The advent of online selling is a blessing and a curse to many businesses, small ones in particular. While it has opened up businesses to more customers and helped in the face of the coronavirus pandemic it also brings with it a lot of new considerations which make operating in the online world a nightmare. One area of business that exemplifies this is selling. If you’ve been struggling with the shift to online selling or are considering it this is the article for you.

Online, offline and in between

Mastering online selling is very difficult to do if you have not mastered offline selling and this key.  The psychology and principles that are used in online selling are the same ones used in online selling. This is great if you know and understand those principles and not so great if you have no idea what I’m talking about. Understanding these principles will help you understand where your website, social media, content marketing, paid advertising and storytelling all come into the sales process.


We need to start at the beginning of the customer journey and that is your prospecting. The concern here is getting the attention and interest of people for your product and how we achieve that. This is where your advertising, search engine optimisation and general marketing activities come into play. You need to ask yourself “who are my ideal customers and where do I find them”?

Building rapport

Getting customers to click on your website or social media pages is good. Getting them to stay there long enough to develop an interest in your product is great. So how do we do this? We build rapport through user experience (in the case of websites), storytelling, content marketing and brand voice or messaging. You need to gear your business towards connecting with the customer. In an offline world, it is easier for customers to interact with your goods or the people behind your service. You will have to work harder in the online world. Assume the customer knows nothing about your product and provide as much detail and information as is possible.

Qualifying and informing your client

It is important to make sure that your product is the right fit for the customer. All that information you provide is to act as a qualifier. I dealt with a business once that has scant information on their products. They received enquiries in the 100s daily but they were converting poorly. Finally realising that the problem was in their qualification process. The lack of information meant prospects would contact for the smallest details and they mistakenly counted these enquiries as leads. You come online to broaden your horizons. You should also make use of the advantages provided online. Your goal should be what I call a “no contact” sale. Where a customer simply comes to you after seeing your website and social media to buy. No questions, no queries, no clarifications; they just hand you money.


A lot of people make websites that display their business or products and that is very different from making a website that sells your products. The big difference is usually in closing. Employing clear calls to action and smooth closing processes is important. If the customer looks at your website or social media how easy is it for them to buy? Always be closing, that’s your rule of thumb. If you have a website, I should buy from every page or at least one click away. If you’re on social media those CTA buttons should make it easy for me to buy.

Relationship building

What the internet has done is revolutionised communication. Therefore relationship building has become cheaper and much easier to achieve with the right approach. Save for the odd product that is a once-in-a-lifetime buy you want to build a relationship with customers that keeps them coming back for more or sending other people to your business. Instead of letting this happen by chance, you should incentivise it. The best businesses have the biggest sales back ends, which hasn’t changed in the switch to online.

The situation in Zimbabwe may have many people confused but customers ultimately buy value. They flock to its abundance and flee from its absence. Value isn’t only in the product but in the custodians of the product and that’s you! The business. The value you