Scenario: "Billy, I got an epiphany last night. The secret way to winning customer orders: Kiss their asses." Blah:
- Kissing customer asses won't win you customers because -- among other reasons -- they'll see right through you.
- There's a much simpler, and ethical, way to win new customer contracts.
What is it?
Just make your buying process ridiculously easier.
Most companies set up their sales cycle in some sorta twisted-please-run-away-vibe fashion:
- The gem: "We have tons products on sale. But, you don't really know about it because we have no product brochures offline, or online. To know about our next-generation products, please ask us. Then if we can get our butts in gear, maybe we'll create an ordering form for you."
- Or the classic: "You need to fill out Document A, B, C, J, P, Z, highlighting the number of widgets you want. Then, fax them to us. Wait five days. Then, we'll see if we have the quantities available to fill your orders. Then, we'll send you a fax the following Tuesday. Then...then....then.......yadda, yadda, yadda."
People usually drop orders from companies with mega-stupid ordering processes. Why?
It takes too long.Customer: "Uh-oh. You mean I have to work my butt off to purchase a product from you?" You: "Yes. But we'll do a lot of work too."
It drains productivity.Customer: "I have to fill out ten purchase forms, wait for your responses, then call you repeatedly? We'd rather build our businesses than going through exhausting purchase forms." You: "We'll have to fulfill orders, return phone calls, and ensure smooth transactions, constantly. Yes, we'd too rather build our business than repeatedly doing something that drains us from building our rock star business."
It kills repeat-purchases.Customer: "I'd love to buy from you again. But, your competitor's ordering process is so much easier." You: "Why are we getting so many 'one-and-done' orders? Aren't repeat purchases 80% easier than new purchases?"
When your order processes are out of whack, watch your bottom line shrink faster than Nicole Richie's waistline.
What do you do?
Simply, and repeatedly, shorten these two points:
- Point A: Widget in warehouse.
- Point B: Widget on customer's desk.
The longer the line, the more profits you'll lose. So, start shrinking that mutha flucka line connecting A-B in half each month. That's it.
Follow the Fortune 500s
A number of Fortune 500s have built a great chunk of their profits by simply quickening the ordering process. Whether it's getting a pizza delivered without traffic headaches, or buying a computer from the luxury of your room, simplifying people's lives -- we think, anyway -- lies as one of the best ways to win new, repeat, and referral customer contracts. Some examples of how the bigger guys are making it easier to purchase from them:
Ex. A: Domino's Pizza and the Pizza IndustryBefore: Hop in car. Brave through traffic. Order pizza. Wait 1 hour. Eat. Drive home through traffic. Arrive home. After: Pizza in 30 minutes. If your order doesn't get to your house in half-an-hour, it's free. That's how Domino's initially built their businesses. The resulting model trickled over to other pizza joints, making the pizza a quick, household tradition.
Ex. B: Apple's iPod and iTunesBefore: Hop in car. Find CDs during business hours. Wait in line. Buy. Brave home. Now: Log onto your computer 24-hours a day. Get any song you want. Apple made it easier for music enthusiasts to purchase songs-on-the-go-any-time-any-day. Don't have time to buy new songs to put in your CD player for tomorrow's run? Just hop on iTunes, and get your music when you want them -- all within 5 minutes.
Ex. C: FedEx's Pickup ProgramsBefore: Hop in car. Buy boxes. Go home. Wrap those boxes with items. Hope in car. Go to shipping depot. Fill out forms. Submit your orders. After: Fill out forms one time. FedEx travels to your door weekly to pick up and deliver your orders. The other cool benefit: it gives your boxes for next week's shipment.
Ex. D: Dell's Direct-to-Order ModelBefore: Hop in car. Buy computers from salesmen, with generic parts not really suited for your needs. Brave home. After: Log onto your computer 24/7. Fill out your preferences with a super useful guide. Submit order. Get your order within weeks.
Most of those "buy-my-books-because-I'm-a-super-biz-guru" people tell you that the big business model is crap. Sure embracing the "I-hate-big-business" mindset makes us seem rebellious -- but as small businesses, we all can learn tremendously from what those bigger guys do.
Make it easier for customers to purchase from you.
Improve your business's and customer's productivity. Then watch as you fatten both of your bottom lines, morale, productivity, and repeat-relationships. The focus:
Shorten your order process like a mutha flucka.
Posted on August 20
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