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Many entrepreneurs are so focused on their current way of getting sales that they don’t realize there are alternatives. You can break down sales strategies into 2 broad categories: 1-to-1 and 1-to-many. By opening up new techniques for selling, you can increase your opportunities manyfold.

What does this mean?

Selling 1-to-1

Coaches, consultants, and businesses selling to other businesses commonly sell 1-to-1. In fact, 1-to-1 sales are common any time you’re selling high-priced products. You either network to meet people or get referrals and then you try to set up a 1-to-1 call. Networking used to be done by going to networking meetings and conferences but is now often done online. For example, you can search for likely clients on LinkedIn and start a conversation there, leading to a 1-to-1 call. This could be called a “prospecting-based” business.

Prospecting means identifying potential customers to communicate with them, usually 1-to-1, in the hopes of making a sale. Because the process is slow and time-consuming, it is usually used for higher-priced products and services. It wouldn’t be worth your time to do 1-to-1 selling for a $97 product.

Selling 1-to-many

1-to-many is a different way to sell and it’s common for content creators. Examples of 1-to-many selling are:

  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing,
  • Webinars/masterclasses
  • Speaking at other people’s events

This could be called an “audience-based” business because you are one person communicating with an audience (many people at a time).

When you have an audience, those who are interested will buy or respond in some way. Obviously, the bigger your audience (email list for email marketing or attendees for an event), the more chance you have to make sales.

The specific value of email is that you can stay in contact with your subscribers over time. They may not be ready to buy now, but may buy later on. When you speak with an audience or post on social media, unless you collect their email address, you may not have a way of contacting them later.

What about using both methods?

You can use a hybrid method, such as giving a webinar to an audience and then directing attendees to a 1-to-1 sales meeting.

Also, you can incorporate both ways of getting clients or customers into your business. For example, you may have a high-end coaching service that requires a 1-to-1 sales call. But you can also sell a lower-priced product that helps people to get to know you and your expertise so that they then feel comfortable spending more with you. For that product, you’ll want to use audience-based methods of marketing.

If this is a new idea for you, see my blog post, “Why coaches and consultants should create online products and courses.” The principle can also apply to larger businesses selling to other businesses.

You may grow a list of email subscribers using 1-to-many methods and use email to get people to buy a lower-priced product. Then you can invite those customers to a 1-to-1 meeting to see if they’re interested in your higher-priced services.

Or you could invite them to a masterclass and at the end, invite people to a 1-to-1 meeting.

The power of 1-to-many

There’s a special power of 1-to-many: You reach many more people at the start. Sometimes, people on your email list will buy from you after years! In the meantime, they’re either not ready, don’t trust you enough, are not sure where they’re going, etc.

It’s especially gratifying when you reach large numbers of people. For example, I once organized a web summit and we had just over 3,000 registrants from 97 countries. That was inspiring for me! Plus, that sudden jump in my email list really put my business on the map and was the foundation for many sales over the years, some of them through 1-to-many methods and some through 1-to-1 methods.

What’s the right direction for you?

It depends on your target market, your personal preferences, the types of products and services you offer (and their price), and what works. Sometimes you need to test different approaches. A hybrid approach can often get great results.

Here’s the thing: To use an audience-based approach, you need an audience. That means you need email subscribers. You’ll need:

  • A free offer available from an opt-in page to send people to
  • A bulk email service provider, such as MailerLite, BirdSend, ActiveCampaign, AWeber, etc.
  • A systematic process for bringing traffic to your free offer, including social media posts, partners, speaking, ads — there are lots of ways to bring traffic. See my blog post, “How to get free traffic to your website.”

My blog post, “How to create an opt-in page to grow your subscriber list,” explains in detail the process of creating an opt-in page that delivers a free offer.

Resources to get you started

Here are some free resources for you if you’re new to building an audience of email subscribers:

Next steps…

Please leave a comment or ask a question if you have one. And please use the social media sharing buttons, because others will also find this content valuable.

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    4 replies to "Two ways to get clients and customers:
    1-to-many vs 1-to-1"

    • Kelly Roan

      This is a great way to put into perspective how I really want to do my marketing. Before, I thought it’s just either 1-1 or 1 to many. I never thought of the hybrid type. That is really something to consider. Thank you!

    • Roger Mills

      How how priced a product should be if I’m going to sell 1-to-1? I’d appreciate any insight. Thank you!

    • Ginger Matthews

      I find 1 to many more effective for me. But I’m also thinking about exploring the 1-to-1 selling. I just need to come up with a high-priced item.

    • Ellen Finkelstein

      Roger, that’s a good question and the answer depends on the conversion rate and the time it takes to convert a sale. So, if you have a $5K coaching package and convert 50% of your 1-on-1 conversations 4 conversations a month will give you 2 sales ($10K a month) and it’s worth the time.
      But, if your conversion rate is 10%, then you’d need 20 conversations to make 2 sales and that might take you all month, with not much time left to take care of your existing and new clients. In that case, you might want to try a 1-to-many technique. So, you have to keep records and do the math.

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