A couple of times recently I’ve been on the verge of buying something. Actually ready to hand over cash or credit card when the seller has said or done something to change my mind at the last minute. I was wondering how often this happens? Probably more times than we, as business owners, realise.
How to recognise the signs of “buy out”
There has been a lot of talk about getting “buy in” but it seems to me that we are often more concerned with this than recognising the tell-tale signs of what I’ll call “buy out”. So what are the signs? I think there are two main categories of signs. There are the ones that you must recognise in yourself that are going to prompt the action in the buyer and then there are the ones in the buyer that are telling you they’re about to change their minds.
Our actions that put off buyers
- talking too much after the buyer has offered to buy (what used car dealers used to call “buying the car back”)
- not knowing the product well enough, being unsure of what exactly it can and can’t do
- vacillation – whether in possible appointment times, availability of product or delivery dates
- using the wrong tone of voice or turn of phrase ( usually related to stating something from our point of view rather than being customer centred)
Signs the buyer is cooling off
- no longer making eye contact
- use of phrases like – “perhaps I’ll think about it”; “don’t bother now, just let me know when you can get it”; “I want to discuss it with my spouse”
- you are doing all the talking, the questions have stopped.
There are many more and perhaps you have some you’d like to share. Feel free to comment.
What to do about it?
- know your product inside out
- listen to the customer
- be aware of the non-verbal cues customers give you
- be customer-centred
- if you can’t avoid some vacillation then preface it with a phrase that shows you understand their position e.g. “I realise this isn’t ideal and you need to know when we can deliver so you can organise your day but I’ll find out as soon as I can and let you know at the earliest opportunity.”
Most of all we need to be aware that it is possible to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Be aware that we can successfully sell our product or services and then scuttle the deal by failing to notice the signs in our actions or those of our customers.
You can have the flashiest, coolest website with the latest and greatest products and services but if your customer service is rubbish then why bother?
Why do people make it so hard for you to buy from them?
This is a topic that has exercised my mind before. See my blog entry. But it’s one that just won’t go away. Recently I surfed the net looking for a product and trying to find the best deal. Finally I found it but I needed to know if the supplier stocked refills for the item in question. I couldn’t find them on the site. No phone number! I had to look them up in the White Pages and when I rang I just got an answering machine. I left a message and no one replied.
Then I filled out the email form on the site. It took more than 24 hours before I got a reply. They said they did have refills and if I went to the site later in the day I could find it there and order both and get free shipping. So I went back to the site later in the day… that night… and first thing in the morning… Nothing. I emailed them again, and again. I left two more phone messages and eventually received another email saying that it would happen soon. A few hours later it did but now the price on the original item had been been increased by $10! So I wrote and asked why. No reply…
So what is good service?
I found another site, slightly dearer that had both the item and the refills on the site. It had several phone numbers so I called to see how much delivery was. I explained my previous problem and the guy said “I’ll give you free delivery if you buy both. Go back to the site in half an hour and I’ll have set it up for you”. I did and he had! So here’s my list for good customer service:
- Reply to queries quickly
- Do what you say you’ll do
- Do it when you said you would do it
- Make it easy for people to contact you
- Don’t be sneaky (as in this case by hiking up the price without saying anything)
- Don’t make your forms more daunting than they need to be. Do you really need someone’s Date of Birth?
That’s my whinge for today and congratulations to the supplier I bought from who wants to remain nameless – great service and modest too!
I was reading another blog the other day and came across some information that really interested me. Like many people I like to contribute to charity from time to time to give back or “pass forward” some of the bounty I’ve been fortunate enough to have been given. Also, like many people, I hate giving to the telemarketed charities where I know so much of my donation will go to the sales person, the marketing company and the administration of the charity. That’s why when I read about Kiva I was really impressed.
What is Kiva and what does it do?
I guess the best way to describe Kiva is as an enabling organisation. It co-ordinates microfinance loans to entrepreneurs in third world countries. It partners with microfinance charities in these countries and passes on your donation to them. You get to choose which project you loan your money to and how much you give. There are details of who the money is being lent to and what they want to do with it. And whenever you visit their website you can see how many loans have been paid back each week and more. When the loan is paid back you can opt to either get the money paid back to you; re-loan it to another project; or give it to Kiva to help defray their expenses. 100% of your money goes to the people who need it.
This is a fabulous charity and I love the idea that any money I give will keep on working as it is lent out multiple times to hard working people who are doing there best to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. If you’re interested to find out more then visit www.kiva.org and see how easy it is to make a real, measurable difference.
This is the question everyone would like to know the answer to. It seems to me there is no one right answer either. What is good copy for one audience or medium won’t necessarily work well for another.
Are there are any common factors?
I think that there are some “must have” qualities before something qualifies as good copy. Here’s my list. See what you think and feel free to post your list or additions you think are important.
- It must be written in a style that appeals to its target audience
- It should be clear what is being sold
- Benefits and unique selling propositions should be well articulated
- It should answer the implied question “Why this product and not another?”
- It should assist the reader to understand why they need the product or service
- It should be interesting and engaging and make the reader want to know more
- And it should contain a call to action
Simple really. The following picture says it all.
SNOW in April!
snow in april