It’s nice to sell things on your website. As someone who’s set up dozens of websites over the years that have sold things, I’m certainly not averse to a good sale and all of the mechanics that go into that sale. However, one of the most important concepts to understand is that you always have more than one thing for sale, even if you only have one item truly for sale, and arguably even if you have nothing for sale.

That’s what I call the alternate sale. It’s something that represents an alternative to a transaction but has value. Think about the different commitments someone can make to you that don’t involve an immediate transaction: signing up for your email list. Following you on Twitter. Liking you on Facebook. Sharing a social media status update, especially one that’s got your primary sale in it. Subscribing to your blog.

Take a look at your website right now. How many of the actions that someone can take on any given page are valuable to you?

Christopher S. Penn : Awaken Your Superhero -

Now ask yourself this: how many of the alternate sale options on your website have been given prominence? How many have been given the same level of care, thought, and focus that your primary sale item has been given? I’d wager that the alternate sales on your website are probably distant seconds at best.

The worse sin than having underpowered, poorly-thought out alternate sales is having no alternate sale at all. For example, take a look at many of the marketing automation vendor websites. Everything on those sites above the fold is sale, sale, sale. Start a free trial, contact us, request a demo – and if I’m not looking to be harangued by a salesperson every day for the next 90 days, there isn’t anything else for me to dig into, no other way for me to demonstrate a commitment that might not be as good as a sale right now, but could be a sale later. I understand the practice of pushing your primary sale, but neglecting the alternate sale gives no other option for an interested prospect except to leave – and once they leave, the chances of them coming back aren’t great.

How much business are you losing right now from an underpowered or absent alternate sale? Think about it, test out the idea, and see an improved alternate sale makes a difference to your business.


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