Are you Sending your Worst Sales Person to Chat with your Best Clients?
Recently we worked with a client to provide them with 360° photography and some deep zoom static photography for their new website. This was a stage 2 website, moving on from a version that had been there for years.
As expected. the upshot of the new site is that online consumer sales are up. But the unexpected is also as interesting. This client sells internationally and within a month of the new site going live, they started to see a dramatic increase in the number of international retailers enquiring online about stocking their product.
Websites are Sales People. Which has me thinking more and more on this point. Our websites are really our salespeople and their geographic patch is the world wide web. But we don’t value them so. We don’t invest in them so. And we don’t measure them so. It’s one of the biggest failures I think of SME’s in Ireland, myself included. Larger businesses now get it and invest accordingly. But the SME doesn’t, but needs to more than most.
An inbound sales lead is the holy grail right? If you had a call from an interested buyer you would surely qualify and direct this straight through to yourself or one of your valued sales team to ensure every effort was made to covert this enquiry to sale. If this potential client asked for face-to-face wouldn’t you arrive suited and booted with everything you need to help create a great solution for this potential client? YES OF COURSE!!
Why do we Sabotage? So why do we think it’s OK to have the a badly turned out, poorly trained, and stumbling mess deal with our online sales leads? Yes, our websites. The ones we stick up there and when we see something wrong we decide to “put it on the list”. The ones with no product descriptions. The ones that are impossible to navigate. The ones with grainy product images (of course I would mention this- but it is really a pet hate of mine as an online shopper!).
What is our Customer Asking? Every time a customer comes to our website, it is an inbound sales lead. It is a potential customer embarking on the Discovery Phase of their decision cycle. Every click on every page is a question. Their movements are letting us know what they are looking to achieve with this sale. We know the more engagement a customer has with our site the more they are likely to buy. This is because they are finding this Discovery Phase useful. You are making it apparent that you understand their needs and could possibly meet them.
And how are We Responding? And so every glitch, broken link, or badly laid out page is a stumbling, mumbling, salesperson with a Monday morning hangover talking on a one-to-one with potential clients. We leave our websites up there dangerously chatting day-in-day-out with potential customers. Asking the wrong questions, underselling our value, providing poor descriptions of our products, forcing the customer to focus only on price in the absence of any other perceived value.
- We spend so long interviewing for sales people and even hire agencies to help us- yet we choose our web developers on a whim and with little external advice.
- We spend weeks bedding in our sales people before we “send them out there” on their own. And we monitor their activity and results daily, weekly, monthly, annually. Yet we fire up a website and say it’ll do the job for now and that’s the last we think about it.
- We send our sales people on courses to upskill for the realities of the ever-changing competitive landscape. Yet we leave out websites untouched for years and incapable to competing with their peers.
We just don’t value our sites like we should. We don’t realise we have that extra salesperson we are constantly seeking a budget for.
Test Yourself! So, as a test of your own reality. Next time you are on a website looking to purchase something, or researching a service, pretend for a minute that you are sitting face to face with a salesperson from that business. And consider how you think they perform. Now think of your own site. Your own online sales person. How would you appraise them?
Could you start applying the standards you hold for your own sales performance or that of your team to your website. What would be the likely results?
Interesting, right? Now must go take some of my own advice……..