Monday, July 13, 2009

I'm Not Hiding... (I'm just scared...)

I'm Not Hiding... (I'm just scared...)

Very few people would ever go door-to-door selling anything, as they would find it far too scary. The very idea of having to face a complete stranger over and over again sends most people into a cold sweat.  

However, it IS necessary to face strangers when you're in business, no matter what kind of business you're in. 

In the online world, the majority of people try to do business while figuratively hiding under the desk. They use websites without contact information, autoresponders with no way for the prospects to answer questions, and pseudonyms rather than their own names in their communications. 


 I can almost hear what some are thinking: "This is the online world! No one can see me, anyway! All I have to do is get a website up, set up a capture page, and let the robots do the rest! There's no need for me to be up front!" 

 To that, I have to say, "This is the world of business! Business happens between people, not robots! You're hiding!" 

Most people would answer back, at least in thought, "I'm not hiding. I'm just scared." 

Fear is something that anyone in business, whether online or off, needs to deal with. How much business do you think a storekeeper would do if he hid under the counter every time a customer came in? Yet people are doing this very thing in the virtual world, all the time! 

One thing you MUST do in order to deal with fear is to face it. Running away simply reinforces it. 

I found this out the hard way when I was in door-to-door sales. If I didn't face my fear, get out, and start knocking on doors, I simply had too much time to think about how scary it was going to be to go out knocking on doors! 

In the online world, just like in the real world, people want to connect with live human beings. When they go to buy something or some service, they want to know that the person they are buying it from is going to be there for them and be willing to help them with anything they need. 

In the so-called "brick-and-mortar" world, it's pretty much a given that if you go into a store to buy something, there will still be someone there to help you a week or month or year later (hopefully!), but in the online world, there's nothing concrete (pun intended) to ensure there will be anyone there ten minutes after you make your purchase. 

When you're in business online, the chances are very good that there are a lot of other people trying to sell the same goods or services you are. You have to put yourself in the potential customer's place and ask the question, "Why would I buy this from you?" (the you is YOU). 

People who make purchases online are often a little nervous already, as the internet has a reputation whether earned or not, of being a place where ripoffs are common. If they have a choice between buying from a site they know and trust or buying from someone they don't know at all, who do you think is going to get their money? 

You need to make yourself known. Provide good contact information. Answer emails promptly. Make sure your business phone number is easy to find. Answer the phone promptly if at all possible. You can also provide live support, right on your website. 

Do all you can to make it easy for your prospects to contact you and make sure you get back to them as quickly as you can. The most important issue is NOT that you have all the answers, but that a real, live person is behind the website and products. Nothing will make a bigger difference to your sales. 

 So get out from beneath that desk, face the world with a big smile on your face, and tackle your fears with gusto. You'll start having fun, and the results will KEEP that smile on your face!  

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