Is your website “a Pam?”

In last night’s episode of The Office we over hear on of the characters, Pam, talking on the phone with a potential client.  She says “I’m not going to tell you we have the lowest prices.  Is price something that’s important to you?” I know this reply was a joke and used to illustrate that Pam is a horrible sales person.    As a Website Consultant and with my sales background I immediately saw a parallel between Pam and many of the websites I review.  A website can be a great sales-tool, but only if it is positioned properly.

“Of course price is important” click.

Before I expand on that idea let’s take a  moment to talk about Pam’s answer.  Structurally, the answer was OK.  In sales you need to address a prospect’s question and it is a best-practice to follow-up with a question of your own.  Pam’s big problem was the question.  It left her nowhere to go.  A better question would be “are you concerned about other aspects of a business relationship like reliability and quality?”  Even better:  “I’m sure you have additional concerns, for instance are you concerned about reliability?  Getting paper for your business when you need it? [pause for affirmative answer] And I’m sure quality and consistency are important? [again, pause]  So what do you say about meeting so I can show you how Dunder Mifflin will exceed your expectations?”

Your website & The Office: a parallel universe

Back to the parallel I saw.  Pam states that she just doesn’t have the “sales-gene.” HUMBUG! There’s no such thing as a sales-gene.  What there is is a proper foundation, on going training and tools.  So what do you do if you’re stuck with a Pam of a website?

As a business owner, you should review your website at least once a year – just like you would a flesh-and-bones employee.  Take a look at your site and ask  yourself:

  • Does the website still look current, fresh, industry appropriate, “in business?”
  • Does the website clearly state what we do and for whom?
  • Does the website show that we are good?  Show our competitive advantage?
  • Does the website invite the next step in working with us?

As an aside, making these judgments can be difficult.  For instance, many of the sites I assess look current, fresh, industry appropriate.  Yet when I speak with the owner of the website, they are tired of the way the site looks.  Typically this is because they look at it everyday and don’t take into account that their prospects only look at it a handful of times.  Asking an objective, third-party to help you with your assessment can be helpful.  If you’d like a professional’s help, let me know (click here). I can take a  look at your site and tell you if I can be of assistance.

But now what?

Just like an employee assessment what you do with this assessment is critical to its success.  A review of Pam’s job would result in more training and better tools, her being fired, or quiting.  Websites are more simple.  They can’t quit.  A website can’t evolve on its own to fill another roll in a business like Pam.  So the only options are to give your website better training and tools or fire it and start over.

Oh, for those of you concerned about Pam’s fate, she manipulated herself into a different job. I wouldn’t count on your website being able to do so however.

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