by Kim Gellman
In case you haven't thought about it, your website is much like having a salesman in your store. Your website is responsible for meeting your customers, discovering what they want, helping them find the products they are looking for and making a purchase. Is your website a good salesman? If you wanted to hire a salesman for your brick-and-mortar store, you would interview people who have experience in sales. It would even be better if they had attended a professional sales course, and have the experience and personality that you're looking for to properly represent your business and your products. There are five steps in the sales process. A good salesman follows them:
- The Meet and Greet
- The Discovery
- Trial Close - overcoming objections
- The Close
But, how does this relate to your website? Let's take a look at what a good website needs to accomplish in order to be a good salesman. Step #1: The Meet and Greet. The first part of any good sale is to greet your customer in such a manner as to establish a professional relationship of friendliness and trust. A good salesman also wants to put the customer at ease and let them know he is an authority or expert in his product line, and that it is safe to buy from him.
Your customer should feel like the salesman can help them solve their problems and help them find the products at the right price. The question one must ask themselves is, does my website do just that? Does it communicate trust and credibility?
Here are a few ideas for the homepage of your website (usually the first impression your new customer will get from you).
- Your website should have a clean and professional look so that customers feel comfortable when they’re browsing your products, and they feel safe buying from you. Follow the example set by Amazon.com and other big companies.
- Your best products should be featured on the front page, along with easy to use navigation menus to your products. The ones that you're wanting to sell today. Your best offers. Then it should be quite simple to click on product categories or subcategories allowing the customer to quickly and easily get to the type of product that they’re trying to find.
- To help make your customer feel at home, you might want to consider adding a short video of you welcoming your customer to the website and offering to help them in any way you can.
- If your website is associated with any organizations that lend credibility to your business, make them prominent. Consider the Chamber of Commerce or any other groups that would lend credibility to your business like the Better Business Bureau. My site, ArtisticSenations.com, features images of Parenting, 24/7 MOMS, SOS, BabyZone and TweenParent.com. These affiliations make new customers feel comfortable that they are dealing with a business that has credibility within its industry.
- Your online business needs to be social. I can’t emphasize this enough. Social media networks are great customer service associates. They allow you to engage with and respond to your customers and market. The only trick is where to find your market. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other popular networks may be huge, but are they the right fit for your company?
- Finally, make sure your site has noticeable call-to-actions. A phone number, buttons and other suggestions should move your customer along the purchasing process.
Next week this series will look at how you can make the "The Discovery" step easy for customers who visit your website.
About Kim Gellman:
Kim Gellman, owner of Artistic Sensations
, sells kids bedding and furniture online and has been in business for 15 years.
Furniture World Magazine-Business solutions for furniture retailers