How to improve your buying process and increase sales
“Why Are You Making It So Hard?”
One of the things we like to explore with clients is an area of their business that rarely gets much attention—but IS ALWAYS CLOSELY SCRUTINISED BY CUSTOMERS — and that’s the buying process. In other words… how can you make it EASIER for customers to buy from you?
In their excellent book “WAYMISH: Why Are You Making It So Hard For Me To Give You My Money?” authors Ray Considine and Ted Cohn identify several areas where businesses actually make it more difficult than easy to deal with them. And like virtually everything else we recommend to clients and other business owners, it’s very easy to put this right.
Now, before we look more closely at this, I strongly advise you to walk through your own buying process.
Doing this will immediately identify ‘sticking points’ in your sales process that you’ve so far probably taken for granted.
So here are the four main elements of WAYMISH that you need to focus on to make doing business as easy as possible for your customers...
W.A.Y.M.I.S.H. #1: Making Customers Wait
Having to wait for service is one of the biggest complaints in any business. It sends a message to customers that their time doesn’t count... and neither do they.
Don’t just think in terms of making people wait for meetings and appointments – this covers a multitude of areas...
- Answering the phone
- Answering the office door
- People in waiting areas
- Delivery of product
- Meetings/appointments/estimates/consultations, etc.
- Management of queues
- Parking spaces available
- Engaged tones when ringing into the office
All these things irritate people, so getting them right will give you a significant edge over your competition. A good example of this is the leading supermarkets, who put on extra cashiers if more than two people are waiting in a queue!
W.A.Y.M.I.S.H. #2: Accessibility
How accessible is the business? That doesn’t necessarily mean your location. Here are the things you need to consider...
It still amazes me that many legal firms close for lunch – stupid. Make it easy for your customers.
Ask them when they would prefer the business to open. Change opening and closing times.
Having opening and closing times to suit customers rather than staff is what you must strive to achieve.
Clearly you don’t want to pander to your customers, but maybe staying open late one evening a week will be a massive hit with existing and new customers?
Days Of Business
How many days a week is your business open?
Even open on Sunday if you have to. Again, the business needs to be open on days your customers are most likely to visit. By the same token, there’s no point in opening on days that customers don’t buy.
Having a website makes the business open 24/7.
Easy Access To Products/Services
The good retail stores understand this completely. They know that product placement can make huge differences to the sales of certain items.
For example, manufacturers will pay a premium to the top supermarkets for their products to be placed at waist/eye level on certain aisles, because they know product placement can mean the difference between making some sales and making large volumes of sales.
W.A.Y.M.I.S.H. #3: Payment Options
Have as many payment options as possible available to customers.
You really are restricting sales if the business only offers one or two payment options.
Allow customers to pay by cash, cheque, credit cards, bank transfer, online payments, etc.
Then also look closely at structuring payments so customers can spread their payments. In the current economic climate, if you can restructure payment terms so customers pay in instalments, this can have an immediate effect on your business and, of course, your cash flow.
The point is this—what can you do to make it easier?
Remember, it doesn’t matter what business you’re in—you can use these tactics. It also lends itself to monthly billing. For example, a restaurant can create a ‘Members Club’ whereby customers pay a monthly membership fee that entitles them to dine twice a month. And so on.
I urge you to look carefully at how you can incorporate this into your business. The easier you make it for your customers to buy from you – the more sales you’ll generate!
W.A.Y.M.I.S.H. #4: Making It Difficult To Contact The Business
Since the advent of the internet, this has risen to almost epidemic proportions.
How often do you find a product or service online and, before buying, you want to ask a few questions? Then, to your frustration and later disgust, you can’t find any way to get in contact with the supplier. It’s like they’ve hidden their phone number and they don’t want you to contact them.
This is a prime example of losing huge volumes of sales by not making it easy for people to get in contact with the business. Showcase your phone number and e-mail address on all your marketing pieces.
Don’t make it difficult. Make it unbelievably easy for people to reach the business. Furthermore, I advise you to scrutinise your signage. I visit a lot of businesses, especially our clients’ offices, retail outlets and restaurants and I’ve often noticed, especially when visiting for the first time, how either insufficient signage or none at all makes it frustratingly hard to find them.
You must NEVER take this for granted. Having clear signage not only makes it easy for people to find you, but also showcases and promotes your business. It’s the cheapest form of advertising and you should make maximum use of it.
I like to term all these elements as your ‘slippery slope’. Once someone is interested in your business and, figuratively speaking, they step onto your slope, you make it so slippery, so easy for them to travel down it, that they can’t get off – until they buy, that is! That’s what W.A.Y.M.I.S.H. is all about.
Now it’s your turn. Look at your own business and apply W.A.Y.M.I.S.H. to it. Do that and you’ll increase your sales significantly (without spending a penny)! Contact the team today for further help and advice for your business.
Article written by Shirley Hollis.