There’s a common misconception among people in business: “Get ’em in, get ’em to buy, and get ’em out again as quickly as possible.”

Wanting to spend as little time with your customers as possible while making a sale is a mistake, and here’s why:

There’s a reason long, text-heavy ads outsell brief copy, why the best websites keep prospects engaged for longer, why a long engaging video presentation is better than a short one. That reason is time.

The more time my prospect spends looking at, listening to or watching my proposition, the more likely he is to buy.

It amuses me when I see people falling into the trap of competent technicians who know nothing about marketing and sales thinking. They get hoodwinked into believing that ads should be short and to the point, that websites should just have lots of pretty pictures and not much text, that a sales brochure should be as brief as possible.

All completely disproven for decades by actual marketing tests, the world over.

The ideal:

Find ways to create more interest.

The prospect will stay with you, keep watching, reading, or listening.

The more time they invest, the more likely they will buy.

You can overdo it of course. When I was doing sales presentations at big seminars, I quickly worked out that a 90 minute presentation was the sweet spot. If I kept it to 60 minutes, or ran longer than 100 minutes, sales would be substantially lower.

There’s a direct link between time invested and the size and number of sales.

I live in one of Australia’s top wine producing areas, Margaret River. Every one of the 200 or so wineries here know and rely on the fact that the longer they keep people tasting wine at the cellar door, the more wine they’re going to sell.

Ikea did not design their stores for quick entry and exit. They deliberately force customers to wind their way through the entire store, passing every display. Why? Because they’ve proved it increases sales.

The same applies to websites. If your website is nothing more than an online brochure with a few pretty pictures, and nothing much for the visitor to do other than click on a few images, then your ‘bounce’ rate is going to be high. Visitors will quickly click away.

But if your site is involving, engaging, carries interesting and varied content, encourages the visitor to participate in a competition or download a free book or video, offers an incentive for following your social media pages, then you’re going to get

  • More sales
  • More inquiries
  • An increase in email opt-ins
  • A bigger social media audience

Yes, younger buyers have shorter attention spans. Everybody’s busier, fewer people are reading as a matter of course. But don’t sacrifice what’s effective. The answer is to be more interesting and compelling.

You think there’s nothing particularly interesting or compelling or different about what YOU sell?

Well, there’s nothing all that rivetting or amazing about mattresses, I suggest. Yet online mattress start-up Koala has been a roaring success, so much so that Australian cricket star Steve Smith’s initial $100,000 investment in the company 4 years ago is now worth $12 million!

So, to think about:

  • How can you involve your customers and prospects? By being more interesting, by revealing more of yourself, your personal story.
  • How can you actively involve your prospect? By figuring out ways to engage with you, through competitions, freebies, opt-ins.
  • How can you create a ‘buying experience’? By making the process of buying a memorable one, not just a transaction.

Recently my wife and I had the tearful experience of ending the 17 year life of our beloved dog Milly.

We had her cremated at the Rainbow Bay Pet Crematorium, owned by animal lovers Tim and Sharyn Vanderbeek. We didn’t just receive a wooden box with her ashes, Tim and Sharyn made sure we received a beautifully designed urn complete with Milly’s name etched into the ceramic, along with a heartfelt poem and Milly’s pawprints inked on a card.

That’s what I call a buying experience.