Selling is Simple: Just Make it Easy for the Customer to Buy

Today’s blog is inspired by Seth Godin’s post on “The Overwhelming fear of Being Wrong” – which got me thinking: Selling is actually very simple. You just need to make it easy for the customer to buy.

But despite this so many companies, big and small, try to over-complicate the process. They befuddle the customer, overstate the benefits and lose the sale. Not because their product is inferior to a competitor’s, but because the customer is paralysed with fear that their purchasing decision may be irrevocably incorrect.

Technology marketers are the biggest culprits. Bedazzled by TLAs (three letter anachronyms) and complex technological features, their sales literature either requires a degree in technology to comprehend or you must first spend several hours googling the TLAs until you can vaguely understand what they are trying to communicate (God Bless Wikipedia).

Last week I needed to purchase a digital projector. Unable to understand the difference beween the multiplicity of connections on offer, I found myself caught like a rabbit in the headlights. Conversely, my purchasing problem was simple: all I needed to know was the price and whether the connection between the projector and the laptop was the right one. A simple picture of the connector would have sufficed. The rest of the sales guff was irrelevant to me. I take it for granted it can project pictures onto a wall. It is, after all, a projector.

So I took a risk and bought one on trust. Luckily when it arrived the connector was the right one, but the purchasing process could have been so much less stressful.

Telephone marketers are also guilty of missing the point too. Not the fancy mobile marketers (that’s another blog altogether) but the old fashioned, bog standard, plug into the wall telephone. The most remarkable feature of a telephone, correct me if I’m wrong, is it’s dulcet ring tone. Too shrill and it’ll have you jumping out of your skin every time it goes, too subtle and you’ll be missing calls. Moreover, if your telephone rings regularly (which mine does) you’ll want something that’s not going to drive you up the wall with irritation to the point that unplugging it altogether (defeating the purpose of having a phone in the first place) is your only option.

But try to find out what a telephone sounds like before you buy it and you’ll find yourself becoming quickly regarded with suspicion. Retailers will look at you perplexed when you request to hear the phone before you buy it. “Why on earth would you want to know what it sounds like?” “Well, you’re right Ms Fox, it doesn’t tell you on the box.” But….. isn’t that what I’m buying? I don’t need to know that it has a state of the art digital keypad (woo!), and it’s memory can hold up to 100 phone numbers (wow!) and it’s battery life is 8 hours (yay!). I want to know what it sounds like.

We recently met with a company who was about to embark on an overseas sales trip. They have a great service at a great price but were making the fatal mistake of leaving it up to the customer to decide how much of that service they wanted to buy. I suggested they “package” up their service into 3-4 simple price based options that are easy for the customer to buy. Their email to me following the return from their trip speaks volumes for the success of making it easy for the customer to buy:

“We got a lot of positive feedback on the new structure and 16 out of 18 companies we met are interested in what we are offering.”

16 out of 18 companies? That’s an 88% hit rate…… imagine what a difference that would make to your business.

So , if you do one thing this week, take a cold hard look at your sales literature and decide to make it easier for the customer to buy.

About The Author: Tricia Fox

Tricia is a Chartered PR Practitioner and Chartered Marketer with more than two decades of experience in developing marketing strategies and managing campaigns for clients. She is a specialist in crisis communications and an accomplished, multi-award winning major event marketer.

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