The Magic of Mobile: How to Sell Without “Selling”

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We consumers have pretty much accepted the fact that everyone is trying to sell us something. In response, we’ve developed a keen awareness for sales situations to be avoided: we know the shortest route through the mall perfume carts and generally ignore unexpected calls from 1-800 numbers. Of course, there’s a time and place people are more open to being sold, and the best salespeople know when and where that is.

Timing aside, salespeople still have the ever-more-difficult task of pitching people on things without making them feel like they’re being pitched. Plenty of tactics are leveraged to give consumers this warped sense of camaraderie—from buttering shoppers up with banter to asking questions that ease them toward the right answers—and you know it’s been done right when you walk out of a store feeling like you just made a purchase (and a new friend!) entirely on your own volition. But there comes a point when the sale is out of the salesperson’s hands, and closing comes down to the consumer’s mindset and the pragmatism of marketing efforts surrounding them.

Here’s where many companies miss the mark on mobile marketing. The phone in your pocket has the incomparable advantage of being non-threatening and full of sales opportunity. With mobile-optimized websites and native apps, you can turn a sales & marketing tool into a commodity for consumers, who end up digesting offers along with insider tips and convenience-based features that appeal to them on a non-salesy level; you embed your marketing messages with other content that draws them in.

Tough for a salesperson to do all that on the spot. A lost deal is typically just a lost deal, but if you can get an ambivalent shopper to download an app before they walk out the door, you’ve just extended the sales process. They may leave empty-handed, but their pocket’s full of promise—you have the opportunity to work marketing seamlessly into their trusted little devices.

5 Tips on Making Mobile Sell

1. Buffer ROI features with tools that cater to customers’ needs—continually. They should see the app as something that works for them, not for you, and provides long-term value. No savings-minded user will uninstall if they’re accumulating points and rewards through your app.

2. Name features according to their use and benefit to the customer, not their business advantage. The subtleties in perception make all the difference.

3. Offer general, industry-relevant tips and info through push notifications. Customers appreciate a friendly word from time to time—not just messaging that constantly pushes promotions.

4. Include customer-to-customer interaction opportunities whenever possible. Connection draws and keeps users around.

5. Emphasize mobile exclusivity and reward people for joining the club. Everyone likes feeling special, after all.

Salespeople will be the first to tell you that nothing replaces human contact. It’s vital in pretty much any industry, which is why technology hasn’t wiped us out completely. Mobile should be treated as a tool that ups efficiency and bridges the gap an employee can’t cross, unless you’re cool with them following customers out the door or crawling into their pockets to make the sale.

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