In the sales trade, a salesperson who “shows up and throws up” pushes his agenda at customers with no concern for their needs or pain points. His canned presentation is only about his products and bores customers to tears.
Better salespeople realize that selling is about motivating customers, which rarely happens by just dumping product information on them. These salespeople work to understand the customer’s point of view and to put their product into the context of their customers world. Before talking product they might ask questions to find out...
• What are the problems or pain points unique to the customer?
• How does this customer fit into his or her competitive market?
• Are there technical, regulatory, or financial trends that will affect their needs?
• Which applications or best practices might affect this company's purchasing decisions?
Better salespeople focus on solving customer problems first, product information follows. They collect information and advice helpful to the customer not just with a purchase, but in using the product successfully.
Now, let’s get back to your website. Which of these two approaches describe the content on it? Is your content just about your company and products, or do you also have information helpful to solving customer problems?
Today, with 70% of the customer product evaluation occurring online, before company salespeople are contacted, simply showing your products is not enough. Smart companies are using their websites as the core part of a digital salesforce. The content on a website does more that show product information, it starts to sell the products as well.
There are two kinds of content needed:
First, problem solving content to draw potential customers to the site. This content:
• Helps customers feel like you are committed to their success. Don’t you think this is more meaningful than just telling your customers how committed you are?
• Motivate registration (for a newsletter or webinar etc.) and capture early stage sales leads.
• Helps customers become familiar with your website before they make a purchase. Wouldn’t it be better if they were familiar with your website before they head into their next product purchase?
In a recent blog post, Junta 42 founder Joe Pulizzi shared a great example of this this on the Monster.com website. Pulizzi noted that the needs of Monster's customers, as they look for jobs in the recession, were addressed directly on the site:
"Let's take a look at challenges faced by those people looking for or trying to keep their job:
What jobs will be readily available with the passage of the stimulus bill?
If I'm downsized, what do I need to do now to protect my career?
How much am I worth in a downturn?
How do I protect my job in a tough economy?
Can I still get a raise in a recession?
Those five questions that employees are struggling with are actually the first five articles on the Monster.com site."
Sure, Monster.com provides a job search service, but the content on the site does not hype their service, instead it services the customers.
Second a site should demonstrate the unique value of the products. Today's web savvy buyers use early website visits to narrow down a list of potential buyers to a short list. The content on your website needs to fight for your products to be on that short list.
What content is on your website? Hopefully, a balance of product and company information, combined with content that helps your customers solve problems and understand the unique value your products offer. If the content is just all about your products they may not make to the short list.
As you redesign your website it is important to focus on products but also include information that motivate potential customers to buy them from you and not elsewhere.
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