Especially when you are selling online. We all know that online selling differs to face-face selling but in essence the psychology of selling hasn’t changed. There are psychological needs that must be met in order for a person to be persuaded to buy a product or service.

If you are selling products online, you need to show that that product solves a specific problem or meets a specific need. If you are selling a service, you must get in touch with the pain of your potential customer to draw their interest to what you are offering.

I recently read an article that there are more than 280 million websites on the World Wide Web and that number is growing everyday! “Really? That many?” I hear you ask? It’s a bit overwhelming isn’t it? Easy to get lost as a little fish in a big pond!


So how do you make yourself standout?

Of course you need to have a unique selling proposition (USP). Something you offer the customer or something you do for them that is different to other businesses.


But you need to also follow the sales process. Depending on who you ask there between 5-7 steps in the sales process, but I think for the purposes of online selling, 6 steps works.

So what are the 6 steps?

Step 1 – Prospecting or Marketing
The key to any good marketing strategy is to know your target market and understand them intimately. When you know your market you can create marketing material that speaks directly to them and ultimately deliver lost of the right traffic to your website.

Prospecting is a result of your marketing. Make sure when you market a particular product or service that it is immediately evident when the prospect goes to your website. If you drive prospects for a specific reason and then don’t deliver, you have lost them.

Step 2 – Build rapport, credibility & trust
We all know how to build rapport, credibility and trust when dealing with customers face to face. We greet them, assist them, impart knowledge about our products, have our store set up in aesthetically pleasing ways and so on.

So how do you translate that to an online store?
Firstly you must have an attractive website. Your website needs to be easy to navigate, have good text and relevant and clear images. Interesting, people tend to scan a page more than getting into serious reading.  The red section in this heatmap shows the areas that are looked at most frequently.

map courtesy of

Your customers will also be assessing your site based on some of the following:

  • How fast is the download and are all images and links working?
  • Is the site reliable?
  • Does it look professional?
  • Is the site cluttered and busy with images and text or is it clear to navigate?
  • Is customer support easy to find?
  • Are there spelling & grammatical errors (first to put my hand up and say I often have many of these so make sure you get someone to proof read for you!)

Have a look at your own website with these questions in mind. Does your website create an inviting shopping experience or roadblocks?

Step 3 – Qualify
This step sounds challenging but if you have done the first 3 steps well, this step is easy. Internet marketing studies have shown that 7 out of 10 visitors to a website are ready to buy. So it’s fair to say that 70% of the people visiting your site are there because they are looking for a solution or to meet a need.

Set out your website so that the navigation is clear and speaks to those people who know exactly what they are looking for, those people who generally know what they want but may not know the specifics and those that need you to give them direction, they’re just browsing. This is where having key & multiple categories is key. Not everyone shops the same way, so you need to cater for his or her differences.

Step 4 – Present
This is how you present your product or service.
Are your images large and clear or do you need to squint to see them? Are you presenting the benefits of the products and not just the features?
As you are presenting the relevant information you need to make sure that you are keeping your customer interested and motivated to make the purchase.

Step 5 – Close the sale

  • Closing the sale online is about making the experience as safe and seamless for the customer as possible.
  • Are you providing enough information about the product?
  • Do you have a guarantee? Do you assure people that you will stand behind your product or service?
  • Are you providing as many ordering options as you can?
  • Is your site secure for online payments?
  • Is your contact number prominently displayed?
  • Do you have customer testimonials for the products or services you offer?
  • Do you ask for irrelevant customer information?
  • Are your shipping details clearly provided?
  • Are all the purchasing costs spelled out?
  • Do you send a confirmation email that the purchase has been made?

Step 6 – Keep them coming back
The sales process is never finished once the sale is made. Repeat business is the most profitable business. It takes more effort and money to get a new customer than it does to get an existing one to buy from you again.

Something as simple as picking up for phone or writing a good old-fashionedcard will make your customers appreciated. Make sure you are letting them know how much they mean to you regularly!

Give them reasons to come back to purchase from you again.

Each of the sales steps feed into one another. Think of the process as operating on a micro and macro level at the same time. The micro level is the individual page and the macro level is the whole shopping & purchasing experience.

Buying is ultimately based on emotions. By following the sales process, even though as an online business you may not be dealing with your customers face to face, you can make them feel as though you are and by doing so increase your sales!

Simone Outteridge, Outer Edge Business Coaching, is passionate about helping small to medium sized businesses give themselves the edge, get off the treadmill, increase their business performance & find more enjoyment out of life. She is mum to an energetic son, Jake and wife to the gorgeous James, she knows what it takes to juggle family & business life.