Success in sales requires building trust with your prospects, giving them something before asking them to buy. The simplest way to do this is by using what is called a “Sales Escalator”. Picture an escalator and you get the idea: starting at the bottom, you move people up to higher and higher step-by-step.
Think of it as an exchange between you and your prospects. They are investing THEIR time and energy so it only makes sense that you reciprocate and invest yours, making it an even exchange. The idea is as their commitment to you grow so does the value you are giving them.
So at the very bottom of your sales escalator is the free stuff for your new (and still low-commitment) prospects. You want to make that stuff easy for them to access without a lot of extra effort on your part until they step up their commitment level and say, invest more of their time and money.
Everywhere you look you see the sales escalator at work. From the samples at the grocery store to the free report you downloaded from the software company, the principle of the sales escalator is essentially the same: give people the opportunity to try for free and then move them up to incrementally bigger purchases.
What this looks like depends entirely on your business. Some business models lend themselves to smaller incremental steps better than others. For example, a car dealership isn’t going to give away free scooters to entice people to buy a car, but it does offer test drives and even extended test drives to keen prospects.
How to Build Your Sales Escalator
Free Tips and Advice – All that awesome advice you share on Twitter and your blog is where the relationship begins. It’s both easy for your prospects to access the information and requires very little commitment on their part.
No-Strings Attached Free – Instead of asking your prospects to give you their email address in exchange for the useful information they really want, just give it to them as a no-strings attached download (no opt-in required). Thanks @SarahRobinson for this awesome idea!
Free Giveaway with Opt-in – Now if they want something EVEN better, they have to up their level of commitment by giving you their email address. Maybe that’s participating in a contest or tuning into your latest paid webinar for free.
Low-Cost Self-Serve – The last step up the escalator is to get them to actually pull out their wallets and buy something, even if it’s very small. $7 for a downloadable e-Book gets the ball rolling and separates out the serious prospects.
From there, you get them to buy a package, a series or whatever the next step up the escalator is. Too often people try to go for the big sale before they have established a relationship with their prospects. Slowing down the process and carefully considering each step in the sequence allows you to create a truly satisfying customer experience.