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Cyber Monday is totally rewriting the selling playbook

When you get down to the heart of sales, people are only buying for one reason: to improve their lives. If you look at the sale through that prism – whether you’re buying or selling – everything gets a lot simpler and easier to see.

It’s also a good way to look at one of the most lucrative days of the year: Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday was originally a marketing concept that first showed up on the scene in 2005. It was basically created as an online answer to Black Friday, where companies would lower their prices for online shopping bargains customers could only get once a year. In 2015, 10 years after it started, Cyber Monday netted companies $2.8 billion in total sales. A year later, that number jumped up to $3.5 billion. We just had our 2017 Cyber Monday on Nov. 27, which means we have the latest figures. And they are… stunning.

This year, Cyber Monday generated $6.6 billion, nearly twice what it generated last year. We have a healthy economy at least partially to thank for that number, but it’s also become an ingrained part of our consumer society now. Mobile-driven purchases alone hit $1.6 billion, and that market barely even existed 10 years ago.

Why is Cyber Monday such a big deal these days? It’s easy to say it’s because we’re an online culture, and that’s at least partially true. Think about how many of your waking hours you spend online in an average week and it’s probably the vast majority for a huge part of the country. So of course it’s natural we buy a lot of our goods on the world wide web as well.

But I think there’s a deeper sales message than just convenience that we need to see in Cyber Monday’s success. And that’s that companies have done a great job in getting customers to buy on a want-to basis, not a have-to basis. That’s exactly what we teach our clients through our Warrior Selling program.

So here are the top-selling items this past Cyber Monday.

  • Google Chromecast
  • Apple iPads
  • Samsung Tablets
  • Apple AirPods
  • Sony Playstation VR
  • Super Mario Odyssey
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Microsoft Xbox One X
  • PJ Masks
  • Hatchimals Colleggtibles
  • Funko Pop
  • LOL Surprise dolls
  • Ride On Cars

I admittedly don’t know what 1/3rd of these things are, but think about how they’re being marketed and sold across the board. Let’s zero in on Apple AirPods, for example. I love my AirPods because they’ve legit made my life easier. If I’m on a business call with a colleague, I can give one headphone to them and keep one for myself, and we can both listen and contribute without having to go on speaker or fumble with a single wired mic. They’re also great because I don’t have to worry about tangling the wire in my bag.

I don’t have to have AirPods, and if I felt that way I probably wouldn’t buy them. So Apple sold me on why I wanted them, on why they would improve my life. The same goes for video game consoles like Xbox, or Playstation’s virtual reality. The entire selling message is around keeping them in a want-to state, not a have-to state.

The other big pillar of Cyber Monday’s genius is circumstantial urgency.

There are two types of urgency in the sales process: emotional and circumstantial. Emotional urgency is all about why the product will make the customer’s life better. Circumstantial urgency is tied around a promotion or a timeline, and that’s where Cyber Monday really shines. It’s a known date every year – the Monday right after Thanksgiving – and it’s only for 24 hours. Circumstantial urgency is useful in brick-and-mortar sales situations, but there are still only a limited number of people who can walk through the doors.

If we’ve learned anything from Cyber Monday, it’s that circumstantial urgency + online sales = unlimited profit. It’s the perfect concoction of urgency and reach. Anyone who uses the internet – that’s 3.2 billion people, almost half the entire world – can spend their Cyber Monday buying to improve their lives. If all of those people spent just $5, that’s $16 billion in sales in one day. So don’t expect that $6.6 billion figure from 2017 to do anything but go up in the coming years.

One of the most important lessons you can teach customers is to keep in mind that they’re always buying to improve their lives. At FPG, we believe that when you frame their brains to think this way, you’re not only doing them a service. You’re also participating in that push to improve their lives as well.

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