While it's great to know what people want, when you give them what they want, you only give them a partial solution. The want is the symptom. But, when you address the need, you are addressing the underlying problem and providing a much more holistic solution.
In Part 2 of this series, I started discussing a customers wants versus their needs. I continue this list here.
People want to feel important; they need you to speak to their needs first.
Everybody wants to feel as if they are your most important customer. They are handing over their money to you so, in their mind, that gives them priority treatment.
Delivering a product or service isn't enough to satisfy your customers. You have to continue to deliver results well beyond the sale. Are you following up to make sure your customers are happy with their purchase? Are you providing ways for them to get the most benefit out of their purchase? Are you handling problems quickly and efficiently, going above and beyond their expectations? These are all important questions to answer in order to make the customers believe you care.
When persuading new customers, you have to be sure to handle inquiries near instantaneously. I know when I'm shopping around, if I sent off some emails, the first reply I get often becomes the company I do business with. Those that respond late make me feel like they have more important things to worry about than earning my business. Heck, I'm trying to give them my money, the least they can do is act like they want it!
You also have to make sure potential customers can contact you easily. Again, if I can't find a phone number (not just a form), I'm thinking they really don't want to talk to me. Anyone who doesn't want to talk to me doesn't really want my business. You'd also be well served to make sure your website addresses as many needs and questions as possible, so they won't feel as if they have to call to get their questions answered. But, in case they do, seeing that phone number sure helps give them confidence.
People want to feel good; they need you to encourage them.
For some sites, shopping cart abandonment is astronomically high. Why is that? Primarily because people need to be encouraged to proceed with their purchase. This is done both by answering as many questions and concerns on the website as possible and making sure you have an easy-to-complete ordering process.
If I'm shopping, I'll often add my product to my basket and go through much of the checkout process, only to hesitate before I finalize the payment. In my mind I'm thinking, "should I buy this now?", or "Is this a good purchase?", or even "Can I afford this?" Most of these questions surface on an emotional level; sometimes rooted in fact, sometimes not. The bottom line is that a little extra encouragement can help persuade visitors through the selling process.
This encouragement can come in many forms. Sometimes it's by streamlining the checkout process, leaving less opportunity to abandon the cart. Sometimes it's by providing security, warranty, and return policy assurances along the way. Sometimes you can encourage your customers by giving them a little something extra as a 'thank you' for their purchase, perhaps a discount for their next purchase or something to pass on to a friend.
Recently I threw a couple of books into my Amazon shopping cart, but then I paused, and thought about how much I had been spending on amazon lately, so I began rethinking the purchase decision. Amazon provided the encouragement I needed. By filling out an application for an Amazon Visa card I got something like $30 off my purchase. I was sold and so were the books.
There are numerous ways to encourage your visitors to make a purchase. Brainstorm for a few new ideas and test them all.
People want to feel successful; they need you to help them win.
Everybody wants to feel like their life has meaning. This is the measure of success. Money, health, comfort, and power are all measures we like to talk about, but deep down, people want more. You don't need health, comfort, money or power to be successful in life. Success often comes from the little victories achieved here and there that give life meaning.
Your product or service may not be able to change your customer's destiny, but you can help him or her feel that their decision to purchase from you will help them "win" (and not in the Charlie Sheen way!)
Selling baby diapers? Your diapers can successfully prevent leakage and nasty "toxic" spills. Selling batteries? Your batteries can successfully start their car each morning and make sure they're on time for work. Selling cleaning supplies? Your supplies can help them successfully clean their house better than ever before. These are victories your customers can relate to in their daily lives. Your customer now feels like a successful parent, successful employee or boss, or a successful friend, brother or sister or whatever.
Your product or services helped them achieve that success. You helped them win!
In order to feel like you can help them win, people need to see that you have won. It's unfortunate, but true, that we judge people based on what we see. A lawyer in a beat up old Toyota doesn't look as successful as a lawyer with well-taken care of Lexus. Though superficial, which one would you want to hire?
Your customers need to see that you have won. Is your website all beat-up and tattered, or is it well designed and maintained? Is your content well written or a verbal disaster? Are your products or services presented logically or just kind of thrown out there with no organization?
Like it or not, these things matter. If visitors perceive that you are successful, they will gravitate to you based on that alone. It takes "winners" to make winners!
Knowing what your customers want, and using that to give them what they need, is the basis for customer relationship building. If you are able to build a strong relationship with your website visitors, even perceptually, you will gain a significant competitive advantage.
Building relationships alone won't make your business the most successful in your industry, as there are many other factors involved. But, relationships are a crucial factor in being able to establish and maintain long-term customers, business growth, and your own continued success. Every marketing dollar saved by not having to seek a replacement for customers that have left you is an additional dollar (plus additional sales profits) that can be spent in obtaining and maintaining new customers.
The dirty little secret of conversions isn't really a secret at all. It's simply about building relationships that matter. Relationships that don't just matter to you, but that matter to your customers as well.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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