Are you a talker or a listener? Yesterday, I was on a call with a sales rep for a service I was interested in buying, but it didn’t take long for the call to go sideways in my estimation. Why? Because the sales rep spent the first 20 minutes of a 30 minute call talking. He talked so much that , despite my trying to interject myself into his one-way conversation a few times, I wasn’t able to get the proverbial word in edgewise. Needless to say, he didn’t get the sale, and not just because I didn’t appreciate his uncanny ability to talk non-stop for 20 minutes without taking a breath. No, he didn’t get the sale because he made what I consider to be one of the mortal sins of sales: He didn’t ask me what my needs were.
Not knowing what my needs were meant that he had no interest in me as an actual customer nor in making sure my need/issue/requirement/pain-point was addressed. I was just a number with a dollar sign attached to it. He didn’t care what I needed beyond how I was going to pay.
Now, while my experience is in no way unique, it is very avoidable, especially on your website. Far too often, I’ll go to a company’s website to research a product or service only to find standard, uselessly generic content. If I didn’t know better I would swear there was a content factory out there that has been tasked with churning out boring, mundane, and essentially inadequate marketing content and that most websites have hired that factory to fill their site. This kind of content means that my visit to your website is two things: a waste of my time and a lost opportunity for you. So how do you avoid that?
Make your content speak to me like I am actually a person.
No one expects that your website is going to address every requirement or scenario your customers will bring to you, but you can create content that will give them hope that they will get an answer that makes sense if they simply contact you and ask it. FAQs are a great way to help a customer get an idea as to how your product or service might help them, especially if they are based on real customer questions.
Show me the way.
Demos make a great sales tool, especially videos or screencasts showing how your product works. While it isn’t always possible to do a video demonstration of your product or service, making a video showing potential customers a little bit of the human side of your company can go a long way in helping build the trust needed to turn that visitor into a customer. And video is cheap and easy to produce these days! There really is no reason to not make one.
Make me a believer.
Nothing is going to help me feel like you’re the right person/company to deal with better than hearing it from other customers. Links to your Facebook page or your Twitter feed will allow me to read testimonials from your actual customers and will likely sway my purchasing decision–provided, of course, that they showcase your company in a positive manner. (Facebook and Twitter integration will be the subject of many more posts in the future).
So what’s the point of all of this? Well, if that sales rep from yesterday had asked me what I was looking for and addressed my needs instead of going off on his sales pitch soliloquy, he might have made a sale instead of pushing me to look at whatever product his competition has. Hopefully, you will learn from his mistake and not drive your customers away.