How Much of My $1000 Rock Climbing Gear Budget Do You Want?

Perhaps you're improving your conversion rate. That's nice to hear! And perhaps you're removing some stumbling blocks and giving your customers a little more of what they want when they want. Way to go! But the big question is: are you really digging deep and going beyond your customers' basic motivations?

We persuade most effectively when we understand the context of where our customers are coming from. Not just from tangible directions like TV ads or banners or emails, but also the intangible directions that depend on the nature of their experience with your product or service or area of specialty. How might they want to use what you sell or do? Are they ready for the whole nine yards, or the best of the best? Or are they dipping their toes?

Want to see what I mean? Let's start with the premise that you can't sell me rock climbing gear the way you sell me ski equipment.

Me, the Advanced Skier

I am an advanced skier and am always looking to buy the latest gear. I have my carving skis, and I have my powder skis, and I have my back country gear and a variety of clothing options for different climates. When I purchase my ski gear online, I generally know exactly what I need, and I look for answers to specific questions. The retailer (online or offline) who makes the final sale is the one that can speak to my motivations at each step on my way to the final conversion.

Converting me into a buyer just means giving me what I want when I want -the key here is that I know what I want!

Me, the Novice Rock Climber

In contrast, I am an inexperienced outdoor rock climber. I've been climbing indoors for a couple of years now and have recently started climbing outdoors. I didn't know how to make the transition from indoor climbing to outdoor climbing. I needed guidance not only how to learn what to do and where to go, but I also needed someone to help me buy the required gear (much of which I didn't even know I needed yet!).

I'd have been happy to purchase onlne, but I couldn't find much useful information. Lots of businesses simply weren't prepared to answer these questions for me. How was I going to figure this out?

I turned to the folks who hang around the climbing gym. They talked to me at my level, from their experience. They were helpful. I learned I would probably have to buy my own rope, and I should invest in some lessons. I also found out I needed a bunch of other hardware and a rope bag.

They explained I could use my indoor climbing shoes although they'd get torn up more quickly climbing outdoors. I even discovered there is this community of people who know exactly where to go climbing in my area; through this forum, I could hook up with climbing partners who could help belay me.

I couldn't find one online business to tell me all of this information!

My first purchase for my new exciting sport was a rope. This is how it played out.

First I looked online. While I found many ropes, the copy was not going to help me decide which rope was right for my needs. I found a bunch of retailers who were quick to tell me about the technical information such as diameter of rope and length of the rope and whether it was standard, dry, double, static and whatnot. None of this meant anything to me at this point!

I went to a brick-and-mortar retailer to get answers from the climbing expert employees, and within minutes, I'd bought my first rope.

I've got $1000 to spend on climbing gear

How much of it do you want? You most certainly don't have to be a brick-and-mortar operation to get it. All you have to do is deal effectively with the fact I'm a novice climber. Help me understand my equipment needs as I make the transition from indoor to outdoor climbing. Do that, and $150 for the rope is yours.

It doesn't stop there. You can probably turn that $150 into a $1000 sale by helping me select other appropriate gear I might not yet know I need, by encouraging me to sign up for your lessons, by hooking me up with some experienced climbers in the community to find out where to go. You can up-sell and cross-sell me. In fact, I want to be up- and cross-sold!

Uncovery helps!

How do you start understanding what your customers need to hear from you? Spend the time to do a full uncovery: identify who your customers are at a much deeper level. Know why they are coming to you and how to most effectively serve them in ways that exceed their expectations and maximize your performance.

I have now spent my $1000 on climbing gear. It seems absurd that a company claiming expertise in a specific sport wouldn't give me a simple text link that said "Just getting started in outdoor rock climbing?" Why, from folks with major insider knowledge, wasn't there a link that said "Find a rope that is right for you"" Why did I fail to find a rope online - where there are hundreds upon hundreds of ropes available - yet purchased an appropriate rope offline within minutes of talking to a real human being?

Want to be effective online? All it takes is aligning your sales process with your customer's buying process - that's the essence of Persuasion Architecture. It's a fatal mistake in today's online world to sell yourself short by failing to meet your customers' needs. And so unnecessary!

Volume 137: 8/15/06


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