How sales is too salesy?

All marketing is sleazy until you’re the market.  I was recently on a group call with some copywriter buddies. We were doing a hotseat thingy; taking turns telling the group our business challenges and having the group solve them.

Someone said something to the effect of, “I want to sell without sounding too salesy.” I’m paraphrasing but you get the gist. To which I asked, “how salesy is too salesy? Is there like, a line where ‘up to here is not salesy enough’ and beyond here is way too salesy?” No one could give me a a straight answer. Here’s the best they could do: “It just feels icky.” Please shoot me in the face right now.

Let’s put aside, for a moment, a bunch of professional marketeers deciding what to do based on highly subjective icky-ness. It flies in the face of the fundamentals of direct response. The complexity of your sales messaging (aka how hard you sell) depends on many factors. And without getting too into the weeds, they boil down to the following:

  • Your customer’s level of awareness
  • Your customer’s level of sophistication

HOW you communicate with your audience changes the more aware and sophisticated your customers are.

Are you sending cold, paid traffic to a reasonably low-cost product for a one-off purchase to extract as many sales as possible? Well you better sell the samosa out of it. Are you building a legacy brand that will stand for generations? Then you need a softer touch to build long-term relationships with your customers.

Whatever your business model, your sales messaging is predicated on one thing: Understanding your customer. Research research research. That’s why it’s incompetent for marketers to say something is “too salesy” based on their feelings.

First, you are not your customer. Second, If your customer NEEDS a hard sell, and you DON’T sell hard enough, you lose. You’ll likely end up going out of business. What’s more, you are doing a customer a disservice and potentially harming them by not selling your product the way it needs to be sold. And that is a profound ethical failing many of these “I want to sell without being too salesy” types utterly fail to comprehend.

P.S. BFCM is coming up. You may save up to 50% or more on a shizzleton of offers. But you’ll save AT LEAST 100% if you exercise some self-discipline and avoid Girl Math.

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