Vendors' web sites are the sources of information buyers of business and technical products or services use the most when researching purchases. To be effective, a marketing web site must address the questions and objections sales prospects will present to sales representatives.
Any prospective customer has three basic questions:
- Why should the prospect buy any particular product or service?
- Why should the prospect buy from a particular company?
- Why should the prospect buy from (i.e., trust) a sales representative?
There are also three basic objections:
2. The prospect already buys from a trusted supplier or makes the product or performs the service in-house;
3. Will the product or service work for the prospect's use?
A web site should have the answers to the Price Objections
Although the ‘price is too high' is a common objection, price is the main reason why business buyers switch suppliers. The way to answer the price objection is to establish that the prospect will gain value as a return on investment.
To forestall the price objection, the web site should explain the benefits, financial and otherwise, of the product or service. It is important also, of course, to display specifications and features, but the benefits will make the sale.
A Web Site should have Answers to the Competition Objections
The competition objection is difficult to meet head-on. The best tactic is to sell the prospect on a product or service that will complement rather than displace an existing product or service (even though the ultimate aim might be to displace the competitor or in-house production).
The web site text should be written with this in mind, to show how a product or service can dovetail with others. It should emphasize that products or services enhance the value gained when used in concert with other products and services.
Web Site Forestalls the ‘Will It Work?' Objection
The best answer to the will-it-work objection is case histories or testimonials from satisfied customers describing how needs were met or problems solved. This helps to reassure the prospect that a product or service will, in fact, work as claimed and can fill the prospect's need.
If customers are reluctant to endorse products or services, the marketer has to fall back on anonymous (but real) case histories.
The Three Questions
By anticipating common objections, the web site can readily answer the prospect's question of why to buy the product or service.
The web site can go some way to answering the question of why the prospect should buy from the marketer's company. This is why Dr. Jakob Nielsen, of the Nielsen Norman Group, writes that the ‘About' page on a web site is of high importance.
Prospects will want to know questions such as:
- How long has the company been in business?
- Is it likely to be around in years to come when replacements or servicing will be needed?
- What is its penetration of the buyer's industry?
- Does it have recognizable brands?
The question of why the prospect should trust the people in the company cannot be fully answered by a web site but it can be addressed. The site should present biographies with photographs of key people, not just the Board of Directors and senior executives, but people who day-to-day ensure customers’ needs are met.
Web Site As Display Window
A web site showcases the company. It is there to convince prospects that they want to do business with the company. Since prospects use it before making contact with any staff, it must also present itself in such a way that prospects will want to do business with the company.