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Turn Your Customers Into a Sales Force For Your Product or Service

No matter how large or small your company is, you could benefit
from more experts selling your product or service. Hiring and
training an in-house sales force is much too expensive for many
small businesses. Even larger firms that already have sizeable
sales departments could use help finding prospects and turning
them into paying customers.

The easiest and cheapest way to build your sales force is to give
customers a chance to promote your products and services.
Satisfied customers not only know all about what you sell, but
because they have tried your product themselves, they have
more credibility with prospects. A prospect believes when a
past customers says "Yes, I used it and it works great." No ad
or commercial can speak as powerfully.

Create A Simple Referral Program
Many customers will be delighted to tell friends about your
product or service. You only have to ask. Say "I'm glad
you got great results from our service. Please spread the word.
I would really appreciate it if you told a few people you know
who could also benefit from our service."

You can offer a discount to new customers referred by existing
customers. One store has a sign in the waiting area "Tell a
friend and you both save 10% on your next purchase. Ask for
details."

Start Your Own Affiliate Program
Back when Amazon.com was first staring out, founder Jeff Bezos
was at a party. A woman who had just gone through a divorce told
Bezos she wished she could sell Amazon's books about divorce from
her web site.

The wheels started turning inside Bezos' head. Back at the
office he worked with his programming staff to create software to
track sales that came from other people's web sites.

Today, affiliate systems like the one Amazon created are the
number one marketing method on the Internet. Services like
MyAffiliateProgram.com and SimpleAffiliate.com offer affordable
systems that are easy to set up. Your customers can paste a bit
of HTML code on their web pages, then any sale that comes from
their site is credited to their account.

Commissions can be based on a percentage of the purchase, a set
dollar amount, or a small fee for each person who clicks through
to visit your site. Most often, firms offer a percentage of sale
averaging around 20 percent. Kevin offers commissions up to $75
per sale at http://drnunley.com/affiliates.htm

Training Your Sales Force
A lot of web sites started big affiliate programs only to shut
them down a few years later. Customers don't automatically get
behind your affiliate program. Like any sales force, they need
training and constant encouragement.

Your affiliates will need clear instructions on how to set up
their affiliate links. Usually you can adapt these from the
instructions you get from your affiliate system provider.

Show affiliates how to promote their site and your links. The
most effective way to make sales is for affiliates to include
their link at the bottom of all their email messages. Show
members how to create a signature file in their email program.

Also take care to explain the difference between sending mail to
someone you know and spamming strangers. More than a few
affiliate programs have been derailed by members who spammed
without understanding what they were doing wrong.

Develop Your Marketing Materials
Affiliate members will need a series of marketing materials from
you. Have a professional writer create several sales letters
members can use in autoresponders. Provide an email letter
members can send when they are asked for more information. Also
give members a page of web copy to put on their sites.

Make your customer sales force a priority. Plan your strategy,
then work your plan consistently. Create a newsletter and
publicly congratulate members who make sales. Share member
success stories that could motivate other members to higher
sales. Roll out new products, services, or improvements from
time to time. They will give your members exciting new things to
sell and keep your affiliates energized.

About the Author

Ron Sathoff and Kevin Nunley provide affordable writing. See
their low-cost sales letters and web copy at
http://InternetWriters.com Reach them at
mailto:service@InternetWriters.com or 801-328-9006.

Ron Sathoff and Kevin Nunley