Selling online looks so easy on the surface. They tell us that it is as easy as A,B,C.
- Post on Instagram,
- Run a Facebook or Google Ads or
- Simply list your product on platforms like Jumia, Fiverr, OLX, or Nairaland.
In essence, they are telling us to spread our nets across these channels – both free and paid – and hope we get to make sales.
But when you do this, these efforts rarely lead to any significant sale. Sometimes, the people that saw your ads merely call for product samples, some even engage further before politely informing you they don’t need your product anymore. Others are not so nice.
Do you know why?
This is because it takes longer to convince total strangers to part with their money as they don’t trust you and you lack the credibility to win their trust immediately.
This happens a lot on Instagram.
Recently, my wife saw an ad for hair wigs on Instagram. She kept combing for more info from the person that ran the ad……and countless other sellers before settling to pay for a low-priced item off one of them.
In the same period, she made a bigger budget purchase for human hair, this time from an existing connection. No need for extensive research and she was willing to spend more.
The bottom line: you will make more MONEY if you sell to your existing relationship, than to strangers.. If you contrast marketing to random people vs your existing connections (like, someone who already knows you from school days or your LinkedIn connection) the result is usually different. Most time, you get 3 times better response, spend less and make more money.
In fact, I wrote this guide to show you how to get your existing relationships to buy your services and products.
You will learn how to:
- Tap into your existing network.
- Create portfolios of your work that results in gigs — you don’t even need a website to get started.
- Design an outreach campaign to tell your connections about your services.
All this will cost you NOTHING. Are you ready to learn?
The Social Connection Framework You Need To Grow Your Sales Faster.
This strategy is built on a premise that there is a high probability that someone who already knew you will be willing to buy from you.
This is because….
- It is easier to close a sale. No need to sound sales-y or push for “hard sale”.
- It is cheaper.
- You are not considered a sales person, simply an adviser.
Let’s get started.
STEP 1. Tap into your existing network and collate a list.
Your connections are scattered across your phonebook, business cards and social networking sites. They are your:
- Your friends and family. School mates and people you met at event etc.
- Your social connections (LinkedIn. Twitter. Facebook)
The first task is to collate an email of all your contacts. Email because it is affordable to reach more people that way. If you don’t know how to harvest the emails of your contacts on LinkedIn and Facebook, follow this guide.
How to generate your contact list from Facebook.
Let’s start with Facebook.
Facebook allows you to download your data, this includes your contact list. For someone that has 3,000 friends, that is automatically a list of 3,000 people that can potentially become your customers.
Here is a guide you can use to download your contacts on Facebook.
How to generate your contact list from LinkedIn
Next is LinkedIn…
LinkedIn has a straightforward approach for you to download your connections. For someone like me that has more than 11,000 first connections on LinkedIn, that’s a whole lot of potential “market audience”.
You can download your contact from the contacts setting page.
When you click on the ‘Export Contact” link on LinkedIn, you will be given the option to download all your LinkedIn data. Just click on “connections” and download “imported contacts”.
After completing the process, you will be able to download your contact in .XLS file format.
If you follow through all the process above (depending on the size of your network), you should have at least 2,000 contacts from LinkedIn and Facebook. You can also add your Gmail and Yahoo! Contacts.
What next ?
I know it is not realistic to message all these people. Some of them might not be ideal for your services: you want to filter out those.
STEP 2. Create a portfolio of your work.
To start selling to your connections, you need to create a portfolio that include your bio, area of competence and services you can offer etc.
If you use this framework, you can create a portfolio you can share with your connections ASAP.
(TLDR: It will take you approximately 20 to get it done and it is free).
It is created with Google Doc, so, you can easily update it with new info, pictures, videos etc.
There is no need for coding or asking for help. You can do it yourself:
(Don’t skip this step)
STEP 3. Send email blast to all your connections.
It’s now time to send out an outreach email campaign.
This is a simple courteous way to introduce you and the service you offer. The best part is that because of your existing relationship with them, it can be a casual, friendly conversation.
Here is a word for word script you can use:
It’s good to connect with you again.
I recently launched a digital marketing agency.
Let me know how we can do business together 🙂
Your LinkedIn friend, Wole.
Ready to start sending these emails?
So, how do you send this email to all your contacts at once? Here are the options I recommend.
Use your personal email service providers
Simply compose a new email and send to each of your contacts.
Or you can send out a mass message to all your recipients at once by using the “Bcc” feature in your GMail, Yahoo! mail or business email accounts.
The major disadvantage sending out broadcast with “Bcc” is that it lacks personalization. It will be obvious to some of your recipients that your mail was not directed to them personally.
You can use automation tools to overcome this challenge.
With automation tool, the other recipients will not be aware of other people the mail was sent to. In addition to this, these tools also have other additional benefits compared to your regular email account.
Use free email automation tools
As I noted, these tools have many benefits. For example:
- You can personalize the messages,
- automate the delivery,
- Get insights like open rate and click through rates (this showed who took interest in your offer) to enable you
- Schedule follow up messages
I will recommend two of such free email providers: Mailerlite and Mailchimp.
These email platforms have free tier you can take advantage of.
The best part is that there is no limit to the number of times you can send out email broadcasts to them.
You can import all your contacts to any of the free email providers. For example, Mailerlite supports 1,000 emails whiles Mailchimp supports 2,000 emails in their free tiers.
There are two other email automation tools you can try out.
GMass: This is a GMail addon that allows you to easily schedule emails, send out mass emails and mail merge campaigns from your Gmail account. It no longer has a free tier.
MixMax: This is another GMail add-on that offers powerful analytics, automation, and enhancements for your outbound communications. The service recently added IFTTT-like rules to help you manage your inbox. It still has free user tier that supports only email tracking, calendar schedules, email automation and basic CRM service.
If you have built great connections over the years, follwing these simple steps will help you convert them to your biggest customers.
You can use this strategy to break ground for your side-hustle. You can on a new job to get quick sales to meet your target at work. Consultants, real estate agents or anyone venturing into a new business can benefit from this..
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