why you're losing your prospects

Have you ever wondered why your prospects abandon ship before you can make a sale? Well, consider the following:

The Competition Has Something You Don't.

Look, this is an obvious one. So why do I feel the need to tell you? Because I've worked with a lot of people who don't really do competitor research anymore. This doesn't even have to be an expensive effort: just spend some time on your competitors' websites, and ask a few people you trust to do the same. What does the competition have that you don't? Are they mobile-optimized? Is their site better-looking? Do they give away a puppy with every purchase? I've even been known to go with one company over the other based on who seems to have an "attitude" that's more like mine. It's not always going to be black-and-white to you, which is where those trusted advisers will come in; with their fresh perspective, they'll be able to act more like an average customer.

You're Not Taking Care of Your Existing Customers.

It drives me up the wall when companies focus so much on new prospects that they forget about their current customers. Seriously. It's a speeding car that drives on walls, taking me with it. Not only is attending to your customers' needs the right thing to do, but it's really in your best interest. You'll find yourself diverting less resources to sales and more to the products or services for which you started your business in the first place. So when your customer encounters a question or a problem, if you don't have a system in place for addressing it quickly and accurately, then adjust your systems before you make even one more sale. Leveraging repeat customers and referrals means you'll be working smarter, not harder - and everyone will be happier for it.

You're Pushing Your Service Too Hard.

Here's a simple piece of advice: much like buttons marked "Deploy Flying Monkeys," customers shouldn't be pushed. Have you ever walked into a bank, only to be accosted by no less than four desperately bored managers, all of whom want to sell you on a new checking account (or maybe just assuage their loneliness)? How often does this actually work? People want to be valued as people, not customers, and they're well-attuned by now to the "I'll do anything to make a sale!" attitude. This is true of both websites and brick-and-mortar stores. Yes, make those calls to action visible - but let your prospects click on them in their own time. Your goal is to help somebody, not make a sale; but you'll probably find, if you do it right, that they're one in the same.

I could come up with a hundred more reasons why some companies can't hold onto their prospects, but I think the vast majority of them fall into one of the three categories above. To reiterate: make your website as good as (or better than) the competition, focus on repeat business by treating your customers like gold, and see every prospect as a person, not a lead. From there, get creative. You might, for example, give your sales people a higher commission on repeat business to incentivize successful relationships. Or you might study how people move through your site, and adjust the site navigation accordingly.

Or you could just give away a free puppy with every purchase. I'd sign up for that.


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