High pressure, pushy, keep-your-keys until you sign kind of sales people.
You know what I’m talking about. It’s the stigma a lot of car salesman fall prey to. Lucky for me, I never fell into that category — or at least no one ever told me.
I’m in a mastermind group and the current topic is selling. How to sell, when to ask for the sale, and avoiding the hard sale. When people think about car sales, that’s all they can think about — the sales cycle.
Growing up in a family owned dealership, it was the entire process that sold people — not just the price.
The poor car salesman
I want to spend a few second chatting about why car salesman get a bad wrap.
Sure there are mega-dealerships that employee hundreds, if not thousands of sales people. High turn over, all about volume kind of places. But you also have to take into account the brand of car they are selling.
You don’t typically see this in a Porsche or BMW store. For good reason.
See, not so different from the web services business, customers are very educated. I haven’t been in the car scene for about 6 years, so I’m almost certain there’s even more data available to the customer than when I was selling.
No other industry makes it this easy for a customer to negotiate a price to a competitor down the street for a competing product and the SAME product than the car industry does. Sprinkle in some internet research and the customer knows your costs, including how much the manufacturer withholds for shipping and advertising fees.
The customer is prepared to do battle.
Mix that with mega stores, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a western showdown. I was taught to sell the entire experience, not just the price.
Selling the experience
Next, we’ll look at 3 scenarios I took from the car industry and how I applied them to my web services career. These are just snapshots that represent a greater process in each case.
Car salesman: We’re conveniently located right off of the highway. We’ve got a 20 stall garage and generous waiting room, so that your service visits aren’t a hassle. We’ve been at this location for 30 years and the staff is friendly and accommodating.
Agency: We have a great studio space located down town in a historic mill. A majority of our team meets together in the space Monday through Friday working with one another on your project. We can arrange meetings on site if you’re not comfortable planning creative over Skype or conference calls.
The freelancer: I don’t have the overhead of rent, which allows me to add more value to our engagement. I’m flexible to meet at your location or a co-working space to review creative.
Service and support
Car salesman: “We have a call center and an online booking system, so making appointments or getting in touch with your customer rep will never be an issue. We routinely remind you of regular maintenance and have courtesy car service if your vehicle stays overnight.”
Agency: “We have a help desk ticketing system which is monitored 24/7 by a dedicated support team. Live chat and phone support is available during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Support and maintenance contracts are available to have a dedicated engineer monitor your website and general web consulting if needed.”
The freelancer: “I’m available to routinely update your website and provide support via e-mail. We can schedule Skype session to review something you might be struggling with. I use a managed WordPress host to ensure your site is backed up and secure.”
Car salesman: “There’s a lot of technology in your new vehicle and important safety features I’d like to call to your attention. After we complete the vehicle walk around, I’d like to spend some time in the cabin reviewing how to customize the car to each driver. While we’re doing this, our customer service reps are preparing the paper work and the inspection sticker documents to complete our delivery.”
Agency: “Once the project is complete, we’ll schedule a training session for you and your team. We will cover the custom features of your new site, how your staff will access content, and the various workflows of publishing. Additional hours are available and we can schedule them with your project manager. Before launching, we’ll run through our launch checklist to make sure there are no interruptions.”
The freelancer: “I’ve created video screencasts that walk you through your new website. They will show you how to publish new content and how to setup new menu items. If you need additional help, I can recommend WordPress training or we can schedule another meeting.”
Will this work for you?
I hope you see where I’m going with this.
There are some finer points involved in each step, but you should see the trickle down effect. Each scenario is familiar no matter what business or stage of web services you’re in. The customer’s experience is what you should be focusing on and not just the hours on an invoice.
If your current clients aren’t seeing the value in this process — perhaps it’s time to find new clients.
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