Your website sells 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. It is accessible to over 2.4 billion potential customers. It never gets sick, has a holiday or asks for a pay rise. It always presents itself consistently and is at its best 100% of the time. It can even take money from customers you never meet while you sleep.
If it were an actual person they would be your dream employee!
You would also want them to operate at peak performance to maximise their potential and to make that happen you would invest your company’s time, money and resources.
The reality is your website could be your best salesperson.
However, for many businesses the reality is far from the potential, but just why is that? I think it’s partly because businesses often view their website as a ‘thing’ – a machine that is on a par with the photocopier (but visited less by the staff). Even worse it’s an invisible machine because it’s not actually in the office but instead floats around in cyberspace.
And the blame for any website’s underperformance is frequently levelled at the design or the web developers or a lack of traffic or some other external factor. Rarely does a business admit that the failure is down to how they thought about (or behaved towards) the website. Such businesses look to improving their online presence by firing the current website and building another – only to suffer the same problem a couple of years later which they try to solve by firing the website again. Obviously, you can’t solve a problem by repeating the mistake which caused it in the first place.
As you can tell viewing a website as a ‘thing’ which exists outside the business and fails because of external reasons beyond perceived control is pretty negative and usually results in underperformance. But read that first paragraph again. Doesn’t it fill you with hope and excitement that your business could have at its disposal such a powerful selling tool? One which could change a business’s fortunes, help it grow through a recession or add a fabulous new profit stream.
To make that happen it requires the business to change its view of the website from a ‘thing’ to being a ‘person’. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- A) How much time do you spend working on your website? B) Is it less than the amount you would spend with one of your staff?
- A) How much money have you invested in your website? B) Is it less than you would expect to pay for a salesperson?
- A) What resources have you given to your website? – for example, hosting, training of staff, investing in web specific content (videos, PR, etc.), payment systems and so on. B) Is it less than the resources you might give to a salesperson?
If you answered “Yes” to any B questions then you may want to rebalance your efforts.
How much you give to each is up to you but be flexible and be guided by your circumstances. For example, if you’ve not got much money then increase time and resources. If you’ve lot pots of cash but little time, buy in people to spend time and develop resources for you.
Viewing your website as a person requires a fundamental shift in thinking but it also means you will become the website’s advocate, mentor and assistant. The consequence of this is your business will value its website and a valued website will become a valuable website securing its ability to sell for you now and in the years ahead.