“Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you.” – Mark Cuban
There is one rule every business should abide by and that is to make it as easy as possible for your customers to buy from YOU regardless of the product, price, or location. This is an important first step in the overall customer experience. In fact, in a Customers 2020 Report it was predicted that by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
Whenever I am coaching a new business that is not producing the sales volume they would like, I have them explain the steps the customer goes through in their buying process. The primary challenge I see is an overly complicated system that is hard for the buyer to understand or simply has too many steps. In some situations, stacks of paperwork are given to customers and they are expected to sort through it all on their own. Soon, the sale starts to lose momentum.
In most cases, the customer is making a sizeable investment and may be dealing with a lot of psychological noise tied to concerns about affordability, feedback from other decision makers, or challenges with past experiences. In order to keep things progressing in the sales process, I encourage businesses to follow these seven straightforward rules:
1. Keep instructions simple. Include no more than five steps in the process.
2. Clearly document the steps and post them in multiple locations. Yes, you need to write them down in case your client needs to review them. Post them on your website and introduction emails.
3. Stick to the steps in the process. Consistency is key and customers will respond better to clear directions and expectations.
4. Distinctly note when payments are due and how they should be made. Having a clear outline of the payment guidelines will reduce the chance of missing or late payments.
5. Walk customers through the paperwork, especially if it is the first time they have purchased from you. This way you can make sure the customer fully understands the purchasing process and eliminates the chance of something important getting missed.
6. Make the process enjoyable. Your attitude will impact theirs, so don’t rush and be sure to ask if they have any questions.
7. Make sure all team members (not just sales) understand the steps. Everyone who has any possible contact with a client needs to be able to articulate the process in the same way.
Never underestimate the importance of keeping things simple. Customers want an effortless purchase experience – from browsing to buying to getting in touch with their representative after the sale. If you make customers jump through too many hoops, they’re likely to switch to a competitor. The great news is making something easy may not cost you a dime. A customer-focused attitude is free.