Do you want to be on the Web or SELL on the Web?

by Maitiu MacCabe -Senior Sales Coach



It's exciting and fearful. It's challenging and frustrating. And it's the "cutting edge" of selling and marketing in this new century -converting your thinking and your approach to SELLING ON THE WEB!

It's next to impossible to find an indigenous Irish web site that SELLS! Mainly, Irish web sites are on-line brochures and catalogues. Checking traffic statistics shows minimal "click-throughs", even on sites owned by companies whom you would expect to have high traffic. When you think about it, there is only one reason for commercial companies to have a web site: to help increase their sales by remote! Otherwise, it is a very expensive "investment"....and totally worthless. When I ask (which I often do) my clients to define the purpose of their sites, many of them see their websites only as "a presence on-line", and one that they could comfortably do without. What an utter and complete waste of money, time, and effort.

You need Proof?
Check out the various sites that you visit in the normal way of business. Look at them critically and you will see they are generally appalling from a selling point of view. Fancy graphics, whistles and bells, but no compelling reasons to cause you to take action, or give what I call their MWR (Most Wanted Response). Few of them telling you "What's in it for me", just lists of products and services with pictures and a contact address at the bottom of the page. Plenty of steak, but no sizzle. All tell, no sell. Designer sites that justify the designer's jobs but do nothing to create business for you. No thank you!

Why is this happening?
There are several reasons:

  • Sales people and Marketers are applying off-line sales and marketing strategies to a medium which has it's own unique methodology. They lack understanding of the sales dynamic of the web, which is quite, quite different to off-line marketing and selling. This is the principal error.
  • The monkeys have taken over the zoo...eh...I mean the teccies have taken over the technology bit. Ergo whistles, bells, slow-loading pages, fancy pantsy graphics, but no "click-through". NO SELLING!
  • Sales Managers, sellers, and marketers are "afraid" of the technology bit, or don't wish to make the effort to understand or learn how on-line selling and marketing works. As a result, the design house and ad agency "experts" advise them on their set-up. Have you worked out how these guys make their money?....He-ll-o? Fine, leave the technical bits to the geeks, but insist on focussing the selling content and the selling purpose of your site.
  • Web penetration is far lower in Ireland than in most developed companies. Question: What are you doing to compel your database contacts to click through to your site? "Whah?...you mean they won't just open the site to see what's on offer...damn!"
  • Selling in Ireland is still far too focussed on "eyeballing" the potential customer, and sales promotion only pulls the customer into a situation to be eyeballed!
  • In Irish SME's (Small and Medium Enterprises) the Sales Manager is often also the sales promotions/ marketing manager, a job for which (s)he may often be neither trained nor suited. Thus, they fall back on what they know best: "eyeball-to-eyeball" selling - more calls -get the appointment - you gotta see 'em to sell 'em!

People Resist Change
I can already hear the yells of resistance from readers. "Our business is different". "Our customers won't buy without personal contact". "These ideas would be OK in America, but Ireland is different".
Ok, you have a point there. Some American sites are very noisy hard-sell efforts and we delicate and convent reared Irish wouldn't buy that kind of nonsense here. Americans expect to be sold to, hard! But there are just as many - if not more - fine American selling sites also, who understand their customer's mindset when they are surfing and PRE-SELL to that interest, creating qualified, warm, willing customers in a buying frame of mind when they click through to the sales page.

And I can point to many conservative UK company sites that also do an understated but excellent job of achieving the selling results they ask for. However, I cannot find a decent Irish "selling" web site. Let me know if you find any. I'd love to be able to highlight them.

Incidentally, my own site:generates a reasonable number of sales for a relatively high priced product promoted through the web site. It can be done.

For an eye-opening volume on the concept of PRE-SELLING through your website, download Make Your Content Pre-sell. (The remainder of the site is well worth browsing, with many high value complimentary offerings to improve your selling skills.).

Understand your Customer's "Web Mindset"
Getting the "click-through", the enquiry, the order, the RFP, has nothing to do with whistles and bells, and everything to do with understanding your customer's mindset when accessing and using the web.
When I started to research this, my trawling led me in many directions -search engines, forums, discussion groups, ebooks - all offering to show me the secrets of selling and earning money on-line.
As my research developed, one name started coming through more consistently than others. Ken McEvoy is a medical doctor from Canada who has developed some extraordinary materials for anyone wishing to sell on the web - or for companies who wish their sites to be real SELLING sites.

If you already own a website which is not doing the business you expected of it, you will find out why, and exactly what to do about it, in Mc Evoy’s brilliant book "Make Your Site Sell" It could be the most important download you make this month, but be prepared to lose some sleep for the next while! Two good sample chapters can be downloaded at no charge on the site.

Finally, I have put up a page on our Great Expectations Coaching web site with the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly sites shown....worth a visit. Check out the Good and observe, learn, imitate, and construct a compelling web site that will have targeted visitors with a qualified interest clicking through to your site and consistently returning for more.

If you would like to really understand how selling on the web works, download :
"How to Make Your Content PRE-SELL" It will change your thinking......and be prepared to stay awake for a few nights. Service Seller's Master Course An inclusive programme for those selling personal or technical services. High Value content- complimentary.

Warm Regards,
Maitiu (MacCabe)
Maitiu is the managing director of Great Expectations Coaching. He specialises in sales coaching and sales training, and he works with many of Ireland's top companies He is a Graduate member and a Fellow of the MII.


If you would like to discuss sales coaching (for yourself or your sellers) or have assistance structuring a sales development program or sales system to suit the specific needs of your company -you can reach Maitiu at:
Tel: +353 1 2990900 (8am-11pm GMT) or Email Maitiu here

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