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Swiftness of Execution

Swiftness of Execution

December 1, 2007
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Today I want to talk about speed: no, not the kind that makes you get chased by the highway patrol, or the kind that makes you run around the room in circles; but the kind that leads to sales – or their abandonment.

You see, while we all like to think that sales to our sites are the result of savvy marketing and a clever approach, the simple truth is that porn is often an impulse purchase: while this doesn’t reduce our need to “get it right” when it comes to presenting our offers, the fact remains that the consumer’s positive purchase decision is typically made on the spur of the moment.

“Sales are sales” you say; but indeed, that over-simplification may hide the lost sales you’ll never even know about.

The reason for this is that impulse purchases (like a membership to an adult website), have an insidious enemy out to derail them: time.

A case in point was last night’s dinner doldrums, where my lovely wife and my faithful dog both watched me pace around the kitchen; opening cupboard after cupboard; freezer and refrigerator; smacking my lips and being unsatisfied with my options.

“Why don’t you order a pizza?” Dawn asked… Jack perked up his ears and wagged his tail furiously, signifying that he too thought this to be a capital suggestion. While I wasn’t really in the mood for pizza, this was an easy solution that only required a quick phone call for me to complete my purchase and solve my dinner dilemma.

But there was a problem: they kept me waiting.

As I sat there, phone in one hand, a credit card in the other, waiting to give someone my money, I listened to the pre-recorded spiel of specials – and it gave me time to think – to think about the different types of pizza on sale (which made me doubt my original choice) – and to consider the fact that pizza is something I really can do without.

About two minutes into my wait, I said “screw this,” then hung up the phone and put my credit card away. Dominos lost yet another sale they’d never know anything about…

And at this point, instead of thinking about pizza, I thought about how many sales I might have lost in this way – as a prospect, credit card in hand, waited for a join form to display or for my IPSP to process and confirm the transaction.

How many sales have you lost this way?

It doesn’t matter if the reason is because the prospect had a slow Internet connection; a troublesome firewall; or the billing company was having a problem: all that mattered is that he had time to think – but instead of thinking of how happy the porn would make him, he thought of all the reasons he really didn’t need it, and how the slowness of the process could impact his satisfaction.

In the same way that I considered the heavy call-in volume that was keeping me on hold meant long delivery-time waits; your prospect might think that the delay in his purchase cycle might lead to a problematic transaction; or equally as bad, leave him with a subscription to a slow and un-responsive website.

A pizza company can’t evaluate its overall sales process simply on the time the pizza spends in the oven: it must also consider the time the customer spends on hold; the time it takes for him to place the order; and to receive confirmation of a successful credit card transaction; plus the time it takes for the pizza to be prepared; cooked; sliced; boxed and delivered; all are factors in the equation.

The upshot to this is that while many webmasters look at the download speed of their site as the sole basis of its overall speed, there are more factors to consider – including some that may be beyond your control.

Don’t loose sales because you gave the prospect time to think.


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