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Rule #3 of selling by email...
👉 build belief before selling
In 1986 sales of Ray Ban Aviators shot up by nearly 40% in a 7-month period.
You probably know the reason why: Top Gun.
It’s why car manufacturers have fought tooth and nail to get their new models into Bond films ever since Q unveiled an Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger.
The reason is simple.
We believe the conclusions we draw ourselves much more than what we’re told.
If a company spokesperson told us the Aston Martin was a cool car that handles incredibly well we’d go “yeah, right, you would say that”.
We see Bond driving like a madman in one and we think “that car looks cool and handles incredibly well”.
The same thing applies to your emails. In fact more so.
If every email you sent tried to get across a sales message directly, people not only wouldn’t believe you, they’d unsubscribe pretty sharpish.
As we said in rule#1, “you cannot sell a man who isn’t listening”. Your emails need to be valuable and interesting to keep people engaged so that you’re top of mind when they’re ready to buy.
But you don’t just want to be top of mind. You want them to remember you for the right reasons: that you’ve got a brilliant solution to their problem, that you’d be great to work with, that your ideas are different to the ones they’ve tried before.
You probably want them to believe a few other things too: that they actually have a problem that needs solving, that solving it will be worthwhile, that now is the right time to take action.
Try to get those beliefs across overtly and they’ll switch off. Especially if they’re not ready.
But allow them to conclude those things for themselves as you share valuable information in an interesting way and the ideas will become embedded in their brains in ways they’re much more likely to believe and remember.
I’ve probably made that sound way more complicated and inception-like than it really is.
Remember how I’ve been telling you that using stories and analogies will make your email tips and insights more interesting?
Those same stories and analogies can help you get across the beliefs that help you sell.
If you want to get across the belief that you get great results for clients, then instead of just sharing tips as a straightforward “how to”, tell them about the client who implemented your tips recently and the results they got from them. You still share the same tips, but wrapped in an interesting story that makes your readers think “hey, it sounds like clients who work with them do really well”.
If you want to get across the belief that you truly understand the issues they’re facing, be brave enough to tell them about your own struggles in this area and what you did to overcome them.
If you want your readers to get the impression that your training is going to be easier to understand and implement than what they; ‘ve seen from others, use an unusual analogy that relates a complex concept to something more familiar. Like, I dunno, comparing establishing beliefs in emails with product placement in the movies ;)
Now before we jump any further I want to be clear about a couple of things…
Firstly, unless you’re an absolute genius, you won’t be able to do this with every tip or idea you want to share. Sometimes there just won’t be an obvious link between the useful insight you want to give and a story or analogy that gets across a belief you want to establish.
That’s all good. As long as you’re sharing valuable ideas you’re strengthening relationships. If you can also establish a desired belief that’s great but if you can’t you’re still doing well.
And secondly, all this fancy belief-building doesn’t mean that you don’t need good calls to action to trigger a sale. It means you’ll get better results when you make your calls to action - but you still have to make them.
Which is why in the next email we’ll talk about how to ask for the sale without losing everyone who isn’t ready yet.
But for now I just want to recap the process:
Step 1: identify the beliefs you need to establish before people will be ready to buy from you. For example: I have a big problem that I need to solve, solving this problem is possible for people like me, Ian has great solutions for this problem that have worked for others just like me, doing what I’m doing today won’t get this fixed, Ian’s ideas are different to what I’ve tried before so they stand a good chance of working even though I’ve failed at this in the past. Substitute your name and relevant beliefs, of course.
Step 2: identify which of your stories and analogies will help cement each belief. Some may do double duty and be usable for a few.
Step 3: when you’re writing an email, decide on what valuable ideas you want to get across first, then see if you can find a way of illustrating those ideas that also helps establish one of your desired beliefs.
Step 4: if you find one, write your email using your selected story to illustrate it. If not, try to use a story or analogy that makes the idea interesting and memorable even if it doesn’t establish a belief.
In a more advanced version, you might want to look at creating sequences of emails covering a broad topic and working on each belief in a logical order (for example, if someone doesn’t yet believe they have a problem they’re not going to be so impressed with how unique your new ideas are).
But for now, let’s stick to the simple version and discuss the next step of calls to action in our next email.
See you there