Converting your customer - are you wasting your time?
Most businesses find themselves in either the service industry or the product industry, but both have their challenges when it comes to convincing the customer to make the purchase with your business.
It's a commitment. Even from a one-time purchase to a contractual service, the customer is taking the faith in your product, which is great right? So long as you back it up with excellent service, support, and you are confident in your offering then you are on to a winner.
There's another side of the coin; there are customers who are close but just haven't quite made it over the line yet. The ones who seem to be forever in the "prospect pipeline" or always wander into the shop, looks around and leaves. The entrepreneur inside you might say "well, they're not convinced yet!" but if there is something more valuable than money in business, then it's time. How much time do you have to convince Customer X that your product or service offering is for them? Should you spend hours trying to convert the unconvertable?
The answer is no.
If the customer isn't buying into your philosophy or isn't sure you're the right fit for them then spending too much time after this is going to be wasted. Sometimes the consumer is just not ready to become your customer right now, or they are not convinced of your ability or brand which can be relevant for new start-ups or entrepreneurs.
Let's say you convince Customer X that you are the right fit. You'll make it work. You've probably managed to do this by overpromising or adding extra services for free or perhaps a sweet discount to get him over the line. You've just given this customer a whole new perspective on your business. His expectations now are to haggle or stall. What's worse, perhaps you have overpromised on what you can deliver. The negative review months down the line for poor service or a slow delivery of a product could affect your future sales.
You are a salesperson, first and foremost if you have started your own business. If you're not, then you have to learn how to be one quickly. If your product is reliable and appealing to customers then all your marketing push, efforts and strength should be towards them. You should be trying to sell to your customers, not the people who have yet to become a customer. If you offer services and make some calls, send some emails, and 9 people come back to you with even the slightest interest then those are your targets. Those are the ones that you push to convince.
Out of those 9 people, however, 4 people drop off along the way. It's not for them. That's okay. You might be sitting there thinking "but my service will make their lives ten times easier!"
Ultimately, if they aren't interested or they cannot see the value then it's not going to be time well spent. Remember; you cannot drag someone to success.
Discounts. Never do it for the purpose of converting a customer to a client or a lurker in your shop to a sale of your item. Never do it. Not only does the cheapen your product and your brand but people start to wonder why you even set prices anyway - do you expect to be knocked down? There are two things every customer is looking for, even yourselves when you're looking to pay for something in everyday life. It's the value - what it can bring to your business, and it's the cash flow. So long as your prices are good value or perceived good value for your target customers then the prices are never an issue.
By perceived good value, I mean that there will be customers who will happily pay you £200 a month for your service. No questions asked. There will be others who were looking to be ideally spending around £150, but the value is there so they can see the £200 investment and go for it. If a customer's budget is only £100 a month, then you've got this issue; they may see the value but cannot afford it. The cash flow is their problem. Do you discount to help them get on board? No. Why are you charging £200 a month to begin with if you can drop it by 50% to £100? Don't devalue yourself. When their business has grown, and they are in a better position, you will be the valuable service they've been working towards.
If people struggle to see the value though in your product or service, then that's something entirely different. Your pitch is not up to scratch, or you haven't answered their questions or allayed their concerns. A customer for a service has a problem. A customer for a product has a need or desire, depending if it's a luxury product. Are you selling yourself as the solution to the problem? The fulfiller of this customers needs?
The unconvertable either isn't ready for your product/service or just cannot afford it right now. If you spend your time on the customers who can be converted then, you'll see the returns. You have to put in the work to generate the sales and by reaching out to every single business or consumer in your local area, you'll make more opportunities and you'll create more connections with people.
Spend the time on the people who care about your business and understand your goals and philosophies and they'll join you for the ride.
About the author
Ben Nacca is an accountant but is nothing like the stereotype you have visualised in your mind! He has worked in the accounting industry for almost a decade and is CEO here at Cone.
Ben loves travelling the world, playing video games and playing his acoustic guitar whenever he finds the time between spending time with his two chihuahuas, Hugo and Pablo!