You don’t have to sell your soul to sell online

One hurdle that my coaching clients often have to deal with is learning to sell and market online while staying true to their own values.

I help them learn that they can sell effectively online and do so with heart, integrity and authenticity.

They don't always think that it is possible, but they do learn. That doesn't mean that it will be easy (although sometimes it is). And that doesn't mean that it will happen right away (although sometimes it does).

When I created my first succesfull "sales letter" website, I had my back up against the wall. I had just quit my PhD program at the University of Utah in favor of pursuing my online dreams full-time. My paltry grad student stipend was about to run out. But my online efforts were not yet paying all my bills.

What to do to fill the gap? I thought that the University was going to give me classes to teach, giving me backup income, but I was not entirely certain. And I didn't have the luxury of waiting to find out.

I needed a back-up plan.

I needed some extra-income from the web and I needed it YESTERDAY. Not sure what to do, I went to a local coffee shop, grabbed a cup of coffee and thought about what I could do.

I ran through a bunch of options in my mind. I could create some new downloadable products such as an audio MP3 or a marketing ebook. I could quickly schedule a new workshop and market it online. But all of those things could take a couple of weeks or even a couple of months and I wanted immediate income.

Suddenly, I remembered having a bunch of survey data that I had collected from a community to which I belong. I had gone to an online forum which I had been a member of for several years and had asked the members several questions about internet marketing. For instance:

What's your single most important question about selling online?

How difficult has it been for you to find the answer to this question?

If I really want to delight you by teaching you something you not only didn't know before, but something you don't think most people would expect from selling online, what would it be?

I also asked several questions about their age and gender. What I found when re-reading the survey responses was that there was a sizable group of people who had needs and questions that I could answer quickly and easily. They had similar needs to what I had when starting out. Not only that, I was so familiar with their issues and had dealt with them so many times, that the process of teaching it was second nature to me.

To give you an idea, their concerns had to do with getting a website cheaply and without too much hassle, getting visitors to the website, getting to the top of the search engines, figuring out how to make some passive income through ebooks and audio downloads, and most importantly - having someone who could take the stress out, and guide them through the process step-by-step.

Designing the Product and Creating the Sale Page

The key point: I knew what this group of people wanted, and I knew I could help them.

I already had some quick ways to create websites and blogs, quick SEO tips and low-cost ways of creating products and selling them. I also realized that since I had some extra time on my hands, I could not only set-up the websites, but also coach via phone and webinar to teach my new clients (I knew I was going to get them) how to do everything.

The sales letter landing page was my 3rd or 4th sales that I had set-up. I didn't particularly like the other ones, and one made me feel so false that I never bothered to put it up.

But when I wrote the new landing page, I was R-E-A-D-Y. I had already had time to read and review the survey responses and also have some online interactions with the people throught the forum and email exchanges. So I felt like I really got where they were coming from and I knew that I could help them.

It was also after I realized that many of my websites were getting over 3500 page views per month and that my various websites were finally producing and that I knew what I was talking about.

So when I sat down and wrote the sales letter page, it only took a couple of sessions to get it up and formatted. And I BELIEVED. By the time I was done writing it, I felt great about it, knew that I could deliver. And - excuse my arrogance - I felt that the people that did not want to buy or didn't like what I was doing, just didn't have a clue, so it didn't bother me.

And I knew that I could always figure out how to improve the website and to sell to others at some point in the future.

The website made me nearly $3000 in the first ten days after I put it up.

Not a fortune to be sure. But the website only took me 3 days to create, and the three grand was enough to pay my bills for another couple of months, giving me time to work on other projects.

So, my point? Keep your soul and your ethics and make money online. Eventually you will have the right message that feels good to you and that you know will be of service to the world. It won't be false or B.S. or marketing-hype. At least not to you. And the people that think it's all hype? They can go somewhere else. Because you will know that you are influencing with integrity.

You will be YOU. And the people that "get" you and "get" what you are doing will be appreciative. They will buy from you and all will be well.

cheers for now - Ryan