If you want to build a successful business, you have to make it as easy as possible for your prospects and customers to buy from you.
Simple things like your hours of operation, taking all the major credit cards, and having a payment plan, it can be easy as how your employees greet people and answer the telephone.
Doing these things are so simple and commonsense, you’d think every business pays attention to them, but they don’t.
It’s shocking and appalling the number of businesses that don’t do these simple things. They actually make it difficult for people to buy from them.
It happens in all types of business in all types of ways. It’s not a deliberate thing, but it might as well be, because the effects can be very damaging to the company’s bottom line.
Here are just a few examples of how companies make it difficult for you to buy:
You receive a direct mail package with persuasive sales letter and a nice brochure, but there is nothing in the package that tells you how to order the product or service. You’re left feeling confused and you simply toss the entire package in the trash.
You call a company to get some information or place an order, and the telephone operator snaps, “Hello, hold please” and then leaves you dangling on hold so long that you finally hang up and promise yourself that you’ll never deal with that company again.
You’re having a good meal at a nice restaurant you’ve never patronized before. You go to the rest room and find, a wet floor, no soap, or towels. The restroom looks and smells so bad that you don’t even want to go back to your table, let alone the restaurant again.
You go to a web site to order a product or service and you find all types of great sales messages and links but it doesn’t tell you how to place an order on the site. When you finally find the order page it is so confusing that you just click out of it and never visit or recommend that web site again.
These types of situations are called “transactional turnoffs,” because they literally kill off thousands and even millions of dollars in sales. These situations should never happen. They are simply a case of gross negligence on the part of the business owner.
If you want your business to grow and prosper you must make it so easy to buy from you that a child could do it. To do this you have to start by carefully going over your own operations to make sure that you aren’t losing sales because of some act or omission that you haven’t noticed.
You should look for anything that might discourage people from buying from you and, if one or two things are turning people away, fix them! Ask yourself some important questions:
- Is our offer clearly stated? Are the buying directions clear?
- Do our ads explain and emphasize the specific benefits customers are looking for?
- Are we treating customers as we would want and expect to be treated?
- Are we always courteous and prompt in servicing our customers?
- Can people get through to us by phone without long delays?
- Do we make people feel at home when they come into our store or office?
- Do we thank people for buying?
- What special thanks do we give to our best customers?
- Is our web site easy to navigate through?
- Do all the links work? Is our order page easy to find? Is the order form easy to understand?
You should always shop your own business. Have a friend or a colleague visit or call your business and place an order.
- Find out how your employees greet prospects when they come into your business.
- Find out how long a prospect or customer has to wait before someone helps them.
- Find out if a prospect or customer is put on hold and for how long.
Have a friend or a colleague visit your web site and place an order. It is better for someone other than yourself to do this because as the owner sometimes you can get caught up in how nice the site looks and not be as objective as you need to be.
You can also get a lot of really good ideas from shopping your competitors, either openly or if you don’t want to be recognized, have a friend or colleague do it. See if you can identify one or more serious weaknesses in their way of doing business.
If serious weaknesses exist, and you can exploit them, it could help you to take over a major share of the market.
For example, you might find that your main competitor is too slow, doesn’t have convenient hours, doesn’t offer a full money-back guarantee, doesn’t permit exchanges, doesn’t offer a time payment plan or except all major credit cards, or doesn’t offer delivery.
Whatever it is that they don’t do to make it easier for prospects and customers to buy, you can do it in your business.
You could even talk with some of your competitor’s customers and ask them what they like and don’t like about dealing with your competitor. Compare what they say to the way you or your friend felt when you tried to buy from your competitor.
The dislikes or weaknesses that your competitor’s customers bring up most often are the ones you should try hardest to exploit in your own business.
Life today for many people is very complicated and competitive. People are looking for simplicity and satisfaction in their life. When you can offer them an easy and simple way to buy what you sell, you will have a steady stream of customers that will add to your bottom line.
About the Author
Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and achieve total success. Copyright© Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc.