I’ve been selling websites since the late ‘70s and bought a car or two during that time. It struck me that the two experiences have a lot in common. I invite you to follow along with me to run with this analogy. You might find a tip or two about buying your next website project.
Equally as important, if you can walk through what your customers experience as they go through a purchasing process you might discover opportunities to improve on your closings.
The process that our clients go through as they begin to narrow their search and decide if we are a good fit or not for their project is in fact much like a car buying experience.
There are the luxury car manufacturers, the rugged heavy-duty dependable cars, and economical cars. There are domestic and foreign, hybrids and guzzlers.
The car buyer either consciously or subconsciously takes into consideration their life style, ego, and pocketbook first and then probably begins to research the ratings, maintenance issues, projected costs, and average vehicle life to help narrow down the choices. There are some car buyers who already know what they want—they have seen it and been thinking about it ever since.
Finally it’s a visit to the bank to determine financing options since today buying a car is the equivalent to when our parents bought homes. Car loans look more like mortgages. If all of the options and financing are out of range then there are the used car lots that offer up selections that range from lemons to sweet deals to get you into a new car – at least new for you.
Once you’ve selected your car and all the options have been narrowed down, it is time to start scheduling visits to dealerships to test drive these babies.
First, you go online to find a reputable dealer, one where you know you’ll get a fair deal and reliable after-sale service. You look at their websites, check their reviews, and ask your friends and acquaintances what they know and who they know. You never know if someone has an uncle or niece in the business that will cut you a special deal and serve you like a rock star, so it is always worth asking around.
Now that you’ve picked a dealer, next you begin to schedule time to walk around the lots and see how the cars look up close, then slip into the driver seat and try not to become intoxicated with the new car smell. Hit the road to see how she runs, turns, and handles over bumps.
The last stop is the sales manager’s desk to begin the negotiation of selecting which bells and whistles are included and what you are going to have to pay extra to get. Next you negotiate a final price, payment arrangements, terms, warranties and other service details, as well as a delivery date. At last, the contract: you read it over and sign on the bottom line.
Then head home; try to manage the flood of emotions that range from panic to euphoria and wait for delivery.
Is buying a website any different? It feels like the same experience to me, at least from the selling viewpoint. Seems odd equating what I do to selling cars, but let’s face it, we’re a web design and development company and a marketing service agency so yes, I guess we sell websites.
I do believe our clients and prospects go through a very similar series of stages, evaluations, and emotions.
What do your clients and prospects experience as they consider your company?
Mardy Sitzer is a certified inbound marketing professional and president of Bumblebee Design & Marketing. Since 1993, Mardy has been delivering creative and innovative marketing solutions. An avid reader of all things internet and marketing, she also writes blogs, articles, and web content for industry magazines as well as for Bumblebee’s clients. She is an adjunct professor at Fordham University and instructor at Rutgers University teaching social media for business. Follow her on Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.