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Is Your Website Making an Indecent Proposal?

Nov 17, 2007
How many people get married on their first date? I'd guess that it happens maybe one time in ten thousand, and I'd also guess that most of those marriages end before the bride and groom have gotten over their hangovers. There's a reason that people spend months or years deciding whether or not to get married-you can't gather all the information you need to make such an important decision in a short period of time.

There are just too many unknowns on a first date-you may be able to tell right away that your date looks good or dresses well, but what can you tell about their flaws, history, or plans for the future? Not much, because they, like you, are trying to appear as attractive as possible. You need time to get to know someone, and find out where they've been, find out what your friends think about them, and find out whether they're in it for the long haul. And, of course, your date will need time to find the same things out about you. If you propose marriage on a first date once, it might be good for a laugh. Keep talking about it, though, and you're more likely to get arrested than married.

The same basic principle applies in business. Lots of purchases happen quickly and without much thought-the equivalent, maybe, to a quick dance in a club. However, if you sell a product or service with a long buying cycle, if you're asking for the business equivalent of a long-term relationship, you need to allow your customers time to get to know you before they commit. You probably know this already, or you'd have a hard time staying in business. But here's the question: does your website reflect the fact that you know it, or does your website demand too much of your customers too quickly? Let's look at the questions your customers are asking, and how your website can give the right answers.

Are You Attractive? First impressions are just as important on websites as anywhere else. Your site needs to tell the customer right away what business you're in. You need to assure the customer that you do in fact provide the product or service they're looking for, and that you can do it in a professional manner. If your site is a jumbled, incoherent mess, you'll lose your chance with the customer right away.

Who Are You? Once you have the customer's attention, you need to let them know exactly who you are. Your site should provide a brief history of your company, including key dates, major accomplishments, and any major changes you've gone through. You'll probably also want to provide some basic information on yourself and the key members of your team. Educational background, years in the industry, and the awards you've won are the sort of things you might want to include. Remember to keep this stuff short and to the point, though-don't start rambling about your favorite foods or your astrological sign.

Can You Be Trusted? You cannot overstate the importance of trust in long-term business relationships or large purchases. Your customer needs to know that you have honesty and integrity, but you can't just say "Trust me!" You need to demonstrate your trustworthiness. A good way to do this is to provide references from your other customers. Ask a few of your best customers to write testimonials for you, and try to make sure that they speak to your reliability, honesty, and ethics. You should also point out that you have accreditation from whatever professional organizations govern your industry. If you're a member of the Better Business Bureau, point that out as well.

Are You Serious About This? Make sure that your site demonstrates your customer service and product support capabilities. If your customers are spending a lot of money with you, they need to know that they're not going to regret it a month down the road.

What's the Next Step? Once you've answered these other questions, it's time to ask your customer to move forward with you. Again, you don't want to tell them to BUY NOW! Just tell them how to reach you on the phone, or how to set up an appointment, or how to fill out an inquiry form. If you've shown yourself to be a worthwhile partner, you'll have greatly increased the chance that your customer will be ready to take the plunge with you.
About the Author
Bob Regnerus, "The Leads King", is an expert at generating online traffic and converting web visitors into prospects and clients. To learn more about how your website and blog can be successful, effective tools for your business, please visit www.TheLeadsKing.com or contact Bob at 1-877-349-2615.
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