Are You Turning Off Prospective Buyers Before You Get a Chance to Quote?
One of the biggest buyers in town is looking for a new print provider. The buyer is 43 years old, works for a tech company, has the title “Marketing Director,” oversees trade shows, runs a robust direct mail program, and manages all collateral. To find a new printer, what do you think the buyer does? Do they:
- Look up printers in the online “Yellow Pages” and then call?
- Spend 40 minutes investigating on LinkedIn, then send a message to a few sales reps?
- Type “Printers near me” into their preferred search engine, see who shows up, visit three to five websites, and then fill out a contact form on the site that looks the best?
Never the first. Maybe the second. Most likely, the third. Much has been written about the unsettling fact that prospects do not want to talk to salespeople during the early stages of the buying journey. Instead, buyers prefer to do their own research, and the first sales encounter occurs online when the buyer visits your website.
Your website is where that buyer meets you for the first time. Think of it as a visit to your virtual office building. The homepage represents your smiling receptionist who briefly describes your company and invites the buyer to take a self-guided tour to learn about your services.
Your website sells. So why do so many printing companies have websites that barely make an effort to serve as their company’s frontline ambassadors? Why do so many websites miss the mark when presenting a company’s benefits, include overly-bland descriptions of services and ho-hum visuals, and contain outdated information and annoying broken links?
Websites are not like fine wines. They do not get better with age. They’re more like milk, where they can go sour over time. Doing a “sniff” test is easy. Pick three competitors and look at their websites. Does yours look better, about the same, or worse? If yours looks better, great! Pat yourself on the back and set up a quarterly reminder to investigate in the future.
If you look about the same or worse, decide if this is something you need to fix. If you have plenty of business and are seeing strong sales growth, you could decide that nothing needs to be done. On the other hand, if you think making a stronger first impression would support revenue-building, then come up with a plan and decide whether you want to rebuild or refresh, and if you should hire an agency or freelancer or do the work in-house.
A good website has a cost, but so does a weak website. The cost of mediocrity is lost business. Is that a cost you want to pay?
Linda Bishop is the founder and president of Thought Transformation, a national sales and marketing consulting group helping printers and other companies achieve top-line growth through a combination of strategies, tools, training and tactics.
Her expertise includes all aspects of outbound selling and account acquisition, account retention and development, solution selling, marketing, and aligning sales processes with marketing strategies.
Before starting Thought Transformation in 2004, Linda sold commercial printing for seventeen years, working as a commission salesperson for the Atlanta division of RR Donnelley Company. She was one of the top performers in the Atlanta marketplace and had annual sales exceeding $9 million.
Linda has a BS degree in accounting from Purdue University and an MBA in marketing from Georgia State. She has written several books on sales topics, speaks nationally on sales, marketing and customer service, and has published many articles.