77% of their income comes from their Adwords platform. So yes, people do indeed click on those ads.
Here is a list of paid traffic sources you can use to drive traffic to your website:
- Google Adwords
- Facebook Ads
- LinkedIn Advertising
- Yelp Advertising
Because this type of advertising can get expensive very quickly, you really should consider hiring an expert with AdWords or at least sit through the free training sessions offered by Bing. They do a wonderful job with training and customer support and even offer you free advertising dollars to help you learn the ropes. The principles you learn there also apply to Google and social media advertising.
Step #2 in How to Sell Your Services Online – Cultivate Your Prospect
Once someone visits your website, rather through paid advertising or free traffic, they are now officially a prospect.
The next step in How to Sell Your Services Online is to turn your prospect into a lead.
Remember, we’re still not trying to make a sale – YET. We’re not the guy at a singles bar proposing marriage to strangers. Instead, all we are asking to do is to get the prospect to raise their hand and let us know that they are interested in taking the next step.
The first step is identifying who are the different users coming to the site and their needs. In reality, that is what selling services really means. What are the different problems your prospect is looking to solve? Write them all down. Then give some order and priority to their requirements.
Also, consider the different stages in the buying cycle your prospect might be in when visiting your site. Some prospects might be ready to take action now and are just price shopping for the best offer. Other prospects might not even know what they need and are gathering information.
Once you’ve identified who your potential clients are and what they are looking for, the next step is creating content that educates them and provides them with a clear next step or steps.
Reach Them Through Primary and Secondary Offers
Your primary offer is for people who are ready to take action right now. What’s important to remember is that your initial offer is NOT a request to buy now. It is just to take one more step in the process.
Maybe it is a free consultation, a free audit, a free session or an initial evaluation. Use something that engages the prospect and moves them along the line, but not something that involves a significant commitment or costs any money.
Your secondary offer is for prospects who are in information gathering mode and are not ready to make a purchasing decision right now. For them, you provide a ‘free report’ a ‘white paper’ or a download that you will give in exchange for their email address.
Once you have someone’s email address, they are no longer a prospect they become a lead. These people have raised their hand to indicate they are interested and you now have a way of staying in touch with them, building trust and moving towards a next step in the buying relationship.
Step #3 in How to Sell Your Services Online – Qualify Your Lead
Congratulations! You generated a website visitor, who stayed on your site long enough to become a prospect, who then saw an offer you posted, took action and has now become a lead. You’ve already done quite a bit. But don’t celebrate yet, you’ve still got some work to do before you have a sale.
The way I see it, if you had to boil everything down, there are two main stages, lead generation and lead conversion, which can also be thought of as marketing and sales.
What I’ve found is that people don’t understand the distinction between the two.
People describe marketing as ‘sales in print.’ But I disagree.
To me, marketing is focusing on the problems of the customers and identifying their needs and desires. It is also calling to their attention potential solutions to those problems and unique mechanisms available to solve those problems.
So marketing is about your customer, not about you.
Sales, on the other hand, is more about you.
Sales are where you sell. You found someone who has a problem, they have raised their hand and identified that they are looking for help. Now they need to be convinced that you are the person to help them. This is how to sell your services online.
This stage is where you want to do two things; educate your lead and build trust.
One of my favorite quotes when it comes to marketing is:
“If you can describe a person’s problem better than they can to themselves, they will implicitly feel you have the solution.”
When it comes to education based marketing what you are doing is articulating the problem your prospect has and then educating them as to what they need to do to solve that problem.
A trick marketers use when it comes to education is to tell the prospect what to do, but then they don’t give them the exact step-by-step instructions on how to do it. The how to is the service you offer.
You might be wondering where and how you will be educating the lead and there are two main places, your website and via email. On your site, you want to have a blog, and on the blog, you want to produce valuable and useful content that educates your prospective client. You also want to communicate with your leads via email and share some of your best ideas via a weekly newsletter or some other type of regular communication. Remember we already captured the lead’s email via our primary or secondary offer.
Assuming the lead wants the service you are offering and has the money to pay for it, the only thing standing in the way of making the sale is trust. They need to believe that you are going to do the thing that you say you are. Make them understand that you give a quality product and that they will be happy with the result.
Here are the main factors people use to evaluate trust:
- Social Proof – Do other people say good things about you? Do you have good reviews or at the very least, no bad reviews?
- Authority – Are you an authority in your field? Do you have accreditations? Have you been featured in news articles? Have you received any awards?
- Likability – Do you seem likable and kind? Are you someone that a stranger, would want to do business with?
- Proof – Can you demonstrate results? Do you have case studies or demonstrations that prove you can deliver the result you promise?
- Guarantee – Do you have a 100% money back guarantee? Or better still a free offer with no strings attached?
Step #4 in How to Sell Your Services Online – Close the Sale
Okay, so as I mentioned in the last section, the lead generation phase is all about your prospect and their needs. However, sales are all about you and your services. At this point, you are no longer some stranger at a singles bar. You’ve gone on many dates, and you’re ready to take the relationship to the next level. In other words, you’ve educated your prospect and demonstrated trust.
Here is how you close the sale.
The main component of the deal is your offer. Your offer is the actual service you provide, the delivery of that service, the terms you are offering and your price.
This might seem familiar to you because that is what most companies start pushing from the beginning. This is getting down on one knee and proposing marriage.
There are things you can do within this phase to improve your results, but none of the advice I’m about to give will make any difference at all if you don’t do all the other steps of How to Sell Your Services Online first.
Focus on the Result
When putting together your offer, remember to focus on the result. Customers aren’t interested in services; they are interested in purchasing a result. You need to make it crystal clear what you are offering. Don’t be afraid to spell things out in minute detail. When it comes to results, people like specifics. They want to know exactly what they are going to get.
Have a Unique Mechanism
To generate a sale you have to answer this question.
The unique mechanism is your answer to this question.What is the special tool, system or technique you are using to get results for your client?
This concept was originally brought forward by Eugene Schwartz, the legendary copywriter who wrote the book Breakthrough Advertising which sells online for $1,000.
Instead of focusing on you, you are focusing on the technique or the system that you use to bring about results. It’s powerful because it allows you to associate yourself with credibility factors much greater than your own.
Have a Strong Guarantee
The backbone of any good offer is a strong guarantee. The less risk involved for your prospect, then the more likely they are to do business with you. Yes, you will have some people taking advantage of your guarantee. Deal with it. The net positive to having a strong guarantee more than makes up for anyone who takes advantage.
For example, we offer ‘Free Mockup’ to qualified leads. And sometimes we’ve been taken advantage of by people who weren’t serious about working with us. But the amount of new business we have generated from this offer more than makes up for the few bad experiences we have encountered.
The last thing you can do to influence your offer is your price or pricing structure. Unfortunately, many businesses start with price, which is a huge mistake. Being the lowest cost provider is almost always a losing proposition. Unless you have a unique business system that allows you to deliver the same result for less than your competitor, it’s a mistake to try to be the cheapest solution. With that being said there are things you can do to make your price more attractive, such as breaking the payments over a longer period or offering to finance to qualified clients.
Summing Up How to Sell Your Services Online
As you can see, there are a lot of things that go into successfully selling services. They key is taking one step at a time and not skipping steps. As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. That rule applies to your sales and marketing system as well. If you have lots of traffic with a poor lead generation system, your business will suffer. The first step is identifying where you need the most improvement and work on that first. Then work on having an overall working system and improve from there.
If you own a service business and need a website that works for you, you’re in the right place. We understand the needs of our clients and build professional services websites that attract and convert.
We can help you get more traffic, generate more leads and ultimately bring in more sales. In fact, we’re so confident we can be of help that we will design a Free Mockup of your new website before you sign or pay for anything. Read below to learn more.