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Archive for September 2010

When Buying is a Hassle.

I was on several stock photo sites this week, hunting for an image for a client's manual.  I just wanted to buy one stupid picture to stick into the manual and be done with it.  Doesn't seem like such a hard thing to do, does it?  Au contraire, mon cherie.

I found a suitable image just fine.  But there's no price on it.  Just the number of credits needed for the various size photos.  So now I have to go and buy credits.  How much is a credit?  Can I just buy the one credit I need?  Of course not.  I have to buy a "package of credits."   A minimum of 5 credits on one site, 15 on another.  Then I have to go back into my "shopping cart" and start the buying process all over again.  I use one of my five credits and now the company is holding MY CASH until I buy more of their stuff.  Great from the company's point of view.  Bad from this consumer's point of view.

And it's not just the stock photo sites.  Ever try to use a debit or credit card with PayPal, particularly if you have a PayPal account?  How many freaking upsells do you have to go through to buy a domain name at GoDaddy?  Have you hit sites where it's hard to find where to log on?  Ever tried to leave a casino in Vegas??

Here's the deal.  I don't want to "become a member."  I don't want to carry a discount card.  I definitely don't want some company holding my money against future sales.  I want to buy what I want to buy, when I want to buy it without having to jump through hoops or literally pay five times the price of something just to have access to it.

There is too much competition out there for you to make things difficult for your buyers.  If they can't figure out how to buy from you, they will click and in ten seconds be buying from your competitor.  Make it easy for your buyers to buy.  Put your price out there and make it easy to see -- hiding your price makes me think you are embarrassed, ashamed or feeling sheepish about the price which means you don't feel confident about your product's value.  And let your customers just give you the money without jumping through hoops.  Okay?

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Recorded Sales Pitches

Even though I am on the "do not call" list (aka , a fairy tale made up to make us feel like we have some control over our phones, if not our lives) I continue to receive marketing voice mails and texts.  (Yes, I know I can report them but really, what's the point?)

The calls aren't enough to be truly annoying because I rarely pick up a live call anyway.  (That's a time management trick, btw.)  But here's my beef:  Bad enough that you are cold-calling me.  But if you are so blatantly playing the numbers game that you use an auto-dialer and a recorded message,  if  you don't know or care who the hell I am or bother to figure out whether or not I'm even in your target demographic, what makes you think I would buy from you?  Quite frankly, if you are that lazy and uncaring during the sales process, why would I expect your customer service to be any different?

All sales involve playing the numbers game.   I understand this.  But I also know that people like doing business with people.  In a world that has become faster and more automated, people like the personal touch.  We are more and more isolated - in our cars, in our cubicles, working from home, not knowing our neighbors.  Why is social media so popular?  It gives people a chance to connect with people.  The business of sales in the year 2010 is the same way.  People want to know who they are dealing with.

People are unsure of the economy.  Roughly a quarter of homeowners are living in a house that they owe more money on than it is worth.  Prices are going up.  Job security is a thing of the past.   People are stressed and pressured and nobody seems to give a damn.  So when a recorded voice comes across my phone telling me about a way to make a "six figure income from home" or "qualify for a government rebate on air conditioning" I am not going to jump on it.  I'm going to sit back and say, "Hey, who is this person and what kind of B.S. is this jerk selling me?"  I DON'T TRUST A RECORDED VOICE.  I want a real person who will take the time to analyze my needs and see how they can help me.  I want to get a feel for that person to see if he is the real deal.  I want to MATTER to that person, at least for a little while.

If you're out for the quick hit, one-shot sale, then maybe recorded messages are the way to go.  But that's not the way to build a business.  It's just going to keep you running on that hamster wheel.  Your customers want to matter to you.  And they should.

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September 2010
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