The Qualities Your Prospects are Looking For

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on March 29, 2010 in: Branding, Business - Plain & Simple

Just the other day I found a site that looked like it could potentially help my business. It was a SaaS (software-as-a-service site), which meant that they were asking for $29/month. The service looked really good. And it looked like it could fill a need in my business. But I didn’t buy. Here’s why…

Relationships take time to nurture and grow. Even if you believe in love at first sight, there was probably a period of time where your relationship grew from awkward and shy to more trusting and comfortable. And we’re not just talking about romantic relationships or friendships, but this is also true for customers as well.

There is a point in between the face-in-the-crowd stage and the “I’m-ready-to-become-a-customer” stage. That’s the prospect stage where someone has somehow indicated that they might be interested in hearing more about your offer from you (but you haven’t convinced them to buy yet).

In the prospect stage, as you are presenting them with your sales pitch and your winningest smile, it’s easy to talk about the benefits and features of your product or service:

  • “You’ll be more successful as a result of my coaching”
  • “Your satisfaction is fully guaranteed or I’ll refund 100% of your money”
  • “Compared to our competitors, our prices offer higher value and we have more attractive payment terms.”

… you get the idea. We tend to focus on the specifics of what we can do for them. That’s important to do. It’s a good sales practice. But it’s easy to miss some of the other questions that are going through their mind… and they are questions that they might not even realize they have!

They’re wondering about your…

  • Responsiveness: Are you going to return emails? Phone calls? IMs? Tweets? What’s your policy on this? Will they need to wait a week to hear back from you?
  • Dependability: Do you actually do what you say? Or are you just like all of the others out there who say one thing but can’t deliver?
  • Authority: Are you qualified? There are lots of people who can spin any background into a qualification. Is your authority credible?
  • Longevity: If they buy from you today, will you still be around tomorrow to deliver the service and/or honor your guarantee?

You don’t have to actually state these things in your pitches or proposals if you don’t think it’s appropriate. But it might be worth intentionally addressing them somewhere. For example, you might have a page called “Working Together” in which you address policies of mutual respect, communication, etc. And in your bio or “About Me” page, you can probably address some of the other elements, such as your authority.

And that’s the ultimate reason why I skipped the seemingly high-value SaaS app that I was looking at. In some cases, I’m happy to be an early adopter but in other cases – as in this case – they didn’t convince me that they were going to be around long enough or be responsive enough to my needs for me to hand over my money. The pitch was great, the service looked perfect, but it was those little missing qualities that kept me from committing.

Happy Blogging!

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