How to Get Sales With Your Content (WITHOUT Selling)

Ever been accused of jumping into a relationship too quickly or saying too much on the first date?

Here’s a likely scenario:

You meet someone for the first time, a potential mate, and you like this person enough to see him/her again. You have a great first date—a second, maybe a third—and you think he/she may be “the one.”

On your 4th date, you accidentally bring up your newfound realization that marriage could be in your future and you expect reciprocation. You talk and talk and talk about how this person is “the one” and you have never been happier…

Immediately, your date storms up from his/her chair, runs away and is never to be heard from again.

Did you spot the problem?
Who starts planning for marriage after a 3rd date?

Even though you may never do this to your date, you may unknowingly be doing this with your content.

While marriage is much more of a commitment than your product sale, to potential customers, committing to buying something from you is not that much different emotionally.

Before potential customers make that commitment to work with you, they need to feel some sort of connection and trust, and feel that your product/service will solve their problems and be the solution they have been looking for.

They Don’t Care About You; Really, They Don’t

When potential customers interact with one of your online properties, they are only concerned with one thing…

THEIR needs

They don’t care about what you think about your product, how awesome it is or how much you want/need to sell it.

I know you love your product/service and you know it can solve your customers’ needs, but first-time prospects do not know that. And if you throw it in their face on day one to try to get sales—kind of like that needy person who popped the marriage question on the 4th date—you may chase them away.

To capture potential customers and get their undivided attention, they need to feel like THEY are your main focus.

THEIR needs…

THEIR problems…

THEIR issues…

How can you make life better for THEM?

Let’s dive into this deeper…

Build Trust First

When you land a sale, you are taking a customer’s precious time, hard-earned money and their TRUST, one of the biggest factors at play here.

If there is no trust, there is no sale. Click To Tweet

Consumers need to be courted, “wined and dined,” and become acquainted with you and your brand BEFORE they will open their wallets and buy. This is the essence of successful inbound marketing.

They need to be assured you are a legitimate company since they cannot see or physically interact with you online. They also need to feel comfortable enough to give you their time, money and emotions—all the elements that build trust.

Trust takes time.

Similar to an offline relationship, building a solid foundation of trust does not happen overnight.

The mistake some businesses make with their sales processes and copy is that they try to move straight to marriage (get the sale) before courting the customer.

child disgusted

Don’t do this. Pretty please, don’t do this.

The courting process NEEDS to happen because if there is no trust, there is NO sale.

Are you coming on too strong with your copy?
Are you piling on too much for prospects to process the first time they are exposed to your brand?

If you are not getting enough sales to scale your business, it may be time to re-assess your copy and your offering. With just a few tweaks, you could experience a positive increase.

Here are some tips:

Don’t Give Away the Farm

“Don’t Give Away the Farm” is an expression that means to hold back and not give it all away too soon.

Coming on too strong (like a 4th date marriage discussion) with your copy and offering too many options may not work in your best interest. Saying more is not always best.

You can actually “say more” by “saying less.”

I realize this may sound contradictory. If you are trying to build a long-term, valuable relationship, why would you want to say less? Don’t you need to communicate to build relationships?

Not exactly.

Have you ever been on a date and the person talked and talked and talked so much that you wanted to escape as quickly as possible?

Maybe the person came on too strong or they were so engrossed in their life that they did not take any time to show interest in yours. This is a one-way conversation and not the way to start off a relationship.

That is what happens with your customers if they are bombarded with too much copy and too many options, too soon. It becomes an overwhelming, one-sided conversation. This may cause your website visitors to bail.

Conversely, if you introduce yourself by displaying your desire to help your potential customers, focusing on their needs, and solving their deep issues without forcing a sale right away, your patience will pay off in the end.

Here is an example of a company that “massages” its customer-business relationship and doesn’t come on too strong right away.

Distilled agency

As you can see from the homepage, the first content potential prospects see is two simple sentences about the company and then a call to action to sign up for a newsletter.

Distilled could have went on and on about how long they have been in business, what they could offer potential clients and their best selling points. Distilled has many product offerings, loyal customers, years in the industry and plenty of things to brag about.

But, they didn’t. Why?

Because their goal with this top section of the homepage was to get prospects to the next step…and the next step only.

They aren’t asking for the prospect’s hand in marriage, they just want the second date. And the second date is getting prospects to sign up for their email newsletter.

In the newsletter is where Distilled will grow the relationship and build trust with the prospect until, eventually, this prospect becomes a customer. That is the courtship process.

Here is another example…

Hubspot offers various software solutions to businesses looking to attract, generate and close leads.

The main section of the homepage includes one main headline, a sub-headline, a call to action and one other statement right next to the call-to-action button:

Hubspot homepage

What is important to note here is that Hubspot is not selling its services outright, nor listing every feature and benefit right away on this homepage. If they did, it might turn people away because it’s too much commitment, too soon.

On this homepage, Hubspot’s only goal with its copy is to urge consumers to take the next step. And the next step is a free trial of their software products.

Once you click “Get Started” you land here:


Hubspot knows that if visitors clicked to get to this page, they want to know more and have moved into the next step of this process.

Now, from this page, Hubspot STILL does not “give away the farm.” They don’t even list the software’s many features. Their only goal is to either get prospects to schedule a demo or try the software for free.

At the top of the page, you can request a demo of the software. But, if that is even too much of a commitment, you can try out the software for free. If you scroll down on this same page, you will see this:


Now, in this section, we start to see some software features and benefits and a link to the free trials. Once people create an account to get a free trial, Hubspot will get their email and continue to massage the relationship via email, building trust along the way.

How to Start The Customer-Business Relationship the Right Way

Think about how you can start a relationship with potential prospects when they meet your brand for the first time. Then, craft your products and services and website copy to gently but succinctly massage that relationship and take them on a journey of courtship. If you scare them away too soon, that courtship will self-destruct.

Here are some simple questions to answer to ensure you are not scaring away your prospects. Remember, you need to build trust first.

  1. Can you offer something for free before you advertise a sale?

Consider offering a freebie to start the relationship off right. With the freebie, you can initiate the relationship by giving first instead of selling your products to potential customers before it’s time.

Step back and look at your products and services and determine if there are opportunities to start the relationship with a prospect where there is much less commitment involved (freebie in exchange for an email).

For example, if you offer software, consider a free trial similar to Hubspot. If you sell services, offer a free report or eBook. If you offer training or classes, consider giving away one free chapter or video as a trust gift to prospects.

Chris Kresser, a well-known health expert, offers a free eBook on his website. He has a clinic and also sells other products, but the first thing he offers is a free, in-depth eBook that helps his audience.

chris kresser lead offer

Notice how he speaks directly to his customers’ needs with the dropdown. I also imagine he is collecting data on his customers’ most pressing concerns. Win-win.

  1. How are you crafting your message?

Once you determine your product lineup, consider how you will promote it, taking into consideration the principles and the examples I offered here.

Keep it simple and “don’t give away the farm.” Avoid listing too much content that scares potential prospects away and makes them think you are trying to get them to commit too early. Just get them to the next step. Your goal is to wet their appetite and get them to give you a first date!

I like how Chris Kresser does this with his website. When you sign up to receive his eBook, you are taken to this page:

chris kresser thank you

With this page, Chris is targeting health care practitioners and offering a free email series. If someone is not a health care practitioner, he gives them the option to click away from the page.

If you click that you are not a health practitioner, Chris takes you to the page where you can download your eBook. But, on that page, he also includes 13 other free eBooks, ready to download. Talk about a great first date!

chris kresser ebooks

In his introductory email, he includes the download page again and offers a short video introduction to let people know a little about who he is and his mission.

chris kresser email

Notice in the text how he goes out of his way to tell people that there is no pitch and nothing to sign up for. He understands that popping the question too early will turn people away.

  1. What is the goal of every page of your website?

Use the principles we discussed here to review each page of your website and determine if you are giving away too much too soon.

Write down each page of your website and then list the MAIN goal of each page as it relates to what you are trying to communicate to visitors or what action you want them to take.

Are there more than one or two goals for each page?

If so, you may be saying too much and scaring prospects away.

Focus each page to not more than one or two goals. Then, craft your copy on that page to focus on ONLY that goal and nothing else. If Chris would have offered his practitioner email series right next to his free eBook, it could confuse visitors and decrease conversions. Each of his pages had one central goal and it led people to exactly where he wanted them to go (on his list).

Note: Your homepage may have more than one goal because it is the main hub of your website. When thinking about the goals of your homepage, consider the content “above the fold” (what users see without the need to scroll) as the section that should have one goal since that is the first section prospects will see when they land on your page.

man with hatTake Off Your Sales Hat

If you are practicing the principles of inbound marketing, you gain customers by giving to them first and allowing them to arrive at their own decision to buy from you. No coercion, period.

Don’t give away too much too soon, and take them on a journey of courtship, focusing on their needs and how you can help them at every stage.

People who are unfamiliar with your brand do not want to be sold to right away. Actually, they do not want to be sold to ever. But that’s a different blog post :).

They want to be “wooed” and they need to know they can trust you before they open their wallets.

If you want to learn more about these inbound marketing principles in more detail, Hubspot has a free video training series for its inbound marketing certification program. The videos are fantastic. I recommend you watch them if you haven’t already.

Keep the wedding bells on the shelf for a little while longer. That time will come. If you build the relationship right, you will not only hear wedding bells in the future, but you will gain loyal customers for life.


Owner at Lady Content
Jenna is the owner of Lady Content, a unique content creation company. Lady Content services B2B companies around the world, ensuring their online presence exceeds their company goals and positively impacts the audiences they serve.

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Skype: jenna.scaglione