By Dave Collins
Founder, Shareware Promotions

Stop what you’re doing and concentrate. You shouldn’t read this article with your feet up on your desk, cradling your morning coffee. Nor should you read it before 8 am or after 4 pm. And don’t even think of skimming it.

You need to concentrate.

Why?

Because the ideas I am going to present in this article are guaranteed to increase your sales. That’s right. I absolutely guarantee it. Terms and conditions may apply.

The ideas that I’m about to go into aren’t revolutionary. No-one will write books about the Dave Collins theory of Customers’ Eyes. Nevertheless, these ideas are not only critically important, but overlooked by companies on a regular basis.

Have a quick look at the first few paragraphs of this article. I guarantee that my words had the desired effect and caught your attention. I know, there I go with my guarantees again.

But my point is that I am 100% confident that they worked.

(1) You’re probably a software developer, and you’re most probably interested in making more money by increasing your sales.

(2) You wouldn’t be reading this far along unless my tantalising words served their purpose.

Being able to see the world through the eyes of your customers is one of the most fundamental skills of sales and marketing.

If you can get into their minds, see and understand their needs and speak their language, you’ll have them reaching for their credit cards before you can shout the word gotcha.

I assume I’m not telling you something you don’t already know. But never overlook an important fact. The web not only makes reaching the world and selling your software a lot easier, but also changes the balance of your marketplace.

The customer has truly become king. The fact that they found your website means that they have probably found your competitors too, meaning that they call the shots.

Competition is great for the market, but doesn’t half put the squeeze on the companies selling their products and services.

Unless you’re lucky enough to be in a very cosy niche market segment, complete with high demand and low/no competition, then chances are that there is more supply than demand. You have to work to sell your wares.

So understanding who your customers are, where they come from, what they are looking for and why is of vital importance.

Nowadays, so the theory goes, the typical consumer takes less than three seconds to decide whether or not to purchase. Personally I’m in awe of these typical people. It can sometimes take me weeks or even months.

But I’d also hazard a guess that online, that tiny sliver of time gets cut down even further. Clicking back on your browser takes a lot less effort than walking out of a store, and in some ways there are far more compelling reasons to walk away. Think fraud, payment risks, the many unknowns, delivery delays and so on. Selling online is a tough business.

So if we push aside the theories, what does this mean to you?

Well, unless you’re phenomenally wealthy, incredibly bored or both, then chances are that you yourself don’t purchase the moment something catches your eye. If you do, please click the following URL and enjoy yourself: http://www.sharewarepromotions.com/overview.html

But the rest of us very quickly weigh up a number of different factors before deciding whether or not to purchase, and this unfortunately includes your customers.

So how do you turn the sceptic into a customer in those precious three seconds? With five variables:

Benefits. Value. Pricing. Empathy. Clarity.

I know, BVPEC doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But I’m not going for clever and cute here. I’m trying to help increase your sales.

Benefits.

I’ve stated this so often that I can actually lower my heart rate just by repeating the word too many times.

But the fact remains that benefits sell over features. Always. You know it. I know it. But to some extent we are all guilty of making the mistake.

Developers love features. They tend to get very excited, and while they’re telling you about them they occasionally get quite red faced and shiny eyed. Scary.

Customers get freaked out by features. We don’t like them, they sound intimidating, and they do nothing to make us smile. But we love benefits. Save time, save money, use more for less. Lovely. Music to our ears.

Value.

Tangible benefits communicate value to your customers. We crave them, and as software developers, you need to understand this.

I have an Outlook add-in that looks out for the words attach, attachment or attachments in my outgoing emails. If there isn’t an attached file, a little window appears and asks me if I meant to attach one.

It’s absolutely inspired. And it’s dirt cheap. But most importantly of all it stops me looking stupid, and saves me and my clients time by avoiding the “I think you forgot to attach the file” exchange.

If you have any other plugins that stop me looking stupid let me know. I need all the help I can get.

On the subject of help, do you think that this article is worth $50?

If so, please go to the following URL to make the payment:

https://usd.swreg.org/cgi-bin/b.cgi?s=783&p=783SIXstd&v=10&d=00&q=1

If you do, be sure to state your name, company and URL so that I can thank you in another article.

I suspect there’ll be no takers. Why?

(a)Â Â Â Â You don’t have to pay. And you know it.

(b)Â Â Â Â There isn’t enough value to make doing so worthwhile.

(c)Â Â Â Â Where are the benefits to you?

By all means prove me wrong. I’m usually right, so it would be nice to be proved wrong every now and then. And at least you’ll get a kick out of it, and thereby knock theory (c) on the head. How am I doing?

Pricing.

The product’s price is of course linked to its value. But as long as I (a) see the value and (b) think the price is reasonable, then I’m probably hooked.

This further reinforces the importance of communicating benefits. If I don’t realise the benefits, then even $0.10 is too high.

Empathy.

Understand me. Understand my needs. Understand what itch is causing me to seek the solution that you offer. And speak the language that I speak in. Your customers are hungry. Find out what they want to eat.

Clarity.

If your website and sales pitch aren’t crystal clear then you’ll lose sales.

A convoluted diatribe may massage your ego, but clarity always prevails. If your sales pitch is only set to tickle the needs of the average genius, then you’ll probably exclude most of your visitors. If, however, they’re aimed at the average person in the street, then everyone will understand what you sell. Even the geniuses.

Push the benefits. Demonstrate value. Price reasonably. Empathise and understand. And keep it clear.

More sales? Be seen, be sold.

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Dave Collins is the CEO of SharewarePromotions http://www.sharewarepromotions.com, a well established UK-based software marketing company. Dave specialises in Google AdWords, Log Analysis, Online Marketing and Delegation.

[Editor Note: Dave Collins, noted UK micro-ISV marketing expert, is sharing his considerable expertise on marketing, SEO, Google AdWords and more on Fridays at MyMicroISV. Thanks Dave!]

[tags] Dave Collins, micro-ISVs, marketing[/tags]

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