If you’re a freelancer or business owner, having a path to follow as you learn new skills can be a huge help. You already have enough decisions to make! When it comes to an area as complicated as sales having a proven formula to follow is tempting.
And yet, like we discussed last week:
Your business has a different audience, different message, and different personality. How you share your work with the world needs to be different fit.
In other words, cookie-cutter isn't going to cut it.
Deep down we know that there is no magic formula that guarantees results. And yet, we keep looking for them! But there are good reasons to call off the search for the magic bullet.
Allow me to introduce my doppelgänger
A simple sales system that reliably shares what’s unique about your business can make your work fascinating. Airlifting in someone else’s sales formula speak for you creates a big problem in the long term.
Using someone else’s formula means your business now has a “normal” voice and a “sales” voice. Your business will also have “normal” engagement and behavior and “sales” engagement and behavior. While you may make some sales, selling can't feel natural if it means you start to act like someone else.
For your customers, it's about as normal as if every full moon you spoke twice as loud, in the third person and refused to acknowledge your new quirk (if anyone had the courage to ask).
No, you’re not pulling it off.
Yes, it will freak people out.
No, that doesn’t put them in a buying mood.
Shortcuts don’t replace understanding
When you buy a “proven sales formula” you don't know what is behind the specific choices that were made. That means you may end up with one funnel that works… but without the key insights that would help you build another. You can't take what works and incorporate it into your business as a whole.
There’s a real cost to buying a shortcut that speeds you past understanding. That cost is lost sales in other sales funnels, since you can’t duplicate your results without duplicating the formula. (Which your customers might notice!) You also pay in lost profitability by getting locked into a pattern of buying more formulas instead of building on your insight.
Never mind the emotional cost of worrying that savvy friends and customers will spot your formula marketing. (Spoiler alert: We see you using that swipe copy, girl.)
There’s a better way: a simple sales system that multiplies your message through your unique strengths and reliably attracts ideal customers and steady sales.
Even better, it's based on straightforward choices that you already know the answers to. That means it can start to serve you as soon as you start building it. Here are two examples of ways a cookie cutter solution can't beat a simple, custom sales system.
Ready to get specific?
Take a moment to think about two or three of your best customers. The people who valued your work and who just got it.
Hold those best customers in your mind, and ask yourself:
- How much did they already know about the problem they wanted help solving?
- What had they tried before? Anything they hadn’t heard of? Did they ask for any clarification?
- What words or phrases did they use to talk about their problems?
Simple questions like this are a fast track to speaking your customer’s language. If you know how much your customers know about the nuance of their problem and of a possible solution, you can speak to customers at exactly that level. And language is a simple way to find out.
If you’re a web designer, pay attention to if your customer contacts you asking about blogs, website or their online presence.
Are you a photographer? Then listen to see if customers ask about portraits or booking a session.
If you’re a jewelry designer, notice if people ask about necklaces or statement pieces.
Those small differences reflect what your best customers look for when they want to buy. Tune into subtle ways your best customers are different from the rest, and then mirror that back at them to attract more of them.
A simple sales system that you build for your brand can easily take these details into account, in a way that cookie cutter formulas just can’t. They create endless micro-opportunities for your work to resonate and excite your best customers, and to build trust with future customers who aren’t ready to buy.
What works for you > what works for everyone else
The biggest temptation of buying someone’s proven sales formula is, of course, that it’s meant to work. (Even if that’s not really how it works out.) And the beauty of this kind of a promise is that we can give ourselves a pass on monitoring their results.
I'm here to officially call B.S. on this, guys.
In fact, one of the top issues that I see clients struggle with is not pausing to look for patterns in their business around what worked and what didn’t.
Moving forward without this step is called guessing, and it's not strategic.
Your business is full of information on what your audience loves and what they don’t respond to. The clues are everywhere and they hold more growth potential for your business than what experts say is working for them. Yet many of us skip over this crucial step.
Instead, be thorough and tap into what’s working for you:
- Research which lead magnets and blog posts are performing best for you? What topics do they address?
- Look at your newsletter data and find out what your top 10 performing email subjects are? Are they written in a specific style, like a “how to” or listical (5 ways to…)?
- Research what the ten most shared posts on your website are. What themes do you see?
- Do you know where people who buy from you find out about you? If not, can you start asking?
And don’t just ask these questions once – ask them at the end of every campaign, at the end of every quarter. If you don’t, who will?
Don’t follow the crowd, be a leader
These questions will give you the chance to make small guesses about your audience that you can test. They’ll give you insight into who your audience is right this moment, and that’s useful.
It doesn’t mean that your audience, right at this moment, is the right one for you.
If your work sells well, you have engagement with your audience and like your customers, then amazing! You’re attracting the right people. The answers to the questions above can help you build on what’s working.
If you have engagement but your product isn’t selling, if your customers aren’t buying or don’t see the value in your work? Then you’re attracting the wrong crowd, my friend. The answers to the questions above will give you insight into what’s drawing in the wrong people. It’s your job to start changing it up and write only what would appeal to your best customers. Look for ways to make changes, so you’re speaking their language and teaching at their level to repel the wrong people and bring in the best ones.
Even if it's a muscle you're still building, there's no magic formula that can replace your insight into your business.