Window Shopping

Do customers keep browsing after they visit your website?
Rich Harshaw
September 9, 2019
COLUMN : Your Business Matters | Sales & Marketing

Many industry websites are like shoe stores at the mall. Trust me; it’s not as much of a stretch as one may think. Consider the following scenario:

You want to buy a new pair of running shoes. The mall is a good place for shoe shopping because they have several competing shoe stores, so you’ll be able to look around and find exactly the right shoe at the best possible price. 

When you get to the mall, you naturally go to the store first that’s closest to where you came in. Once inside, you head to the usual, expected large wall of shoes, look for the section you’re interested in and glance around to see if any shoes catch your attention. If so, you’ll pick up the display, check the price and, if you find something you like, you might try on a pair.

What happens next is where this story gets interesting—and a lot like your window and door company. Even if you find a pair of shoes you like and you believe the price is fair, chances are extraordinarily high that you’ll leave the store, walk down the hall and look somewhere else. 

Why? The second store looks very similar to the first—it, too, has a wall of shoes, a section dedicated to running shoes, and a nearly identical lineup of brands, colors and styles, and all priced within 5 percent of the first store. Then you’ll leave that store to go check out a third. And a fourth, if the mall has that many shoe stores.

So why didn’t you just buy from the first store? You didn’t leave the first store because you didn’t like it, or because they had a terrible selection; not even because you felt like their prices were too high. You left because you wanted to make sure you were getting the best shoe for you at the best price available. You wanted to see what else was out there. You end up buying the shoes from the third store. Or the second. Or maybe you go back to the first. 

Many websites are like one of the shoe stores: the mall is like Google and prospective customers are the shoe shoppers.

Differentiate

Prospective customers browse around from website to website just to see what’s available and what all of the competition looks like. When they find that one website—pretty as it may be—looks and feels essentially exactly like all the others, the prospect calls whichever one they happened to look at last. Or whichever one happened to seem best.

The problem is, each company is not exactly like competitors. Each does things differently. Some companies work harder, pay more attention to details, have more experience, treat people better, warranty the work longer and a dozen other points that make one company the best choice.

A website’s job is to convince customers that particular company is, in fact, the best choice. It should communicate advantages in clear, compelling, passionate language. Don’t save “the good stuff” for the sales meeting—it might be too late. Put it all out there on the website. 

Give people enough information, enough evidence and enough proof that your company is the best choice before the sales rep ever sets foot in their home.  

This requires a conscious plan—think about it, and fashion and articulate the arguments. Those that don’t end up looking exactly like all of their competitors: one of many indistinguishable pretty faces in the crowd. 

If a website doesn’t pass the “fall in love” test, fire it immediately, regardless of how new it is, or how much money it cost to develop. Fire it and start over. 

Too much is at stake. Too many qualified visitors will “step into the store,” look around, then click to another site and never return. Not because they didn’t like what they saw, or because they liked somebody else better. But because the website lacked the power, precision and passion to make them fall in love.

In the end, company websites should make visitors say, “I would have to be an absolute fool to do business with anyone else but you, regardless of price.”

Does your website do that? 

Rich Harshaw is CEO of Level 10 Contractor, which helps clients forge a unique identity and facilitate massive growth. He is also the author of three books, including “Unlocking Unlimited Lead Flow.” He can be reached at 817/416-4333.