EDITOR'S BLOG: Six simple steps to securing sales from fussy customers like me

  1. Reviews not testimonials. Anyone can cherrypick (or invent) superlatives from a handful of happy customers. I want to see what customers have said about you off their own backs and preferably on an independent third-party site. I want to see you're comfortable and confident enough to link to those reviews from your website.
  2. Information about YOU. I buy from people not logos. I love nothing more than knowing about the people behind the business. Who are you, how long have you been doing this, how can I get hold of you if something goes wrong? How easy to do you make it for me to find this out? Chances are I won't need to contact you, but I'm reassured by the fact you don't mind if I do.
  3. Social media presence. Google's not my world, even if it shows me your website that's all it does. I want to see the real live you interacting with your customers on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc - that's where I'll form opinions and see the value you can add.
  4. Photos and videos. I want to see what I'm buying. Show me nice clear images of your product and your team - I like to know who I'm dealing with. Even better show me videos. Show me the product being used or the service in action. If you sell tents, show me how easy they are to put up like these clever folks do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt3lMexMVgM Make the effort. Less isn't more.
  5. Professional approach. Put two quotes in front of me, one scribbled on a notepad, one printed out on a letterhead, I'll go with the latter. Same rule for email addresses. Sorry Mr and Mrs @gmail.com, I don't care if you're the superior provider, your lack of effort to register a domain counts against you.
  6. Transparency. Don't hide anything from me. I don't mind paying a fair price - lead me into thinking something is cheaper than it actually is or caveat offers with a host of T&Cs and it'll only underwhelm me. Give it to me straight.

If you're reading the above and don't already do all of this, let me anticipate your reasoning: you've only just started out; you don't have enough time or money; you're looking for some help with social media; you're worried about negative reviews.

That just about got it covered? Good. Now for the tough love: these aren't reasons, they're excuses.

If you're broke and/or just starting out, the above is your competitive advantage. It costs next to nothing to achieve any of the above and you don't need additional help.

You might also think I'm just fussy - and you'd be right. But so are you customers..

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