Monthly Archives: October 2014

Five Ethically Sound Psychological Tactics to Address Action Paralysis

Action paralysis may not be a term you are familiar with but it is the silent tormentor of any businesses.  Simply put, action paralysis is a psychological disability to make a purchase and can be attributed to any number of different factors.  And that is why it’s such a hindrance to conversion rates as addressing the logic behind every potential buyers paralysis is near on impossible.

A deeper insight into your consumers’ state of mind and a greater awareness of what they want, need and also what makes them say ‘no’, will enable you to adapt your sales tactics and marketing messages to generate improved conversion rates.  It’s all about the voices in your customers’ heads at the particular time they are viewing your site and can be anything from “Can I justify the price?” and “Will it live up to my expectations?” to “I don’t have enough information to make a decision”.  But there are some simple tactics you can employ to try and better understand the common buying dilemmas and address their concerns head on, making it as simple as possible to make a decision and steering them in the right direction.

1Aim for simplicity

A webpage is a webpage right?  Well, to a potential customer the appearance of and information contained on a page can have a massive impact on a sale.  Numerous different studies confirm that consumers visiting easy to navigate sites with simple messages and clear information are more likely to purchase.  Many companies are guilty of trying to bombard visitors with too much information that is actually irrelevant to them.  It can be extremely overwhelming and can cause them to psychologically shut off and move on to a competitor.  All your customer really wants to know is the product price, sizing if applicable and how the product is going to meet their needs and therefore a clear and concise list of the product/service benefits is paramount.  It is also important to have a good, professional image or even better, a product video.

Ensure the layout of your web pages make it as easy as possible for visitors to see information clearly and get rid of any unnecessary clutter on the rest of the page including messages, links and advertising.

Break it down

Expensive items are inherently harder for consumers to commit to purchasing as they may find it hard to rationalise the expense.  A great way to gain commitment is by using terminology such as ‘low monthly payments’ or ‘interest free monthly payments’ which makes it much easier for them to digest and justify in their own minds. This is particularly pertinent with ‘tightwads’, a group identified as accounting for 24% of all consumers and who find it particularly traumatic departing with their cash. Other tactics include bundling items into packages so that they are seemingly receiving better value or offering a reduction in fees, if that is applicable to your particular line of business.

3Add an offer

Everyone likes to feel like they’ve got a good deal but offers don’t have to involve money off and discounts.  By offering a guarantee your customers feel safer in their decision to make a purchase, this is also the case for free trials, so consider if this is something your company is able to offer to help nudge customers towards a purchase.

4Instant gratification

As a species we desire instant gratification and consumers want their online purchases as quickly as possible.  Gone are the days when all a consumer compared was product and price, and with companies out there offering same day dispatch and next day delivery, it’s what we are coming to expect.  Unfortunately, if we can’t get it, or are in anyway unsure as to how long we’ll have to wait, then we are less likely to purchase.  If your business is able to offer fantastic dispatch and delivery options then shout about it.  Don’t make customer search for this information as they most likely won’t bother and will move onto someone who does.  If you are falling short in this area then you may be losing out on sales so it’s important to evaluate your distribution channels and ensure you aren’t working in the dark ages.

5Call to action

According to a Digital Sherpa, only 20% of people actually read the content of a webpage word for word, so it’s vital that your headings, sub-headings and calls to action are working.  Unfortunately we can only really make assumptions at what goes on in a person’s head when they’re making a decision to purchase, but those companies making headway in conversion success use A/B testing to optimise conversion rates.  It offers companies a way to test different messages on different visitors to their site and analyse which option offers the best conversion.  In this way, they are able to make simple tweaks over time until they have optimal conversion rates and are familiar with what drives their customers.

10 Surprising Sales Secrets

Is it an art, science or just a knack?  Successful selling is a combination of all three, with an added helping of common sense.  Here we take a look at ten top tips to streamline your selling techniques and to help you generate even more sales.  Some of these tips really are just common sense, but all too frequently they are not employed.  Others are surprising, but make sense when you consider them.

1The Personal Touch

It is an undisputed fact that contacting customers personally can play a key part in your sales campaign.  Whether the contact is face to face or on the phone, the personal touch puts you at the forefront of your customers’ attention in a way that media advertising and direct mail cannot.  Reminding existing customers of your products or services brings about repeat sales.  Potential customers can be made aware of what you have to offer.  This last will involve the often dreaded cold calling and inevitably some rejection, but stick with it and you will turn potential customers into new customers.

Avoid Making Customers Feel They Are Being Sold To

Customers don’t want to feel they are being sold something.  However, and this is the surprising part, they usually do want to buy something.  Make them aware of what you have to offer, but avoid any tactics that make them feel they are being manipulated or persuaded.  Help your customers to identify a need and make an informed decision and they will buy from you.

Listen To Your Customers

Let’s say you are selling for a toy manufacturer.  There’s no point in making a lengthy presentation about nursery toys when your customer is planning to launch a range of construction kits.  If you gave them a chance to tell you that, you could present them with a range of kits for various ages.  Let your customer do most of the talking and you will know what they are interested in buying.  You should aim to let your prospect do at least half of the talking and listen carefully to what they have to say.  They will provide you with valuable tools to help close that sale.

Whilst Valuable, Sales Training Alone Cannot Create Super-sellers

This secret comes into the art, science or knack category.  You can coach the science and mechanics of selling, but you can’t instil the art.  It is true that selling is a knack and not everyone has that talent.  Nurture those with special skills and increased sales will follow.  If you are selling your own product or service, by all means reap the benefits of sales training, but also be honest with yourself if you feel you don’t have that special talent.  If that is the case, you might be better off paying a ‘sales-star’ to do the job.

Know Your Customer’s Business

A little research goes a long way towards completing a successful sales pitch.  If your customer can see you properly understand their needs, they will feel confident when you say you say you can fill their requirements.  Your research should include studying their industry – both trends and problems.  Find out who your customer’s biggest competitors are.  You can find the information you need in a variety of sources, including annual reports, trade publications, brochures and catalogues.  You can be sure it will be time well spent and result in increased sales and satisfied customers.

Offer Guaranteed Satisfaction

A good returns policy helps a customer to feel they are in charge of their purchase.  By offering an unconditional guarantee, you are letting your customer know you have faith in your product and they can feel confident of following suit.  This applies to services as well as to products.  Your guarantee could state ‘We know you will be happy with our service, but if not we will work to rectify any shortcomings, at no further expense to you’.

Ask Questions

This follows on from the research tip.  Once you are in contact with your potential customer, ask salient questions.  If a prospect says they are looking for a really robust widget, ask about the environment in which the widget will operate and see if you can get some examples of applications, stresses, etc.  Probe deeper for information that allows you to better position your product.

number_8The Home Stretch – A Top Closing Tip

Once you have listened to your customer, made your presentation and the client is showing interest, offer two choices.  The choices are most definitely not to buy or not to buy, or even to buy now or later.  Offer two buying choices.  For example, if you are selling fences, ask whether they would prefer the fencing in oak or pine.  When the customer states their preference, write up the order.  The sale will not usually be stopped at this point, as the customer feels they have committed to a yes.

number_9It’s All About the Second Sale

Here’s a real common sense one.  It is much easier and far less expensive to get existing satisfied customers to buy than to find and close new customers.  So, unless you are just starting out, make your existing clientele your priority.

number_10Follow Up and Follow Through

Once the sale has been made, that is not the end of the story.  Remember that repeat sales are your richest source, so keep in touch with your customers.  You can send thank you notes or call the customer to make sure they are satisfied with the product or service they have bought.  Set and maintain a schedule of future communications to keep you on your customer’s radar.  Don’t forget to ask for feedback.  Sometimes a customer may have a minor complaint but say nothing.   However, they won’t buy from you again, so if you can handle that complaint, they may well come back to you in the future.  Customers can offer valuable suggestions which can help you to maintain and increase their business with you.

From Research To Presentation To Closing and Follow Up

There we have ten sales secrets – some surprising and some common sense.  So, be it art, science or knack, you can use these tips to increase your sales and your portfolio of satisfied and loyal customers.