Volume 11, Issue 3 - May/June 2009

Making the Sale

by Mike Jones

If your beautifully designed website isn’t making sales, it’s not doing its job. 

You don’t need an online brochure—you need an online salesperson. A good salesperson helps customers make the decision to buy with compelling information and a strong call to action. 

Create a Clear Path
The most important element to remember for customers browsing online is that they are easily bored and easily frustrated. 

If they can’t figure out how to find what they’re looking for, they’re liable to click away to another website that isn’t so difficult to figure out—and if that’s one of your competitor’s sites, you’ve just lost a sale. 

Make your website easy for them to navigate. Every single page of your website should have a clear, articulated reason for the customer to click through to the next page. 

It often helps to think of navigation as making a path with clear road signs for your customer. On the home page, you can direct them to a certain offer with an attractive graphic and a promise of a great deal. 

Once they’re on that offer page, you can direct them to “get a quote” or “schedule an appointment” with a big button that indicates purchase. If they have a question about the service, they should be able to find the directions that connect them to a customer service representative easily. 

As long as your pathway through the site is clearly marked and easy to follow, you won’t lose your customers’ attention. 

One of the best ways to create a clear path when you have a target market in mind is to speak directly to that market on your home page. 

If your company is trying to reach a certain group, make an appeal to that customer base in a bold box on your home page.

Attentive Customers
Customers always will give more attention to information, products and services that are especially relevant to their needs and backgrounds. 

Once you have the attention of prospects, make sure you don’t lose them. There should be clear, easy-to-follow links to other products and services that would especially appeal to those prospects. 

When a customer has a question about a product or service, it’s very unlikely they’ll buy until they get an answer. Otherwise, they might be getting something they don’t want. 

With great online customer service, you can make sure they get questions answered promptly, helping them make the decision to buy. If you don’t get the question answered, it’s likely that customer will go find someone who will answer it—and they’ll wind up buying from that company, not yours. 

In the interest of time, several preemptive online customer service tactics try to give customers the information they need without the help of a customer service person. Clear product information and a well-researched and carefully organized FAQ page are good places to start. If you’ve heard the question from past customers or potential ones more than five times, it should be included on that page. 

For questions that are more specific and individualized, make sure your customers have an easy way to get hold of you. If you have the resources to have someone answer the phone during business hours, that’s fantastic. Another good, less time-consuming option is to have an e-mail address just for questions, which you should check several times a day. 

The call to action is the most essential aspect of making a sale. You can have a beautifully laid out website with access to easy information and the best customer service in the world—but if you don’t tell the customer to buy, he has to make that decision on his own. 

Every one of us is more likely to do something when we’re directed to do it. Make sure you give your customers a call to action on every single page of your website. 

If you want them to “get a quote” on the page, that’s your call to action. If you want them to click through to the next page, tell the customer to click the link. 

It sounds simple, but its simplicity is why many glass services companies neglect to do it. 

Mike Jones is the president of GTS Services in Portland, Ore. Mr. Jones’ opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.