I really like the movie Contact. I’m not sure exactly why: could be the sci-fi aspects of meeting aliens, could be the techno-stuff in building a really big machine, could be Matthew McC??ney (two words: dream-mee, or at least so Colleen tells me).
Anyways, one of the central story lines of the movie is that us little humans spend a lot of money and time to try to make contact with our brothers from a different primordial soup. And believe it or not – I see a lot of parallels with web site development.
My philosophy with our use of the web has changed significantly in the last two years. Originally, my dream was to develop a bunch of web functionality and content, and let it loose. I’d just put my feet up on the desk and watch the cash roll in.
Today, I have a very different view. Instead of the primary goal being to get people to purchase something off the web site while we rest comfortably in bed, our ultimate goal is to get people to make Contact!
Why? Well, I’ve noticed a few things:
- The more prospects feel like there is a person behind the business, the more likely they are to purchase.
- The more prospects feel like there is a person behind the business, the more they are willing to spend.
I think that shouldn’t be a big surprise. For most adults, this e-commerce stuff is relatively new (last ten years) and we basically trust people, not web pages.
So now, our web site objectives are aligned with that philosophy. The primary goal is to provide information as effectively in order to maximize the number of qualified buyers who take the next step and contact us.
What do I mean by effectively:
- Simple – make it easy to find the information based on who they are and what they need
- Efficient – be able to get to the information they need as quickly as possible
- Interactive – engage the user in order to deliver information visually, aurally and with words (readilly?)
And when I say take the next step and contact us, we want to provide as many mechanisms as possible:
- Call (toll free of course!)
- Email / Contact Us
- Live Chat
On the LiveChat front, I previously mentioned our implementation. I have to say that it has been great. Just in the last week, Casey in our office has closed over $1,200 in sales using Live Chat. That just paid for the service for the next 15 months. And by providing a mechanism to quickly get questions answered, it’s enabled or accelerated countless other sales.
Now – don’t get me wrong! I still love on-line sales that don’t require human intervention. We have several products that continue to sell very well and deliver great value to the customers. Our view of them strategically has evolved to be in line with this new philosophy. Instead of the dream of building our entire business around these autonomic sales, we see them as gateway products that introduce customers to our business. They are the first step in engaging with the business which hopefully leads to larger sales as they get to know us.
So, today I’m feverishly working on a substantial redesign of our web site in-line with these objectives. Simplified structure, even more interactivity, more role-based content.
Take a look at your web site – how easy it for your prospects to press 0 to speak to an operator?
Dedicated to increasing your sales!
COO Engage Selling Solutions