A few years ago, I wanted to have my house painted. I called three diffferent companies for estimates, and had the opportunity to observe how three different companies sold essentially the same product: a professionally-painted home.
Each company came well-recommended, and I was confident that I would be happy with the work of any one of the three. But the one that I ended up hiring was the one that required the least amount of effort for me to hire.
The more effort that a prospect must invest to become a customer, the less likely that prospect is to become a customer. Let's look at one company that has experienced exponential growth, in part by making it easy for their prospects to become customers:
For years, SAP and Oracle were the market leaders in CRM software. Until Salesforce came along and made it much easier to become a customer by eliminating many of the traditional barriers to buying and using software:
- Enduring lengthy sales cycles aggressive software sales reps.
- Handing over large amounts of cash to buy software licenses.
- Buying and configuring computer hardware.
- Installing the software on the hardware.
- Configuring and customizing the software.
- Using the software.
Traditional software vendors required the customer to leap five hurdles before arriving at their desired destination.
Remove the hurdles to buying, and you're making it easier for the customer to get to the point of being a customer, and using your product. That's exactly what Saleforce did - they removed those first five steps, and in so doing, became the fastest company in history to reach 1 billion dollars in revenue.
So, ask yourself the following four questions:
- How many steps does your company require a prospect to go through in order to become a customer?
- Which steps can you eliminate, by making some creative changes?
- Which ones can you "hide" so that the prospect doesn't have to endure them?
- Which steps can be combined, to reduce the prospects' perceived pain?
What companies have you bought from, because they made it easy?