My early years in sales involved numerous client visits on a daily basis while squeezing in a quick lunch of “2 for 1 Dogs” at Seven/Eleven. This expedited meal plan allowed me to experience first-hand that walking into a prospective client meeting with “mustard stains” on my dress shirt was not a good start to the relationship. While I still sneak in various specials at the local convenience store, I have learned that “strategic placement” of a few extra napkins can achieve a much more productive outcome for a successful ongoing sales dialogue. In my recent blog post, “Hiring the Perfect Salesman (He or She Does Exist),” I had exhibited the attributes of the perfect salesperson that exist within the framework of your existing company website. The initial step for activation is “The First Impression”.
Your Company Website is “The First Impression” for the Majority of Prospective Customers
As with most salespeople in your organization, first impressions are critical and set the stage for how prospects view your organization. The first impression of your website is no different. An unprofessional or dated website can create a negative first impression resulting in potential customers moving on and “halting” the conversation. A professional looking website positively reflecting your brand can create a first impression that draws potential customers in while promoting ongoing dialog through seamless access to their desired information. If you are a manufacturer targeting the engineering community, the first impression of your website presence is becoming more significant. Recent trending outlined in the 2014 Global Spec study of Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector indicates:
- 68% of engineers visit at least six websites each week for work-related purposes.
- 79% of engineers utilize supplier websites as their top digital resource for researching potential vendors.
- 74% utilize the Internet to find components, equipment, services and suppliers.
- 73% obtain product specifications.
- 69% compare products across suppliers.
“Strategically Placing Napkins” to Maximize Your Website’s First Impression
The first step to activating your perfect salesperson is making sure that your website is representative of your company’s strategic advantage, as well as, the quality of the products and/or services being offered. Pre-disposed buyer criteria exists at the onset of any typical sales dialog. These measures typically establish who you are, what you offer, can you solve their problems, and for whom else you have solved this problem. In today’s digital buying space, this qualifying dialog is expedited with potential customers being one “click” away from finding their desired information elsewhere. Today’s internet buyers need to be quickly educated on your products and/or services to support a prompt determination of your ability to solve their specific problem. Should you fail to engage these prospective customers by delivering useful, engaging content, they will move on to your competitors’ website.
A Successful “First Impression” Website
- Engages visitors with good design, user-friendly navigation and a distinct value proposition.
- Validates the company reputation with historical information, industry certifications, subject matter expertise, and supporting resources.
- Answers questions about your products and services though detailed product information and specifications.
- Exhibits to visitors that you can effectively “solve their problem” from relevant client experience.
- Captures contact information for ongoing sales dialog by offering premier content like white papers, research reports, and thought leadership articles.
Potential customers are increasingly spending more and more time online to research work-related products and services. Current trending indicates that your company website has the capability of being your top resource for prospective customer engagement. To do so, you need to present a strong first impression differentiating from your competition, and eliminating any potential “mustard stains” that may be visible on the website.