One of my absolute pet peeves in life is when someone makes it incredibly difficult for me to do business with them. This can be hiding buy buttons on a video sales letter, making me go through a long-winded launch sequence that forces me to watch “training” I don’t want or need and it even happens in physical stores when the shop doesn’t take credit cards or something.
My number one rule in business is, “Make it easy for the customer to give you their money.”
Seriously, I’m not even sure why this needs to be discussed, but it obviously does because the number of people who routinely become sales inhibitors with their “conversion” tactics or just plain stupidity never ceases to amaze me. And I want you, my loyal followers and associated sycophants to be better than this.
I’m going to give you a few examples of how this problem manifests itself in day to day life leaving me wanting to educate said people with my size 11’s in their backside.
The first example is a physical newsletter I’ve recently subscribed to. I like the person that creates it, I find the topic interesting, but for whatever reason, his shopping cart (SamCart in this instance) has decided to not properly process my credit card on the rebill. I got a warning, checked my balances and there should have been no problem. An hour later, another failure warning. Something isn’t right with this.
I go onto SamCart and drop in a new credit card and a couple hours later it too failed. Then it failed three more times overnight.
Clearly, there’s a problem with the shopping cart, so being a good guy, I email the person and explain it. Couple days goes by, I get a response asking if I want someone to call me and do the transaction over the phone.
I try yet another card, the same failure results so I send an email saying, yeah, let’s figure out another way for you to get this rebill done.
Crickets. Nothing back. Not a response.
At this point, I’m just going to let it go – there isn’t an easy way to cancel the subscription but since they can’t figure out how to correctly charge me, I guess the point is moot.
Another example was recently with a launch for a software product that I thought would be pretty interesting to look at. The person doing the launch decided to go with the whole “three education video, then a sales video” approach to selling his product which made it really frustrating for myself and some others.
We can get into a long-winded debate about whether these things work or whatever, but that’s not the point. I was a potential customer (as were some other people), sitting there with my credit card in hand and the only thing we wanted was to see a demo of the tool, maybe a rundown of the features in a couple minutes and then be able to click the buy button and hand over $400 for a year to use the tool.
Apparently, our willingness to quickly disassociate ourselves from our money had us filtered out of the funnel as “not the target audience.” The “target audience” for the launch appeared to be people who needed to be educated about the basics of the problem and convinced to buy as opposed to people who understood the problem and were willing to pay to have it solved without giving up over an hour of their time before being deemed worthy of seeing a buy button.
The last example happened today and was really the prompt for this email. I was walking around Sydney CBD and I wandered into an electronics store to pick up a new Lightning cable for charging my iPhone. I didn’t really need to make this purchase, but Apple has just gotten Apple Pay working with ANZ Bank cards and I’d set mine up earlier with my phone.
Now, let me put it out there. I’ve had Apple Pay working on my iPhone 6+ for awhile now with my Amex card, so this isn’t that new to me. However, I was wandering past the store and thought I might get a cable but more importantly try out my new Apply Pay card. I got up to the counter and the woman says, “Oh, we don’t take Apple Pay.”
I kid you not, right behind her was an Apple Pay poster promoting the iPhones being on sale in the store. It was one of those times where you’d almost hope the universe would reach out and smite this person just so we’d collectively see our average IQ go up. I pointed to the sign and she said, “Nah, that’s just for promotion. You can use PayWave though with the actual card.”
My face contorted. I know it did because I could feel it uncontrollably spasming and the look on her face suggested that she could see my discomfort with her answer. I composed myself and said, “It’s the same technology. It is no different at all.”
She argued with me that her manager told the staff that it didn’t work and they must tell customers, blah blah blah. I was just sitting there, staring at this millennial with her badly cut hair, strange tattoos, an abundance of piercings and a misplaced sense of self-confidence thinking, “Everything we’ve done has ill-prepared you to be a functioning member of society.”
To avoid making a scene, having her tell me that words hurt and she needing to be in a safe place, I composed myself and said, “Hey, can we try it?”
She capitulated begrudgingly and what do you know, it worked. She called over a few of her hipster colleagues who stopped admiring each other’s second-hand vinyl collections on their phones and showed them it worked. One of them said, “We should post that on Insta.”
I took my bag and left quickly.
In each of those instances, people have made it unnecessarily hard to take my money from me when I want to give it to them. I’m a good customer, I freely part with my money when I want something and I have fairly high disposable income – I’m the sort of person you want to do business with.
Why in the name of all things sacred do you want to make it difficult for yourself?
It doesn’t make sense!
Don’t do this in your business.
I mentioned before the painful testing and nonsense that I’ve gone through to make it as easy as possible for people to subscribe to the Casual Marketer Monthly Newsletter. The mad genius behind The Active Marketer (and Casual Marketer Newsletter subscriber), Barry Moore and I spent a couple weeks tossing ideas around and trying out different solutions to make the process easy for our customers on our respective sites. He settled on Easy Digital Downloads and I stuck with Gravity Forms (I’ve subsequently moved on to ThriveCart – you should too!)
This was a really important exercise for both of us because we wanted the enrollment process for our customers to be smooth and simple. When you’re asking people to trust you to provide good quality information in a timely fashion, the last thing you want is to make them go through some janky process to sign up.
Or worse yet, make them invest hours of their time listening to you ramble on about something they’re not interested in learning before giving them the pleasure of paying you. If I’m standing there with my credit card in my hand, knowing what your product does and I just want to know what it costs so I can pay you, then I’m a good customer. Trying to convince yourself that knowledgeable people with disposable income aren’t your ideal customer is basically saying you want to do business with stupid, poor people. Maybe it works, but it is far from ideal.
Bottom line, go through your sales process like a customer and figure out how to make it as simple as you can for them to pay you. I can’t really make it any more simple than that. You will always do better financially if you make it easy for customers to do business with you!