Tuesday, October 01, 2002

(Web)Working@Home: How to Make a Sale *Without* Selling

Three weeks after I announced a free and customizable e-mail workshop I created last January, I received a rather bewildered and distressed e-mail from someone who signed up for it. In her e-mail, she wanted to know in what way was the free e-mail workshop relevant to her business. She wanted to know what good creating an e-mail workshop would do for her and her business. And I could tell from her e-mail she was genuinely lost and confused, and needed an immediate response.

I read her e-mail several times, and then I got ready to tackle her questions one by one. My answers were lengthy, and I also visited her site so I could give her more realistic examples of how she can use e-mail workshops in attracting leads or customers for her business.

In my response to her, I didn't try to give her a sales talk. I didn't focus on the benefits she would gain if she bought a copy of the e-book I'd written on the subject. Instead, I focused on her questions and answering them as clearly as I could. The only place I mentioned my e-book was in my signature line, just below my name. That, and the URL.

A couple of days later, I received another e-mail from her. She thanked me for answering her questions thoroughly and clearly. She was surprised I visited and explored the site so I can give her examples and ideas for possible e-mail workshops she can use. And that same day, she bought my e-book -- and I didn't even try selling it to her!

Two important lessons can be derived from this, and we can all apply these lessons every day when we go about building and promoting our business on the Internet:

1. Treat every legitimate e-mail inquiry promptly, respectfully and professionally, even if the e-mail can be annoying, antagonistic or silly. Take the e-mails as a challenge to prove that you know what you are talking about; that you indeed do and live what you teach.

2. Sometimes, it's better not to think of someone who comes to us as a "prospective customer" or someone we can convince to buy from us. Building, growing and maintaining a business is not just all about making money or producing large profits. It's also about gaining people's trust and making them believe you are sincere and honest.

If we work on building good relationships with people, eventually they will want to do business with us.

Next Week: 11 Creative Ways to Use Autoresponders in Your Business
No doubt about it, autoresponders are any online business owner's best friend. But more than the standard, "Thanks for your e-mail, I'll get back to you as soon as I can" autoresponse, autoresponders can be used creatively in a number of ways...

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