This is part 3 in a 3 part series. For bonuses, including the copy-and-paste sales script from this blog post, grab The Business Building Toolkit here.
Learn how to sell anything (that’s worth selling) in this 7 minute video that film critics everywhere are raving about*:
*I can’t confirm nor deny this statement.
Last month, I led and shipped a collaborative business project - a business training platform for veterans.
Two weeks ago I explained how I thrashed the idea using The Open-Loop Product Development Framework. This allowed us to outline and wireframe our product and specifically how we’d intended to launch it.
Last week, I explained how we developed our lean marketing funnel by using The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method. This let us build out the entire sales funnel to drive potential prospects to our product offer.
Today, I want to talk about how we presented our offer.
- how we designed the offer (what mediums and platforms we used)
- how our first attempt was a success and a failure (sorta)
- and how we made a slight tweak to our sales process to increase sales by 400%
Let’s get to it:
Always Be Closing
Before we get to the meat-n-potatoes of “The Coffee Is for Closers Technique” you should know where the quote comes from (trust me, you’ll thank me later).
So go ahead and grab a coffee or box of caramels, and enjoy these next few minutes of amazing, courtesy of Alec Baldwin (warning, it’s PG-13 at least):
While this video is ridiculous, it does bring up a good point: that we should focus on closing sales (if we’re in the business of closing sales...and anyone creating anything, outside of hobby projects, is in the business of closing sales).
In particular, we shouldn’t be afraid to get on the phone (or meet in person) to sell a product or service that can actually help people.
After all, if the product or service is any good, your customer will THANK YOU for it.
If you come off salesy, you’ll scare people away and blow the chance of creating a loyal customer.
And that’s the problem: most people new to business / entrepreneurship / art / writing, think this is a black-and-white, one-or-the-other type choice; that you can either not try to sell at all (but hope desperately someone buys), or approach the customer like a used-car salesman and end up turning off potential customers.
Here’s the deal:
These are not the only options.
You can in fact maintain your honesty and integrity while selling your product or service. Actually, you MUST do this. Otherwise, why are you doing what you’re doing in the first place?
Of course, I wouldn’t tell you you need to do something without actually showing you how...
So in the next few sections, I’m going to share with you the particular sales technique we used to increase sales by 400% while maintaining our honesty and integrity (and creating loyal customers in the process).
So take out a pen and paper, bookmark this page for reference later, and let’s get to it:
Crafting the Sales Offer
In last weeks blog post and video, I explained the exact process we used to funnel potential customers to our offer.
Part of any sales funnel is the offer:
What are you selling and why?
We set up our funnel so that potential customers would only see our sales page when we had the opportunity to share it with them personally (over a live webinar presentation). The reason for this is simple: a static sales page does not do a good job selling a premium product or service (certainly no one that’s brand new for something that’s not yet built!).
So we had to be able to present our offer in person (live webinar being close enough), if we hoped to get any early adopters on board our new program.
From Good to Great
Our first live webinar went off great.
Not only did 2% of attendees become early adopters immediately (about industry standard), but more importantly, everyone on the live webinar raved about it. 95% of our attendees stayed on for over 90 minutes of the presentation (way over industry standard in terms of engagement).
In fact, we weren’t even going to stop there as we had so many great questions coming in and such an awesome response, but we accidentally closed down the webinar in the middle of the Q & A...user error!
Here’s the thing though: while 2% conversion from a webinar is good, it’s not enough to truly validate our offer.
This is a tough position to be in: to have sold a number of your products or services, but not enough to know for sure it’s a home-run with your audience.
So for our next live webinar, we pivoted.
Instead of hoping we’d get more sales from the live webinar, we decided to focus 100% on the success of each individual on the call. We did this by asking for everyone’s number who would be interested in a short, one-on-one strategy call with us, to figure out ways to get their businesses off the ground (and to see if our program would be right for them).
Over 50% of attendees left their numbers - an amazing sign that what we were offering was useful.
The next step: calling every person who left his or her number, and giving 100% attention to their situation and sticking point, and helping them through it. After spending about 30 minutes on the phone with everyone who left their numbers, the results were in:
We quadrupled our sales and could confirm without a shadow of a doubt that we had a valuable service on our hands.
The “Coffee Is for Closers” Technique
Now, I could leave it at that, and let the lesson be: get on the phone with your potential customers, but that wouldn’t be very Tom Morkes of me.
So in this section, I’m going to walk you through the exact, step-by-step process I used to turn curious passer-bys into loyal customers.
Now, I have zero background in sales.
I spent 1/3rd of my life in the Army, where I never had to sell anything (except why I should be allowed to grow a beard...didn’t work). So getting on the phone with someone to get them to join a $3,000+ program...how do you do that?
So I did what I always do at times of uncertainty: I searched YouTube for the answer.
Lo and behold, I found a short video by Noah Kagan of Appsumo.com and SumoMe.com (you’ll notice that I use a lot of Sumome.com software on this site - highly recommend for anyone with a website looking to convert visitors into subscribers).
In the video, Noah shares a simple process for selling anything. To summarize, there are 3 main steps:
Step 1: Listen to the Problem
The key here is listen to the potential customer’s problem. Your goal is to get the person to deep-dive into their problems so you can get a very good understanding of the issues they’re facing and what’s holding them back (so you know if you can help them or not).
Step 2: Relate
The key here is to be human (really, isn’t that always the key?).
Respond back to this person using the same words and style they use. You not only want to show them you understand what their problem is, but you understand them at a subconscious level (this is where using the same language / body language helps dramatically - for more information on this topic, here’s one of my favorite books on NLP...expensive but worth it).
Step 3: Transition
Once you understand the customer’s problem, you know where they want to be, and you’re confident your product or service can get them there, now it’s time to transition to the sale.
This means explaining to them how your particular product or service will get them the results they want and avoid the pitfalls of prior solutions.
For a step-by-step, copy-and-paste template of the exact questions I asked, grab the "Business Building Toolkit" here.
How We Used This Technique
The approach we decided on after thrashing out our business plan and developing our product launch strategy, was to funnel prospective customers through a live training webinar.
Statistically, webinar sales presentations convert at about 2-3%. As in, if 100 people show up to a webinar, you should come away with 3 sales.
For a $3,000 product or service, this wouldn’t be too bad a showing.
The problem was, because we were building an audience from scratch, we knew we would have a hard time getting a large crowd to these webinars. 100 people might be possible in the future, but right now, that was about the size of our entire list (driven mostly through Facebook ads, which I show in this free bonus training).
That's why we put a heavy emphasis that second live webinar on getting phone numbers from people interested in a 15 minute consulting call and follow on talk about whether our premium program was right for them.
By using this process, we ended up converting about 14% of live attendees into customers.
Best part - we've gotten nothing but stellar reviews and feedback from our group (several people making the comment the other day, since the program has started, that it's an insane value that we're creating).
This is the power of the "Coffee is for Closers" Technique and the power of selling something that's WORTH selling.
If you'd like the exact copy I used, you can sign up here.
When the “Coffee is For Closers” Technique Won’t Work
There are a couple reasons this technique won’t work.
If you have a product that doesn’t actually deliver
In this situation, two things can happen. Best case, people don’t buy. Worst case, they buy and ask for a refund and you’ve ruined your reputation.
Don’t sell something that doesn’t work. Only use this technique for products and services that create real results.
If people don’t trust you
There’s no real solution for this except to be trustworthy. How do you become trustworthy? Be transparent, be honest, and create products and services that deliver (or don’t try selling them).
Next Steps to Sell Anything (worth selling):
This wraps up the final update in the “How to Launch a Business From Scratch” 3-part miniseries.
I have received a few requests to go more in depth on:
- how to build an audience (because a business thrives or dies based on the audience)
- example of the thrashing process (how we iteratively go through the deployment process of an idea, how we test it, how we refine it, how we ship it again)
I intend to touch on these subjects over the next few weeks, but I’d like to know from you:
- What else would you like to learn about?
Leave a comment below to let me know (I don’t make these videos and blog posts in a vacuum, so the only wrong answer is silence!!!).
Also let me know if you have used this technique for selling your own products or services and what the results were (or why you HAVEN’T used it - what’s holding you back?).
Until next time, stay frosty.
Started in Denver, Colorado; finished and shipped in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Total writing (and filming) time: 6:17 hrs
Soundtrack: Mumford and Sons youtube mix
Tom, good article and video. I am getting ready to get into new line of sales/service. This was a good foundation to reacquaint myself with. Very solid, appreciate the post.
Thanks Joe! Let me know how it goes when you put it to work 🙂
Not good but great information here.
As always, practical, actionable and do-able!
It took me 10+ minutes just to print out all the related posts, downloads and information.
A Suggestion: while offering it all for free is important for you, there's no reason why you can't gather everything up here and in some of the other posts over the past week and zip them up - and offer them in one clean PWYW package, yes? No?
Bruce, that is a great idea....more to follow 😀
Thanks Tom! Super helpful. Sales is definitely where I get hung up (as well as other places) and this is the clearest and most doable process and more importantly most natural, authentic, and cleanest process I have seen out there. This is why I keep reading your emails and blog posts. Unlike most, they never disappoint.
thanks so much for the kind words Marieken - so glad you found it useful! keep me posted on how you implement - would love to hear the success story 🙂
Awesome video Tom, great info. To be honest hadn't even thought of actually getting on the phone with potential customers, thanks heaps!
I had never heard of Glengary Glen Ross before... And now I have another movie to watch. =P
I like this outline of marketing. It feels far more natural than anything else people have recommended in the corporate environment. I wish I had learnt it sooner. Now, just to integrate it into my natural setting. 🙂
Another great presentation, Tom. Thanks for all the good information and valuable content. You're a natural on video.
Thanks so much Skywalker - really appreciate the feedback. Will continue to create videos for my blog posts for sure 🙂
I love these blog posts. I can't believe you are sharing all this information openly like this. It's wonderful. As an author looking to grow her audience, this information is exactly what I have been looking for. Thank you!