A few weeks ago, right before clicking “confirm” on an order for several basketball tickets, I noticed a surprising number …
The total price was nearly double what I expected.
Somewhere between the time I selected the tickets and entered my credit card, several fees were added.
The extra costs were so frustrating that I immediately left the website and bought tickets elsewhere.
In the marketing world, this type of hidden problem within a sales cycle is referred to as “friction.”
You can define friction as any variable that slows down or stops progress in the sales process. It’s basically anything that people complain about when telling someone about a buying experience.
The longer friction goes undetected, the more revenue you lose.
But here’s the good news:
Once you find and fix a friction point, sales are almost certain to follow.
This is one of the secrets to creating a successful marketing campaign.
You simply identify what’s preventing prospects from taking your desired action and then provide a solution.
For instance, Uber and Lyft burst on the scene because they removed the friction associated with taxis. Prices are usually less than normal taxi fares, and you don’t have to deal with long wait times.
Zappos removes the friction associated with buying shoes online by offering a free 365-day return policy. If your shoes don’t fit or you don’t like them, you have a full year to send them back at no cost.
I’m not a Constant Contact fan (and especially the company’s ridiculous “be a marketer” campaign), but it’s hard to argue against their offer. They remove buying friction by providing a free 60-day trial.
So think about it …
What friction is preventing prospects from moving forward with you?
Is price a problem?
Offer a payment plan or provide more value.
Are they skeptical of your claims/offer?
Try a trial period or share more “how-to” content.
Do people worry you won’t be available when they need help?
Make it easy to reach you or give a guarantee.
If you fix the friction, you’ll often uncover a hidden source of sales.
Now, the theory behind this second location for hidden sales is just as basic. You’d be amazed, though, at how often it gets overlooked.
So here’s the deal:
Dean Jackson (who I’ve mentioned here before) regularly talks about a company called The Inquiry Handling Service.
As you can probably guess, the company handles inquiries for companies.
What’s interesting is, they also perform regular surveys on the leads that come in. The first survey goes out after 90 days and involves just one question:
Did you buy?
The question is then asked again 90 days later … and then 90 days after that … and again 90 days later …
The survey continues until someone buys.
What IHS discovered is that about 50% of the people buy within 18 months of their initial inquiry.
So if you have 200 leads total, 100 of those people will become buyers within a little more than a year.
Crazy thing is …
Only 15% of those buyers purchase within the first 90 days.
So 85% of the buying activity happens more than three months after an initial inquiry!
The reality is, if you only focus on people who are ready to buy right now, you ignore a HUGE amount of potential sales.
You also encourage prospects to buy from someone other than you.
Think about it …
What’s your process for keeping in contact with prospects who aren’t ready to buy your product or hire you right now? What value do you deliver to them on a consistent basis?
Too often all we focus on is generating new leads …
When untapped opportunities are likely just sitting in your pipeline right now.
You just have to engage with value and keep the conversation moving forward.
Each time you do, the relationship grows stronger.
Of course, you can offer more buying opportunities too.
The process might take time, but at some point — if you maintain communication with value — those “old” prospects will be ready to move forward.
So reach out to them now!