One major problem you must overcome when selling virtually
anything on the internet is that many people still don’t quite
trust it. You need to help them overcome their fears by creating
a professional image. You need to convey trust and make your
potential customers feel as though they can safely buy from you.
Everyone knows about scams. No one wants to be taken advantage
of by one.
Depending on what you’re selling, joining the Better Business
Bureau is a great idea. If your competitors are members of the
BBB, you might really consider it. Even if they aren’t, joining
the BBB certainly won’t hurt.
The Bureau will now recognize internet businesses and provide
your website with an Online Better Business icon. Call your
local agency to determine if you meet the qualifications. If
you’ve been in business long enough, you probably qualify.
Contact Info Be sure you provide adequate contact information on
your site. Consumers want to know that there is an actual person
behind the site and they may want to contact you. Otherwise,
they really don’t know if the site is current. Therefore, you
should provide several different contact methods.
For one, provide an address. A street address generally works
better than a P.O. Box.
Secondly, you definitely need to provide an email address for
customers to send their questions to. This email address should
end in your domain name. For example;
Never, ever use an AOL.com or yahoo.com account for your
business email. It won’t look professional enough for people to
believe that you are a valid company.
Alternately, you may also invest in a support desk, or even just
put a contact form on a webpage on your site. These alternatives
tend to have a more professional appearance than just an email
address and they can keep your clients’ emails from winding up
in your bulk mail folder.
Toll free numbers When it comes to entering credit card
information over the internet, be prepared to cater to skeptics.
Many consumers still do not feel the internet is a safe place to
type in their credit card number – no matter what you do.
Providing a toll free number is the best way around this. You
can get one for a relatively inexpensive cost from TTI National.
A toll free number can be conveniently routed to any phone
number you provide. So, you can have your customers ring right
to your home phone or your cell phone. Even better yet, you can
hire a phone answering company to take your calls for you. There
are many companies willing to answer phones 24 hours a day, 7
days a week. That way, customers have no excuse not to order
your product, even if they are afraid to type their credit card
number into a web form!
In addition to the added convenience of phone ordering, having a
toll free number conveys a sense of professionalism. Many
consumers will look for a toll free number before deciding
whether or not they want to buy from you. Others will want to
contact you before they purchase. No matter how complete your
sales description is, there are some people out there who just
won’t be satisfied until they hear a human voice. This is
especially true with higher priced products.
Turn-around time When people contact you by email, your contact
form, support desk or call your toll free number, make sure you
respond within 24-48 hours. This is of utmost importance. Any
longer than two days turn around time is considered unacceptable
to most people and will be considered unprofessional.
When answering questions, especially by email, be complete and
thorough in your response. Add-in whatever information may be
helpful. Be polite and courteous – most of all, listen. It
sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how rare proper manners
are in business.
Remember, think about how you would like to be treated and do
By being nice and timely in your response, you will win people
over. Most of America is run by giant corporations. Think about
the type of run-around you get by calling one of America’s
giants. It’s either the automated phone system that loops around
or the pat email responses with no personalization to them
Small businesses are at an advantage in that regard. Be
different…show your customers that you actually have time for
Copyright © 2005 by L A Parmley. All rights reserved.