#266: How to Nail Your Sales Message

Welcome to my newest Blogger Genius Podcast episode! Having a strong message is critical to any business’s success. But crafting the right message can be difficult, especially when if you’re trying to stand out.

That’s why I’m thrilled to have sales messaging strategist, Melissa Hartstine, with me on the show to share her insights on how to figure out who to target and how to create an effective message that will get people to buy.

Melissa has over a decade of experience in helping people develop messaging that resonates with their target audience, resulting in increased sales and customer engagement. In today’s conversation, Melissa share:

Whether you’re a blogger, marketer, or online entrepreneur, you don’t want to miss this episode because Melissa shares the exact steps she takes to help business owners find their perfect market-message fit.

In this episode, we talk about:

  • Why you not only need product-market fit but also market-message fit to be successful
  • Why offering a money-back guarantee is smart
  • Why you should believe in karma
  • Why you want to have one-on-one conversations with your audience and what the right questions are to ask them
  • And so much more!
How to Nail Your Sales Message | The Blogger Genius Podcast with Jillian Leslie

Show Notes:

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Intro 0:04
Welcome to the Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.

Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello, everybody. Welcome back to the Blogger Genius Podcast. I’m your host, Jillian Leslie. I am a serial entrepreneur, I have been building businesses with my husband since 2009 when we launched Catch My Party, the largest party ideas site on the web, go check it out if you need party ideas.

Jillian Leslie 0:32
Then we launched MiloTreeCart pop-up app that so many of you use to grow your social media followers and email subscribers. You can install it in 2 minutes on your blog. And now we have MiloTreeCart, the easiest, quickest way for bloggers to sell digital products and I love getting feedback like this.

Jillian Leslie 0:55
Somebody recently wrote, “I got an idea for another workshop yesterday and got it set up with my sales page ready to go in 20 minutes.” Love this. If you’re using MiloTreeCart and you’ve got a story like this, please send it to me, and I’ll share it on my podcast.

Jillian Leslie 1:12
For today’s episode, I have Melissa Hartstine on the show. And she is a messaging strategist. What she does is she helps people selling courses, programs, products, figure out who their target audience is and determine whether the message they’re putting out is the right one to get people to buy.

Jillian Leslie 1:33
Many people I talk to say selling is hard; selling is uncomfortable. But if you think about it through Melissa’s paradigm, you realize it’s just a couple of parts. And if you can get them to work together. It’s amazing how much success you have. I believe selling is a muscle. And if you can get good at it, it is amazing how much money you can make.

Jillian Leslie 1:56
So, if this is something you want to work on, definitely listen to this episode. So, without further delay, here is my interview with Melissa Hartstine.

Jillian Leslie 2:09
Melissa, welcome to the Blogger Genius Podcast.

Melissa Harstine 2:14
Thanks, it’s a joy to be here today.

What Is a Sales Messaging Strategist

Jillian Leslie 2:16
Would you share a little bit about how you got started? What you do and where you are today?

Melissa Harstine 2:25
Like many people, I’ve had a unique career path. Started out doing one thing started doing something different then did a different thing altogether and unexpectedly ended up where I am today.

Melissa Harstine 2:39
Started out as a journalist straight out of college, and I was working at this niche newspaper for the elderly. So, you can just picture like 22-year-old with Melissa knocking on the doors of people who are like my grandparents, and doing these interviews for the paper and they’re like, “Kid, how do you write for us old people, you’re so young.”

Melissa Harstine 2:59
And it’s fun looking back to see how that really helped me start to see the world through somebody else’s eyes. And understand someone whose experiences were so much different from my own, which is a key part of what I do today as a customer insight strategist.

Melissa Harstine 3:16
I also had a local brick and mortar marketing studio for a few years, where I was offering all kinds of services like website copy, social media management, writing newsletters and blogs, doing some design work. And that really taught me some of the strategy of how do all of these different marketing assets and tactics fit together into a really effective whole.

Melissa Harstine 3:41
Like many people in 2020, things were crazy. I’m taking my local buusiness online. And at the same time, I’m having to niche down what I’m doing, as I’m expanding geographically.

Melissa Harstine 3:53
And so, at that point, I started writing website copy and case studies, and stumbled into what I do now, which is doing customer interviews for the sake of figuring out where are there gaps between who your audience is and what you’re saying to them.

Melissa Harstine 4:13
What I found is that people who are selling courses or digital products, maybe it’s not selling as well as they would like it to. And so, they try all these different things to try to fix it.

Melissa Harstine 4:20
They create a TikTok channel and start dancing around on camera, because they’re like, I just need more eyeballs. Or they pay a copywriter $10,000 to rewrite their entire sales funnel, when in fact with a little bit of detective work, maybe there’s just one or two things that need to be tweaked.

Melissa Harstine 4:42
And if we can fix those things in a very focused way, then it’s going to have an incredible impact on sales conversions without as much time and money and effort invested.

To Sell Products Successfully You Need Product-Market Fit

Jillian Leslie 4:52
I think that is so brilliant. In fact, I talk a lot about this and you can tell me what you think. The idea of product-market fit. So, I’ve got a product. And again, chances are I’m in a niche. I know my niche. I know I’ve been told; I’ve got to find solutions for people who have problems.

Jillian Leslie 5:13
And then I create a product. And then I put it out there and I too talk to so many bloggers and entrepreneurs who say, “Wait minute, this was supposed to work, and it didn’t work. And I’m frustrated.” And I always say this, I want to get in bed and feel really sad for a couple of days.

Jillian Leslie 5:32
And maybe I don’t know my audience, or maybe I don’t know my niche. And there’s tremendous self-doubt. But I think that they have so much expectation that what they’re putting out there is exactly what people are looking for, or that it’s written in the same language or that it speaks to them.

Jillian Leslie 5:52
And I agree with you a lot of times, it’s a disconnect. And where do you see that? How do I find out where the disconnect is?

Melissa Harstine 5:52
Exactly, and I think there are two phases to this. The first phase is what you just mentioned, which is product market fit. You’re putting it out there in the world, for the first time. You think people are going to want it and pay money for it. That’s the key thing. People may want it, but they may not pull out their wallets.

Why You Also Need Market Message Fit

Melissa Harstine 6:20
Once you’ve found that product market fit, once you’ve sold it several times, and you know it’s a validated offer something people want, then you can move into the next step, which is the part that people usually forget. And that is market-message fit. And that’s the piece I really specialize in.

Jillian Leslie 6:37
Can I steal that? Market-message fit.

Melissa Harstine 6:39
Please do.

Jillian Leslie 6:40
I love that. Let’s talk about what that is.

Melissa Harstine 6:43
So, once you have this validated offer, like I said someone is going to buy it, pay money for it. The next step is really like what you and I’ve talked about niching down more and more, you almost want to like niche down your message.

Melissa Harstine 6:54
So, that you’re speaking to more of your best and perfect fit customers in a way that they know like, “Yes, this is for me, this is what I want. This is what I need.” And I can actually share an example of a time that that wasn’t the case for myself.

Melissa Harstine 7:14
I was just thinking about this this morning about this course that I bought last fall that left me absolutely frustrated and disappointed. It was something for a business skill that I was trying to develop at the time, and just recently come across this guy on LinkedIn and was loving his posts, his content he was putting out there, he was really engaging.

Jillian Leslie 7:35
What business skill? Because everybody in the audience is going to say, what was the business skill that she was purchasing?

Melissa Harstine 7:41
I was trying to figure out how to change the way that I am presenting my strategic recommendations and insights in my research reports that I’m creating for my audience. So, it was very specific to my industry, basically trying to just get a better template or process for how I do what I do.

Melissa Harstine 8:04
And so, when I was hearing about this course, I was really excited, because it sounded like that was what he was teaching. And there was this time sensitive offer. It’s only available to this point, I was coming up close to that deadline when I heard about it.

Melissa Harstine 8:19
And I didn’t want to make this rash decision, like this impulsive decision. So, I started messaging him like, “What is included in the course? Are you teaching on this specific thing I’m needing help with? Can I have lifetime access?” And he’s like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

Melissa Harstine 8:25
I bought it immediately dived in, I can still picture where I was sitting at my kitchen table, and realized, only like the last five minutes of that 90-minute course had to do with the thing that I wanted to learn. It was in such simple basic terms. It wasn’t what someone like me who was a little bit more advanced in this topic needed to hear.

Melissa Harstine 8:54
And I was so disappointed because I was reading these messages he was putting out there and I thought it was for me, but it really wasn’t for me, it was for more like a beginner or earlier stage person that was learning about this topic and his offer promise wasn’t clear.

Jillian Leslie 9:12
How much did it cost you? And two, was there any guarantee? And three, did you return it if there was?

Melissa Harstine 9:16
It was $100. And it was once you bought it, you bought it. There was no way out of it. And I actually afterwards had to justify it in my mind. I’m like, okay, well, I just spent this money, was it worth it? Did I learn one thing that I could apply in my business? Yeah, that’s true.

Melissa Harstine 9:40
I shouldn’t have to talk myself into feeling like this was a good purchase when it wasn’t. And I think that’s the other key thing is when you find this market-message fit, it actually helps you improve your customer experience as well.

Melissa Harstine 9:54
Because imagine if I had bought that and it was wonderful, I loved it. I’m going to go tell my friends and say, “Hey, bestie you need this thing too this is great for your business.” And then she goes and tells another person. I actually unfollowed this guy on LinkedIn and unsubscribed from his emails.

Melissa Harstine 10:11
Not right away just because I was like, dude, this guy says one thing, and he’s doing something else he’s not delivering on what he promised, I don’t want to be part of that. He lost a follower, he lost potential referral partner, because he wasn’t clear on who his thing was for and what it delivered.

Sales Strategy: Offer a 100% Money Back Guarantee

Jillian Leslie 10:28
And by the way, I just want to stop for a second because I talk about this a lot, which is please offer a guarantee, please do that. I was just talking about MiloTreeCart before we pressed record, and it’s like, we charge $349. It’s a lot of money.

Jillian Leslie 10:47
And so, we’re like, we believe in our product, and people tell us how much they like it and use it. But we’re like, hey, we will make this risk free for you. We will offer a 30-day, no questions asked money back guarantee, because I want you to feel safe. Maybe it’s not right for you. Maybe it’s not what you were looking for.

Jillian Leslie 11:10
Maybe you don’t have the time to invest in it. Who knows. But I want always to stand by what I do. And to make sure maybe it’s not in the fine print. It’s right there. So, when you buy it, you feel comfortable. Because in case my message- market fit is imperfect. I want to rectify that. What is your thought about that?

Melissa Harstine 11:34
I love that. I think that’s such a smart strategy. And I wish that had been available for me in this case.

Jillian Leslie 11:40
Yes. Because I can tell, you don’t seem like a bitter person. But I bet you that left a bad taste in your mouth.

Melissa Harstine 11:48
Oh, yeah, absolutely.

Why You Should Believe in Karma as an Online Business Owner

Jillian Leslie 11:49
And this is again, I believe in karma in online business. I do. Because you don’t know, you were just saying, if you loved it, you would have shared it, you would have probably built a relationship with this guy. You would have been one of his biggest fans.

Melissa Harstine 11:49
Exactly. And I think that’s it, it’s like people can become your brand evangelists, which is also a really effective marketing strategy, if you can deliver what you promised to the person that you say it’s for.

Jillian Leslie 12:21
So, let’s continue on. You gave this example of where message-market fit did not work, you bought something you thought you knew what it was, and it wasn’t. Talk to me about how to find that.

Know Your Sales Conversion Metrics

Melissa Harstine 12:35
What I always recommend that people start with is, after you launch something new, or if it’s on an evergreen sales, it’s always available, you can just do this once a quarter or something, do a little debrief and just figure out what your conversion metrics are.

Melissa Harstine 12:53
Let’s use a really simple funnel here, just as an example, let’s say you have some kind of an opt-in, like a freebie that you’re offering to give people just a tiny little taste about this product that you’re selling. And maybe 500 people saw the landing page for that freebie. One hundred people downloaded it and opted in.

Melissa Harstine 12:53
And then a second stage is that you’ve invited them to this webinar where they can hear more, you’re teaching a little bit you’re telling them about your offer. And then finally, the last step is they’re invited to visit a sales page and make a purchase.

Melissa Harstine 13:06
If you can figure out at each of those three stages, how many people saw it, how many people said, yep, I’m in. I want to download the freebie, I want to attend the webinar, I want to buy the thing, and then divide that, that gets you your conversion rate. Now, here’s the key part.

Jillian Leslie 13:44
Can we do the math? So, 1,000 people come and let’s say 10 people buy.

Melissa Harstine 13:53
I’m not a math person on this.

Jillian Leslie 13:54
One percent.

Melissa Harstine 13:57
Exactly. So basically, let’s just say that 1%, made this purchase from your webinar to your sales page, if the standard conversion rate for a sales page is 2% to 3% then you know this is below average, but it’s like 40% to 50% of people went from your opt-in to your webinar that’s actually above average.

Melissa Harstine 14:20
So, you can see if this is above average, but this is way below average that’s where I need to focus that’s what I need to figure out. And so, from there do a little bit of detective work. What I love to do especially if you’re really clear on who are your best customers for this product.

Melissa Harstine 14:38
Let’s say it’s intermediate bloggers and content creators, you’re selling a measurement dashboard, a tool that can help them figure out how these things are performing. Looking through your sales page headlines, one-by-one and thinking, who is this speaking to?

Messaging Tip 1: Who Are the Best Customers for Your Product?

Melissa Harstine 14:55
Is it for my best customer an intermediate blogger or content creator, or is this headline actually speaking to someone else? This happened recently with me with a project I was working on where half of her sales page was actually saying things like, if this is the year that you’re finally making money from your content for the first time.

Melissa Harstine 15:18
That’s speaking to more of a beginner. And so, in that case as she is auditing her sales page headlines going through them one-by-one and saying who was this speaking to. It became very clear that the reason people weren’t buying is because the product was for an intermediate or advanced person, and the copy was speaking to a beginner.

Melissa Harstine 15:36
So, that was where she knew, this is where I need to figure out how to realign my audience with my message.

Get the MiloTreeCart Digital Product Personality Quiz

Jillian Leslie 15:42
I want to take a short break to say that while Melissa and I are talking all about selling, you might be saying, “Oh, but I don’t even have a product yet.” No problem, grab my quiz. It’s a personality quiz. And it will inform you what type of digital product to start with, whether that be a paid workshop, a digital download, or coaching.

Jillian Leslie 16:08
So, go to milotreecart.com/quiz. It’s really fun. And there are other resources attached. So, go get that and then start building your digital product empire. And now back to the show.

Jillian Leslie 16:22
I don’t know about you, I noticed this even in my own sales copy, I get really close to it, and I almost can’t see it. It’s like I need to hire you to have that objective vision to step back and go wait, because I think I talked about this a lot, which is we’re in ourselves.

Jillian Leslie 16:44
And sometimes, I noticed, I’m working on something for MiloTreeCart, let’s say, and I have to have my Head of Marketing, read it. Because I go, I’m way too close to this. And yet if you show me your stuff, I can see it immediately.

Jillian Leslie 17:04
And then people think I’m a genius. And I go, “I’m not a genius. I’m just not that invested. Or close because I struggle with the exact same thing.”

Get Other People to Read Your Sales Copy

Melissa Harstine 17:16
I do as well. I had to recently hire someone to do for me what I do for others for that same reason I could see all the pieces, but I couldn’t make sense of them. And I couldn’t figure out which one is the most important because I’m too close to it like you said.

Jillian Leslie 17:31
How do you deal with that? Because I think that will be like, no, no, my messaging is good. It’s the people, you know what I mean? Like, it’s somehow it’s them or somehow I’m like a loser and can’t sell what I think would help that.

Have One-on-One Conversations with Your Audience

Melissa Harstine 17:47
I think a key piece of it is hearing feedback straight from your customers’ mouth. I’m a huge proponent of not just making decisions for updating your marketing strategy, your content, your copy, based on a gut impression, or wishful thinking, but actually having these one-to-one conversations with your audience to hear from them.

Melissa Harstine 18:10
So, whether it’s you as a business owner doing it, or ideally that outsider, like you mentioned, because they can see things that you can’t, but starting to figure out like what is it specifically that led them to this place where they started considering buying something like mine.

Melissa Harstine 18:25
Because it’s not just they show up and they’re ready to buy today, there’s this whole journey, this whole series of things of thoughts of decisions of desires that led them to that moment in time where they’re like, “Yeah, I’m ready to buy, I need this, this is what I want.”

Melissa Harstine 18:30
I also think that having these one-to-one conversations can help you get clear on what your offer promises, what specifically are people doing or learning or taking away by using your course, your product, whatever it is that you’re selling, because if you can get really clear on the outcomes, then you can also be really clear in your copy your sales assets.

Melissa Harstine 19:06
Again, speaking to that perfect fit buyer who’s looking for exactly that thing is that you need.

How to Nail Your Sales Message | The Blogger Genius Podcast with Jillian Leslie

Sell the Transformation for Your Customer

Jillian Leslie 19:12
So, I think what you’re saying tell me if this resonates, we get very involved in what our product is. And I forget this myself to think about the transformation. Me in the future after I purchased your product. It’s not that I’m in love with your product. I’m in love with how you’re going to make me feel how my life is going to get better.

Jillian Leslie 19:38
And I think as we make products as I coach people about creating digital products, I think I’m so caught up in my product, I lose sight of saying, how are you going to be better at the end of this and how do I message that to you and eventually tell you here are the modules or here’s what you were asking this guy in terms of his course.

Jillian Leslie 20:02
It’s like the outcome of the transformation. I feel like that has to be our guiding principle. And a lot of times when I lose sight, you were saying, like it’s too close and almost like you’re mucked up, you’ve lost the through line. It’s like stepping back and saying, start with the transformation. And the feelings, the feelings.

Melissa Harstine 20:29
I think that’s such a good point, because it’s easy to capture what I call the demographics. It’s like those external observable traits, like, this person is a female blogger in her 30s. And she shops at Target, and she has a messy bun and yoga pants.

Melissa Harstine 20:45
But the thing that’s really going to power your content and make it impactful and help sell it is when you can get into the psychographics. Those are like the feelings, the beliefs, the desires, those intangible things that you can’t actually see.

Melissa Harstine 21:00
But if you ask people the right questions, if you observe the right things out in the wild, you can figure out what those internal motivators and desires and beliefs and feelings are, and speak to them in your sales copy. Again, where that magic happens.

Melissa Harstine 21:15
That’s where you take something that’s selling, okay. But that’s how you really dial it in for more conversions and more sales and really take it to that next level.

Jillian Leslie 21:25
Yes. And by the way, I say this a lot too, which is get on calls with people be awkward, it’s uncomfortable to say, “Hey, could I talk to you?” And it’s funny, I’ll reach out to somebody and be like, “Can we get on a call?” And they don’t believe me, they’re like, wait, what you want to talk to me.

Jillian Leslie 21:41
And it’s not like, you have to do a ton of them. You just get on a call with three people and ready. It’s hard to get people to do that, to spend their time doing it. So, maybe give them a $10 gift certificate to Starbucks. It’s amazing how that can motivate people.

Jillian Leslie 22:01
And let’s say you don’t have an audience, but you know what, maybe you’re in a Facebook group in your niche, and you start to talk to somebody who’s got a problem that might be related. And you go, “Hey, can I talk to you?”

Jillian Leslie 22:15
And I find that those guerilla marketing strategies can work successfully. They’re not easy to scale, you might not get on 100 calls, but I bet you could get on two or three.

Talk to People Who Don’t Buy

Melissa Harstine 22:28
And it’s amazing what you can learn just from these few calls. The other audience base that I like to tap into when I’m doing these types of conversations is people who maybe sent me a DM and inquired about my product or my service, but they didn’t actually buy, because there’s so much you can learn.

Melissa Harstine 22:45
Maybe they just weren’t clear, they thought this thing about whatever you’re selling, but that actually wasn’t true. And all you have to do is just clarify that and someone like them would be like, “Yeah, this is for me in the future.”

Melissa Harstine 23:02
Here’s a specific example, from a project I worked on last summer. This gal, my client was setting up Dubsado account. It was a service, but she was setting up Dubsado accounts for photographers. And she had this person that inquired about her service three or four times and she’s like, “What’s up with that? Why is she not buying, I know, it would be a great fit for her.”

Melissa Harstine 23:25
So, when I interviewed that prospect, what I found out is she had a bunch of young kids, and she was actually not interested in growing her photography business. Therefore, it didn’t make sense to spend money to have someone set up this CRM system for her.

Melissa Harstine 23:42
And my client was just blown away of like, oh my gosh, that makes so much more sense now, because she kept inquiring, she kept inquiring and not buying, those are the types of things that you can learn by having conversations with people that didn’t convert into a sale.

Jillian Leslie 23:55
And also, I am a big believer in listening to the words that people are using, because I have my own nomenclature. I have my own shorthand, or I might call it a conversion. And people who would be, let’s say, buying MiloTreeCart, don’t know what a conversion is.

How to Nail Your Sales Message | The Blogger Genius Podcast with Jillian Leslie

Watch Out for the Curse of Knowledge

Jillian Leslie 24:16
There’s this thing called “curse of knowledge”, where I think everybody knows what I know, because I know it. And it doesn’t seem that special. Therefore, I can overestimate where they are, and speak in language that might not make sense to them. And when I hear it in their words, use that in your copy.

Melissa Harstine 24:43
Exactly. And I even find myself today self-editing my words because I’m not exactly sure what terms your audience is used to using when talking about conversions and funnels and launches and all of this thing, I want to make sure that my language is accessible to the reader to the listener.

Melissa Harstine 25:02
And that’s just as important in a conversation as it is on your marketing and your sales assets. Again, a really simple thing that by incorporating your customers language, not just your own, can help improve your conversion rates and your sales.

Jillian Leslie 25:15
Here’s a question for you. Let’s say I sell a product. And I noticed that I have a lot of moms who have preschool aged kids. And then I also am selling the same product. And I noticed I have a lot of real estate agents, something just random. How would you recommend I speak? Do I speak to everybody?

How to Speak to Different Types of Customers

Jillian Leslie 25:37
Do I create certain content for the toddler moms and certain content for the real estate agents and is it a good thing that I’ve discovered that I have these two populations, two types of people that buy my product? How would you deal with that?

Melissa Harstine 25:54
I think the first step is trying to figure out why is each population, each audience segment buying this this product. Because maybe there’s some overlap that you’re not aware of that by talking with them having these one-on-one conversations we talked about earlier you’ll be able to discover this is the thing that both groups are wanting.

Jillian Leslie 26:14
Or maybe you think agents have toddlers.

Melissa Harstine 26:18
Yes, exactly. Or maybe you figure out it’s actually completely different. And in that case, you may want to have two tracks of content if you’re putting out emails or social media content, for example, to get people interested in what you’re selling. Half of your content is speaking to the moms, the toddlers and half of it is to the real estate agents.

Melissa Harstine 26:39
And maybe you even have two different sales pages because I think that the more specific you can get in your copy, the better it’s going to perform, the better your sales are. And part of that specificity is knowing who you’re speaking to, and why they’re buying.

Melissa Harstine 26:56
It may just be worth the extra effort to create two different sales pages and send people to there.

Jillian Leslie 27:01
I feel like people’s instinct is to want to talk to everybody. I don’t want to just sell to real estate agents, my product could be for anybody. What’s your thought about that?

Melissa Harstine 27:14
I think that’s a really common feeling and thought, but I think in the end, it’s going to limit your sales potential. Because when you’re trying to talk to everybody, and you’re casting a really broad net, you’re probably actually selling to fewer people than you would if you were more specific.

Melissa Harstine 27:33
If I told you I’m a marketer, would you just assume that I could do something for you. But if I say I’m a marketer, who helps course creators, find and close the gaps in their audience message fit, especially if they’ve seen a decrease in their sales as their most recent launch. See how specific that is?

Melissa Harstine 27:55
And the right person is going to know that’s exactly it. That’s what I need. Versus if I just said, I’m a marketer, it could be like, oh, do you help me create a TikTok channel? Do you help me design my website? Do you help me with all of these things?

Melissa Harstine 28:09
It’s a way to really honestly, just work smarter, not harder, when you are speaking to more of the right person.

Jillian Leslie 28:17
Here’s your question, do I need to hire you? Could I do this on my own?

Melissa Harstine 28:21
I think you could do it on your own. I think what you mentioned earlier is that having an outsider perspective, they’re going to be able to see things that you may not see yourself, because you’re just too close to it, you’ve been doing it too long. It’s that curse of knowledge.

Melissa Harstine 28:40
And so, I think if you want to DIY it, you could follow some of the steps that we talked about, figuring out what are my conversion rates at different points in my funnel? Where is there a leak? Where are those conversion rates dropping? And then going through your copy and auditing it figuring out who is it speaking to.

Melissa Harstine 28:59
Where is it misaligned? What do I need to fix? That’s the high-level steps. It is possible, I highly recommend working with someone like myself to be able to really pull out those nuances that you’re maybe not able to see because you’re too close to it.

Jillian Leslie 29:19
I get that. Here’s a question. Where do you see the holes? Are there specific places? Let’s say it’s after somebody has done the opt-in, but you can’t get them to this or it’s right there at the final sale. Where are you seeing people fall down?

Melissa Harstine 29:38
I think it really depends. It’s all of the above. I had a client who said, oh, my gosh, my sales are tanking. This was a gardening course, and their opt-in were for people who had a hobby, they were interested in learning how do I create this beautiful design with the flowers I’m pulling out of my garden.

Melissa Harstine 30:04
But the course itself was actually for people that wanted to start a gardening business. So, their problem was that earlier in the funnel, their opt-in was for hobbyists, the thing they were selling was for people that wanted to business, there was a disconnect there.

Melissa Harstine 30:22
Basically, I think it just happens anywhere in the funnel, and it’s just important to pay attention.

Jillian Leslie 30:28
And let’s say I get somebody on a call. Or like, we’re talking in DM, let’s say, this will take 15 minutes. I have 15 minutes, what would you be asking somebody?

Questions to Ask Potential Customers

Melissa Harstine 30:44
The question I always recommend starting with is, take me back to the day, when you first realize that you want support with XYZ, whatever that thing is, that your product or course is doing, what was happening?

Melissa Harstine 30:56
Because by asking that really specific question, I think a lot of times, if you ask people why did you buy this? They may not know, or they may just give you some generic answer. But if you can ask that really specific question like, take me back to a moment in time, when you first started thinking about this.

Melissa Harstine 31:14
They start to verbal process and be like, oh, I was doing this thing. And then I started thinking about this thing. And then I realized, oh yeah, this type, of course, or product could be really helpful for me. It helps you to tap into that entire customer journey.

Melissa Harstine 31:28
One of the other questions I like to ask is, give me an example of something that you’re able to do now that you couldn’t do before you bought this product or service, because what that really shows you is that transformation, we were talking about earlier. This is what they’re actually able to do, or how they’ve changed or what their life is like, as a result.

Melissa Harstine 31:50
And those are the types of benefits or outcomes that can really improve your sales copy. One of the other questions I like to ask is, was there anything that almost kept you from purchasing this? Because what that starts to bring up is, where is there friction in the buying process? What’s going through their mind as they’re making this decision?

Melissa Harstine 32:10
Is there anything if you could just address it in your FAQs on your sales page, for example, or do like a mini content series around it, that you could just remove that friction. And then basically, that wouldn’t be an issue for your future buyers.

Jillian Leslie 32:25
I think those are such great ways at coming at your product. But from the perspective of the buyer. Again, I think that we are so in ourselves looking outward. And we don’t personalize the customer enough. They’re just customers. They’re not necessarily people.

Melissa Harstine 32:51
It’s like I shared earlier, when I was working as a journalist, and talking with these people who are my grandparents age, I had to learn how to see the world through their eyes.

Melissa Harstine 32:57
And it’s like, I can make all of these assumptions about who my customers are about why they buy about what they want. But until I actually talk to them, I don’t actually know I’m just making educated guesses. But yeah, you’re exactly right, writing copy in a way it’s through your buyers point of view, and your buyers’ perspective is what gets results.

Jillian Leslie 33:26
And sometimes we solve a problem that we’ve experienced. So, we therefore put ourselves and our own life onto them, we project without even knowing we’re doing that. Let’s say, I want to lose weight. I know what my issues are. But there might be somebody else who wants to lose weight. And it’s a totally different reason.

Jillian Leslie 33:46
We might want to get to the same result. But yet, I’m seeing it from my perspective, it’s very difficult to be able to go oh, how do you see this?

Melissa Harstine 33:46

Jillian Leslie 33:47
How do I get past though that barrier, like, somebody is going to listen to this, I think and say, yeah, sounds really good, but not take the step to actually start finding people to talk to, because they know it’s hard. It’s embarrassing, and it’s weird. What would you say?

Melissa Harstine 34:17
I think that there’s going to be a huge return on that investment of time and effort and awkwardness, you really are going to see an improvement in your conversion rates and your sales rates as a risk as a result of having those insights straight from your buyers mouth.

Melissa Harstine 34:37
If the thing that’s awkward is just asking people, maybe just let them know, as you’re sending out that invitation. Start by identifying three people that you want to talk to, as you’re crafting that email invitation to ask them to speak with you.

Melissa Harstine 34:56
Let them know that it’s really going to be helpful for you because I think people are generous, they want to help others. And if you can explain why and how it’s going to be helpful, they’re going to be more likely to respond.

Melissa Harstine 35:07
I found that even just by sharing maybe three of the questions that I’m going to ask in that email invitation, people are more likely to respond, because they know what they’re getting into. It’s not just like, oh, my gosh, are they going to ask me to tell my entire life story or reveal my deeper secrets? You know what I mean?

Melissa Harstine 35:23
I don’t want to share all of the questions, because then people tend to over prepare, or they say what they think I want them to say versus what they actually say. I think that capturing people’s candid feedback is really important. But just sharing three questions really greases the skids, and makes it easier for people to say yes to the invitation.

Melissa Harstine 35:44
And I love what you shared earlier, offering a $10 Starbucks gift card, for example, or I’ve seen someone offer a donation to a charity that they’re passionate about, that their audience is passionate about too as a thank you for the time. And also, just to get more people to say yes, I absolutely think it’s worth it to have those conversations.

Jillian Leslie 36:03
So, if I hire you, you go do those interviews.

Melissa Harstine 36:08
Exactly. I do the interviews; I help people figure out who to even be talking to. And also, write the interview questions. And the other key piece of it, too, is making sure that those interviews are recorded, so that you can go back and listen to them later.

Melissa Harstine 36:24
And really capture your customers words, because if you’re sitting there trying to take a bunch of notes, while someone’s talking, it’s just awkward. They think you’re not paying attention, you’re missing things that are important.

Melissa Harstine 36:34
But recording that and creating a transcript, you’re able to really capture and document those exact words, those exact feelings, those exact insights.

Jillian Leslie 36:44
When I’m done writing the copy. And let’s say it’s specific for toddler moms, how do I keep it short, but yet be able to say toddler mom, I’m talking to you?

Melissa Harstine 36:59
I think that’s easy to do, especially when we’re writing our own copy. Because, again, we’re too close to it, we see everything we think everything is important. But by talking and having these interviews with your customers, maybe you start to realize, these three themes came up over and over again, like they are the most important thing.

Melissa Harstine 37:19
So, things that are top of mind for my audience. I’m going to get rid of all this other fluff, on my sales page in my pre- launch content. And I’m just going to speak to these three things over and over, and maybe one of your customers have this really, quippy witty little phrase that just zinzi just grabs you.

Melissa Harstine 37:36
You can take that exact phrase and turn it into a headline or a hook on an Instagram post, for example. And again, that’s a prime way that you take your customers words, and turn them into copy that connects and converts.

Jillian Leslie 37:50
That’s great. So, it’s prioritized what they’re saying to you. And even though again, you know, that they’re going to get all these PDFs, and you’re going to solve all these problems for them really hone in based on what they’re telling you.

Melissa Harstine 38:02
Yes, focusing on transformation on benefits on outcomes, not just the features, not just the, you get this, you get that you get that, it’s like, why does that matter? I think that’s probably the most important reason to do these interviews is to dig into why because you can know all the what in the world, you can know all the facts.

Melissa Harstine 38:21
But until you know why people do the things that they do, why they make the purchases that they make, why they want the things that they want, then your copy is just going to fall flat, and you’re not going to get the result that you want in terms of sales.

Jillian Leslie 38:21
I love that. Melissa, if people are listening to this going, “Oh my God, I need that.” I need that outside perspective, those new eyes on what I’m doing, because I am too close to it. How can people reach out to you learn more about you? Connect with you?

Melissa Harstine 38:55
So, you can visit my website, which is melissahartstine.com.

Jillian Leslie 39:01
Spell it.

Melissa Harstine 39:02
M-E-L-I-S-S-A H-A-R-S-T-I-N-E, Melissa Hartstine rhymes with pine. Once you visit my website, there’s a green button in the top right that says “Book a Call.” And so, if you do that, you can find a time to chat with me. I’d love to just learn more about you and what you’re offering and the challenges that you’re facing when it comes to sales and conversions.

Melissa Harstine 39:31
So, that’s the best way to do that. The other thing you can do is connect with me on LinkedIn or Instagram at Melissa Hartstine creative.

Jillian Leslie 39:39
Awesome. Well, I have to say, I feel like we all need to hear this the messages that you have shared over and over again. So, I’m so happy that you came on the show to share this.

Melissa Harstine 39:51
Well, thank you for inviting me. It’s been a blast to be here today.

Jillian Leslie 39:54
I hope you guys liked this episode with Melissa. My biggest takeaway is I talk a lot about product-market fit, how to make sure your product is something that people want to buy. But this takes it to a whole new level and is all about market-message fit. And what I think is interesting is, both of these are trial and error, you got to put it out there.

Jillian Leslie 40:18
And then you’ve got to tweak and refine and talk to people. And that’s how you have success selling online. So, when you see somebody who is tremendously successful, know that they’ve done it just like this.

Jillian Leslie 40:33
If you are serious about selling digital products, so that you can turn on a whole new income stream and make more money. Please get on a call with me, and we’ll talk about your strategy. I’ll tell you a little bit about MiloTreeCart. But no hard selling. This is really for me to help you clarify your thinking, and we can brainstorm together.

Jillian Leslie 40:57
This sounds interesting. Please go to milotree.com/meet Because I would love to meet you. And I will see you here again next week.

Other related Blogger Genius Podcast episodes you’ll enjoy:

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