Would You Buy From Your Business?

Written on 09 April, 2008 by Jonathan Crossfield
Categories Small Business

Like me, do you hate it when a sales assistant approaches you in a shop?

I’m quite capable of choosing items myself or asking for help should I need it. I don’t need someone who doesn’t know anything about me telling me what I should be trying on, driving or listening to. But sales assistants still try to influence my sale, encouraging me to try the more expensive shoes, the larger car, the bigger stereo to provide them with better commission.

So I leave the shop without buying anything.

Yet this behaviour isn’t exclusive to shoe shops and certain menswear emporiums.

Me, Me, Me!

If I were to ask you what your website is about, what would you answer?

If you would say your website is about your business and the products you sell, then you may have a problem.

If you would say your website is about providing a means for your customers to achieve their needs, let me shake your hand.

You may argue your business and your products are about the customer so it amounts to the same thing. But from a customer point of view, that relationship is not so obvious.

Every day, I see websites that attempt to bludgeon the reader over the head with their sales pitch with a complete disregard for the factors that motivate a sale. So many websites talk about how wonderful their company is or how fantastic a particular product may be without once mentioning how these things benefit the reader.

You may be the number one business in your industry, but unless you can articulate why that is important to the average customer, the only person who cares is you. Try to avoid centering your sales pitch on concepts that talk about your success and your business growth. A customer isn’t motivated to buy from you to help put your kids through college or win you another award.

Having pride in your company is important, and showing that pride on your website is great, but avoid using that pride to sell. These things are background details that can indicate reliability and trustworthiness but they are not the core of any successful sales pitch.

“How May I Help You?”

The most effective sales copy completely reverses this concept around. Instead, it refers to the customer, their situation and their needs.

Think of your target audience. Who is most likely to use your product and why? Avoid talking about features and mention how they meet a customer’s specific needs. Don’t use jargon, but write as if you were explaining your product to your mother. After all, I know I need a car, but I wouldn’t know my crank shaft from my carburetor. By describing to me the experience of driving the car, the handling, the tangible benefits or a decent stereo and airconditioning, I understand the benefits far better than I would reading a cold list of engine part specifications and scientific testing data.

By offering a scenario that the customer can relate to, it is possible to demonstrate how your product or service is the solution to their problem – thereby illustrating the benefit. Phrasing copy in these terms encourages the reader to picture the scenario in their minds. Immediately there is a positive association with your product. They are visualising them in your relaxing spa bath. They are enjoying the comfort of your luxury car. They are thrilled by the ease with which your time-saving gadget completes their daily tasks.

But don’t assume this visualisation. Expand on it. Saying your spa provides six jest of bubbles is not as evocative as describing how six jets of powerful bubbles create a more relaxing experience, soothing muscles and calming you after a long day at work.

By putting your mind in the customer’s viewpoint when writing your copy, you will find your sales pitch has far more vibrancy and immediacy. Your website will welcome your readers in, relating to their needs, their fears and their motivations.

Don’t force customers out of your shop. Show that you understand them. Provide answers to their needs. They will do the rest.