When you sell a product or service, it becomes a lot easier to have a presell strategy in place.
To understand a presell strategy, you might want to take a walk around your local supermarket or Costco.
Chances are you’ll find a few people who hand out samples of their products. On the face of it, it might look like a flawed strategy because people might politely try out their samples and then walk away. But for the companies that promote these products. They know that these samples have the power to dramatically increase sales, which is why they invest in them.
What is a sample?
Samples are experiences with your brand.
So, for example, if you sell a book. You could give a chapter of the book away for free as a sample. This sample is an experience with your brand and style.
That experience of reading through the sample chapter provides the potential future customer insight into, not just your writing style. But also who you are and what you stand for.
You see, the moment a future customer gets a sample. They have little or no connection to your product or service. But the moment they try out the sample or the experience, their worldview shifts a little bit. And the moment you decide to give away an experience or a sample, your world changes too.
Check out how Joe Ades, one of the best salesmen, sells potato peelers in the street.
Is sampling that important
Samples have a fantastic effect because they are an experience. Deliver an experience that adds value to a customer, and you have their attention and are likely to buy from you. So yes, samples aren’t just important; they are critical to the selling process. And yet, they are to this day quite underrated.
Why do samples and experiences work so well as a presell strategy?
Because they help deal with some of the objections in the sale. They help in the following ways:
It stops discounting
Let’s say you are selling cereal. To compete with other cereal brands, there can be a lot of pressure to discount your product even though it is of a higher quality.
To be competitive.
Let’s also say you are providing a $1 discount on a $7 box of cereal. It’s not much of a deal.
But what if you were to give away (yes, give them away) 100 boxes of cereal?
Would that be easier than to sell 100 boxes of cereal with a $1 discount?
But that’s a complete loss, you say. Yes, it’s a loss on the 100 boxes of cereal. But if the cereal is as good as you say it is, then chances are that most, if not all of those people who tried it, will come back to buy cereal from you at $7 a box, not just once but again and again.
In other words, samples and experiences cause customers to choose your brand, even at higher prices. You’ll make a profit because you are playing the long game and stop any profits from slipping away due to discounting.
It expands your influence
People tend to be creatures of habit.
We tend to gravitate towards our favorite restaurants, authors, wine brands, etc.
Because our previous experiences reinforce the idea that the brand is good and we want good experiences, so we go to where we know we have a high chance of having a good experience.
Not long ago, I visited a dairy farm and was introduced to their operations and why they chose to rear Guernsey cows instead of Friesian cows (it has to do with milk quality). They also showed me how they handle and process the milk to make other products. A series of samples then followed this.
Think I’ll be going back to the cheap bottle of milk in the supermarket?
Sampling or offering free experiences breaks through those barriers by providing a new experience with very little to lose on the part of the future customer.
The process of trying a sample forces your brain to focus and on the new experience. Now, if your product or service is as good as you think it is, then you will notice an instant change in your future customer’s perception.
Because the future customer is more likely to pick up your product from amongst others, use it, and then come back in for more.
Chances are they’ll be more open to trying out other products or services that you sell as well.
It encourages lateral growth
Lateral growth in this context works like this. When you sample something, there’s a good chance; they will buy other offerings from that brand, as well.
So, for example, if you enjoy listening to Taylor Swift songs on the radio, chances are you’ll be looking to buy or stream more of her music albums on Spotify.
If you enjoyed reading a John Maxwell book, then chances are you’ll be reading some of his other books as well.
Remember that visit I took to the dairy farm. Now that I tried those cream and yogurt samples at the dairy farm – I am on the lookout for their products, not others.
It removes friction
Samples and experiences minimize the risk of a purchase because your future customers get an experience without having to lose their investment if it doesn’t work out.
It also works by telling a story, as was the case with my visit to the dairy farm. I gained a better understanding of the founders, their philosophy, their mission, and their business.
Creating these samples can seem like a ton of work, but if you don’t invest the time to get your presell strategy in place, you will do the work anyway in selling your product or service when you launch.
So how does this apply to your sales strategy?
Think about how you can break your product or service into samples or experiences. In other words, think about how you can create shippable samples.
Your samples could be content that you produce around your products or services.
For example, Amazon offers an audio sample of a book or a chapter’s preview to encourage potential customers to buy.
SaaS companies could offer a free trial of their product for a limited time or a customized demo. They can even remove some of the friction by making it easy to sign up and not asking for a credit card as part of the sign-up process.
For example, HubSpot provides free templates, website graders, and other tools to help agencies rate the effectiveness of their marketing and the inbound strategy marketing strategy.
No matter what business you are in, look for information or experiences you can chop up and give away in sample-sized portions to build enthusiasm for your products or services.
Putting a presell strategy in place
Preselling isn’t a quick fix for sales, but it does allow for a consistent buildup of future customers.
Remember, customers, buy long before they pay.