Make it Easy for People to Buy

Every day it seems that another business I deal with violates the principle of making it easy for prospects to buy. Roadblocks are thrown up where none are necessary and the buying process is often stopped dead in its tracks. Remember that buyers make the decision of whether or not to purchase based on the perceived value of the offering minus the financial cost, time and risk.  If you make the cost factor too high in terms of obstacles, the prospect will buy elsewhere.

Here are a few examples of buying roadblocks I have encountered over the past couple of weeks:

  1. We are looking at new home and auto insurance. Our mortgage broker referred us to her in-house insurance brokerage. Despite the fact that I told the broker that we are ready to make a quick decision, she took over a week to get back to me. In the meantime, I researched the market online and found a great set of policies. This took me less than an hour—why did it take the broker a week?
  2. A new restaurant opened in my neighborhood. The menu is confusing and the people behind the counter can’t answer simple questions (e.g., what ingredients are used in a particular dish). Even worse, they act indifferently, one of the greatest sins in a retail establishment. So why did the owner invest his/her finances, time and psychic energy in a business that is destined to fail due to controllable factors?
  3. Our company, Fusion Marketing Partners, attempted to get a quote on a client project.  I assure the sub-contractor, that even though this is a fairly small project, it has the potential to lead to many others and will give us the chance to work together. The sub-contractor basically tells us we are wasting his time and to call back when we have something worthy of consideration.
  4. A local gym brags on its website about how involved the owners are in the business, specifically mentioning how the owners and staff walk the floor assisting members, answering questions, and generally making their customers feel at home.  After a dozen visits, guess how many times I have been approached by a member of the staff or been asked a question about my experience as a new customer?  That’s right, zero times.
  5. A software company that produces excellent information (white papers, presentations, etc.) buried this valuable content on their website so deeply that it took me at least five minutes and 6-8 mouse clicks to find one particular document. I was persistent, but many prospects give up in 30 seconds or less.

Examples 1 and 3 above cost the offending companies’ immediate revenue while 2, 4 and 5 put future revenue in jeopardy.  While these are just five examples of businesses that practiced stupidity and disinterest instead of intelligence and thoughtfulness, I am sure you can come up with your own list. Every time a company fails to follow up, ignores its customers, forgets to up-sell, or in any other way makes it hard for you to buy from them, they are giving money away.  And the first rule of business is: “Don’t give money away.”

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The tragedy of all this is that it’s all completely preventable. There are no massive market forces working against you when you give money away. It’s what sports commentators refer to as the “unforced error.”

When was the last time you got together with your team to gauge how well you are performing at the point of customer decision? There might be a few simple behaviors you can easily identify, correct and start seeing immediate impact on your revenue and customer satisfaction.

Carpe Occasio!

Christopher Ryan
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  • James March 26, 2013   Reply →

    Wow, I completely agree with you! Almost all of these would be easliy overcame, and the businesses would benefit greatly! If you want a successful company, you have to evaluate your conversion rate, and determine what you can do to improve it.

  • John Bryant March 26, 2013   Reply →

    Chris, excellent blog! This really makes you think about the consequences of not providing the proper assistance to a buyer throughout the buying cycle. Opportunities and trust are easily lost and very difficult to regain. The negative impact (the cost) is relevant to any existing or future relationship and potential opportunities.

    I like what you said about showing intelligence and thoughtfulness to a buyer. What a great idea!

  • Myron Berg August 29, 2013   Reply →

    Many of us could probably add stories to this list of delayed or unhelpful follow-up examples. And there’s the other extreme of follow-up that is a little too much and a little too fast. An example is where I open an email from one vendor who has my contact information and I get a call within 30 seconds. I only had to experience that once before setting up an email rule to route their emails to the trash.

    Thanks for the post.

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