The Salesperson you always wanted but never knew you already had

You probably already are in possession of super sales potential without even knowing about it!

Quick story first:

Back in the 90s, early on in my career, I spent a short while as a junior consultant.

I worked with this little firm in Portugal that helped businesses streamline their operations. I was on the team that went in to fix sales processes.

Our client, a local automobile distributor, had a number of underperforming dealerships. Our job was to find out what wasn't working. In one of them, located in Cascais, a prestigious coastal village near Lisbon, we discovered that even though the salespeople were taking all the credit for the already below-standard sales numbers, it turned out that - while they were out having coffee of playing tennis - it was the janitor who actually sold most of the cars!

It certainly wasn't her job, but when a customer walked into the dealership she usually was the only one around. Thankfully, she saw it as her duty to make the customers feel welcome, show them around and get the sales process started.

I moved on to another assignment, but I believe my colleagues eventually helped her become a sales director at the dealership :-)

The reason I bring this story up is to show you can find sales potential hidden in places you never thought of looking.

There is one place I know exactly where to look to find this hidden potential in more than 80% of businesses!

Interestingly, it isn't human. It never sleeps, doesn't need lunch or coffee breaks, it never ever takes a holiday, and it can be everywhere at once, non-stop. If utilized correctly, it is a force against which no human can compete!
 

That secret salesperson is your website!

 

One of the reasons why I am in business is because I am on a mission to help people understand that using your website as an alternative to a brochure is very much like using an iPad only as a chopping board for your kitchen!

Why do I say a "brochure' website? Think about this: what happens when someone gives you a brochure? Do you actually sit down and read it cover to cover or do you put aside for later consumption...'later' usually meaning 'never'?

Imagine you had a salesperson who would do nothing more than just hand out glossy, wordy brochures to your prospects only to walk away without even starting a dialogue nor asking for a business card.

Wouldn't that be weird?

Would you want to keep that person around as a salesperson?

What kind of a first impression would that make about your business?

You see, that is exactly what happens with a brochure-type website: people see it, they decide to come back later when they have more time but never do.

Let's face it: your website is usually the first impression your prospects get about who you are or what you do. It certainly is the first thing I do when I hear about a business and I bet the same is true for you.

Before the internet took over the world, your salespeople used to be the first contact your business had with its prospects. Today it is your website. So, shouldn't your website be more like a salesperson?

Here's a conversation that I've had more often than I want to remember

"We need to work on your website."

"Really? Why? We just had it re-done. Don't you like the way it looks?"

"Yes, it does look nice, but there is too much information on there"

"But we need to show visitors what we do right? They are typically only on there for a few seconds, so we need to make the most of it."

"The reason why they are only on there for a few seconds is precisely because there is too much information"

"Huh?"

"Yes, they run away from it because they don't know what to do when they are there...."

It's actually quite simple. We are human. We don't like to be confused. We love clarity. In fact, we kind of like to be told what to do. Don't believe me? Just bring this up with any serious marketer and you'll be amazed at how 'promptable' we really are.

Convincing people to think differently about their website is probably one of the most difficult things I do. Most of us are totally stuck when it comes to what the purpose of our website really should be.

To get more clarity on what our website can and should be doing for us, let's go back to basics for a moment:

So what does a great salesperson do when facing a prospect?

  1. He or she makes a great introduction (elevator pitch) so the prospect wants to know more (anticipation).
  2. There is an agreement to continue the conversation later on (exchange of business cards).
  3. Then the salesperson starts qualifying the prospect through an ongoing dialogue (follow-up).

How can our website also be a great salesperson?

  1. Its message provides clarity in a matter of seconds (elevator pitch). It makes the prospect curious to learn more (anticipation).
  2. The prospect trades an email address for learning more (business card).
  3. Then the salesperson starts qualifying the prospect through an ongoing dialogue (follow-up).

You see, it is pretty much the same thing, the only difference is that a salesperson is limited to doing this with one customer at a time while a website can do this with thousands of prospects at once, anywhere, anytime.

This is a tough act for humans to follow!

And yes I know, you may be thinking, but there is nothing like the human touch....

But frankly, I think that is just the fear inside of us talking. A lot of people automatically start hyperventilating as soon as they hear about sales automation, especially those who are so blinded by primal fear that they haven't opened up to understanding it.

It's a bit like all those people a century ago who thought that automobiles were the devil's work.

Relax! Sales automation is NOT about evil robots running off with your jobs. Rather, this is about using technology to leverage the sales effort.

Simply put, if set up correctly, this technology will bring in more leads than any human sales person ever could.