How we sell matters

We have a confession to make…

We’ve been using manipulative sales tactics to sell The Great eCourse Adventure.

Don’t get us wrong. We were doing all the things the experts say to do:

  • Freebies and sales funnels.
  • Regular launch schedules.
  • Scarcity tactics.
  • Fast action bonuses.
  • and all that jazz…

Even though we were doing all these things in a playful and transparent way, many of the tactics still felt a bit manipulative and lame.

This is NOT how we wanted to be sold to, so we knew we had to stop selling to others in this way.

So we asked ourselves:

“How do we sell our offering in a way that delights our audience and that we feel great about?”

It seems like EVERYONE is doing taking the “launch funnel” approach these days.

It makes signing up for a simple cheatsheet or “free” training feel like getting on a factory conveyer belt of automated email madness:

  1. “Give me your email and I will give you my free gift.”
  2. “Here’s your free gift (value $1 bajillion dollars).”
  3. “Buy my thing”
  4. “Limited time special offer when you buy my thing this week.”
  5. “Social proof for why you should buy my thing.”
  6. “You only have 48 hours to buy my thing or it’s gone forever.”
  7. “Last call to buy my thing, don’t be a dumb dumb.”
  8. “My thing is gonna be gone soon, you better buy it now.”
  9. “1-hour to buy my thing or you’re a complete loser.”
  10. “Didn’t buy my thing? Don’t worry, I’ll just try to sell you other things now and re-sell on the first thing when it reopens in 6 months!

(All that within the first week or two of getting to know each other.)

Admittedly, it works really well (or least it has up to now).

But, just because something works doesn’t mean we should do it.

It had it’s time. But the times are a-changin’.

Soft, slow and steady wins the race

There’s far more effective, awesome and gratifying ways to sell things.

Knowing this inspired us to throw all of the bullsh*t out the window and start creating experiences that delight, inspire and offer value, rather than be obnoxiously fixated on making the sale.

We made some big changes and now our sales process is soft, slow and steady.

Instead of a launch funnel, we created the Courses Worth Sharing interactive website. 

Instead of making you give us your email address in exchange for seeing it, we just let you experience it, no strings attached.

We’re just not into bribing folks for their sacred email address anymore.

Most people don’t want to be on your list. They wan’t the free thing you’re dangling in front of it.

So we thought “how can we set it up so people actually WANT to receive emails from us?”

The ah-ha moment

Instead of using opt-in bait to trick people into getting on our list, we made being on the list a desirable product in itself.

The result is ‘Beyond The Blueprint’ – a weekly newsletter for online course creators and adventurous entrepreneurs.

And when you sign up, you’ll never get anything that resembles a typical launch-funnel sales email.

We don’t feel good when others do it to us, so we’re not going to do it to you.

We also recognize that people are all so busy these days, so we want to ensure that the weekly email we send is simultaneously valuable, easy and enjoyable.

It’s simple: we curate about 5 links to interesting ecourse-related articles, tools and resources.

Some of it is our own content, and a lot of it is awesome things we discover in our work week.

And people are loving it.

At the bottom of every email is a little Trail Pass icon, inviting you to come explore The Great eCourse Adventure.

The opportunity is always there to join, but it’s never pushy or annoying.

Regardless of whether our “conversion rates” increase or decrease, we don’t care.

Priorities, priorities

Increasing conversions is not our top priority.

Yes, we need to make sales to build a business.

But obsessing over conversion hacks isn’t what builds a sustainable business.

Our #1 priority is building a long-term relationship with our audience, and crafting the best possible experiences and products we can.

Plain and simple.

We want to work with people who are in resonance with our work and want to go deeper with us.

NOT people who we tricked or pressured into purchasing our product.

We want folks to sign up for our paid courses because they actually want to be there on their own terms, not because their FOMO got the best of them right before we “close the doors”.

This new slow, soft and steady approach to selling feels freakin awesome.

Our #1 job now is to create awesome experiences for awesome people… the selling takes care of itself.

The big shift for us is making our sales and marketing content desirable in itself, rather than a necessary evil we need to use to make the monies.

So instead of chasing after the next marketing hack or tactic, try crafting experiences that people love and want more of. 

Hope this true story inspires you to look in the mirror and question your approach to marketing and selling.

It helped us a lot when we took the time to do it right.

Thoughts? Feelings?

Are you a recovering online marketing junkie too?

Share your confessions in the comments below!

Leave a Comment:

Jan says March 3, 2017

I have to confess: I am a recovering marketing junkie!

I so resonate with your feelings about the current “marketing scare tactics”, but it’s really hard to completely let go, when every online marketing expert out there tells you that’s the only way to get sales.

I feel you hit the nail on the head when you decided to focus on the experience more than anything. Right now we’re revisiting all our emails and see how we can create a fun and transformational experience that works for everyone:
– You wanna get our course? Sure, here you go.
– You want to get to know us more, here is our story
– Oh you want to learn more about video creation, sure here are some awesome resources.

    Andy Freist says March 3, 2017

    Yeah, it’s quite interesting. There’s an entire culture that is built around the idea that you can just pluck money out of the internet. It’s not fully being honest about the fact that those are real people on the other end of the MacBook. It’s easy to go along with it and just dismiss many of these tactics as being alright, or just the way things are done. But the more I back away from it all, the more I see that modern marketing and advertising is quite violent. It may not be a physical violence, but it is the conscious manipulation of someones thoughts, feelings, beliefs, emotions, etc. When we look at it that way, we can’t help but realize a lot of what we see happening in the online marketing space is pretty f***ed up! Most people would cry “but without sales you cant build a business, dummy!” And this is true. We’re not saying we shouldn’t sell thing or be salespeople. What we’re saying is that it’s time to grow up and be more conscious of the power that we have, and treat people like fellow human beings rather than a means to make money. Our bottom line is that the amount of tactics you need to use is directly DISproportionate to the quality of your product.

Rae-ann Wood-Schatz says March 3, 2017

Thank you, I have often considered myself a bit of a sales rebel, I do sales, not opposed to it as what I have for sale is amazing, and I have not typically done it the way I was mentored too…thanks for continuing to be such great leaders in everything you do!

    Andy Freist says March 3, 2017

    Awesome Rae-ann! We’re all salespeople when we choose to play the entrepreneur game. As the title of the article suggests, we’re not wanting to escape being salespeople or selling. What we are called to do is get extremely honest with ourselves about how our actions effect people mentally, emotionally and on a soul level. Even if someone is a perfect match for our product, and the product would help them in their life – if we use too many manipulative tactics in a spirit of taking, their decision to join/purchase will likely be coming from through type of fear, rather than joy and opportunity. The answer for me is to always put the person and their experience first. 🙂

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