How to tell someone his website sucks?

How do you tell somebody that his website sucks? One of my partners asked me this question this week.

It is a question salespeople face each time they talk to a prospect about buying a new service or product. There is the belief that they must deep-six the status quo to get action.

The simple answer is that you don’t.  The key is to get some context: Find out what the reasoning was behind that first effort.

Nobody offers their worst efforts on purpose. But often the results don’t turn out quite the way we expected.

Which reminds me. My email last week prompted a stream of emails asking if my wife really had left me. I think it was making mention of my office being left on the porch. Mrs Carruthers has asked me to assure you that I am still welcome in her bed, but that Steve, Linus, and Bill cannot join us any longer.

As for that website we were talking about earlier? Every website has parents. These are the designers who built it and the owners who commissioned it. And they did the best they could with the resources they had. At worst we can suggest that it might have been built as a corporate brochure rather than a tuned sales instrument.

At Sales Motor we put your products and services on the front pages of search engines so that you get streams of great prospects. I think we are the only agency in SA that guarantees enquiries, and we even train clients to convert those enquiries into sales. Most firms don’t think beyond the clicks.

That means my partner does not have to say anything about the present site. We won’t be using it anyway. All he has to do is ask how many enquiries came from that site last week, and how many of those prospects turned into clients. And then, of course, tell a few true stories.

Like how one of our clients asked us to do a campaign three weeks ago selling meat based food products. And how they sold 25 tons of it to Angola from just one of the first responses. And how they cleared the shelves of the factory outlet by the second weekend. For less than the cost of a single small ad in Farmers Weekly.

Or how a client selling office space made R100,000 in countrywide commissions in the first ten days of starting with us. For less than the price of a single ad in a single newspaper for a single day.

Or how a plastics factory has taken 123 enquiries worth more than R60 million in the past three weeks. (Over 150,000 units x R400 each). For somewhat less than they pay the top half of one of their drivers.

As a salesperson, telling somebody that what they did in the past sucks is a really bad way to inspire them. We have each done a bunch of things in our past that we would rather forget. Mapping out a future with great prospects is a much better way to share ideas.

Finally, if you are advertising already, the 40 partners at Sales Motor would love to talk to you about getting a hell of a lot more bang for your buck. Please go to Sales Motor and tell us what you sell, where you’re advertising right now, and where you are based. One of us in your area will get back to you fast. (Having partners countrywide also means that we can accept payment in almost any form.)

Or check out the activity at some of our clients sites here. (The lines highlighted in green identify enquirors, rather than just searchers (clicks)).

Inferiority Complexes.

One of the biggest challenges for us micro-business owners (self-employed) is that we tend to work from home. 

On the one hand it is cheap, comfortable, and a cold beer is never too far away. On the other hand we turn into hobbits.

It is easier to explain if I look at it from an expat perspective. Arrive in Britain or Norway, for instance, and you see all these folk dashing about looking busy, effective, and professional. It is, to be honest, a little disheartening, and we are tempted to feel rather inferior.

At least until we get to while away some time working amongst these titans of commerce. And then we find out that it is all smoke and mirrors. They’re as confused as we are, if not more so. (We Saffers tend to be quicker problem solvers because we know that otherwise we won’t be eating tonight. The socialist locals know that no matter how little they do Dave or Jens will bail them out at month end.)

I found all of this out when my wife kicked me out of the house a few months ago. I cannot repeat her exact words because they were loud and in Norwegian which I still struggle with. But her intent became clearer when I came out of the bathroom one morning to find my office neatly outside on the porch.

A few days later I moved into a small glass-walled office down the cliff at the local boat harbour. I have one of 9 offices surrounding a central area with a Nespresso machine. (Guess what clinched the deal.) 

I feel like a voyeur because I can watch all of the activity around me. Norwegians at the office, I must gently say, are a lot less impressive than them cross country skiers using the freeway to practice when the snow has not yet arrived. (We expect it today. This is not because today is special, it is just that we always expect it today, no matter what the date is. Norwegians love snow.)

Now, about that activity. Well, there isn’t much. Norwegians, like Brits and my fellow countrymen, glare at their screens, pick their noses, scratch their ears, vanish for long lunches, and leave early on Fridays. In between they look glum because no sales are coming in, and when a real live prospect approaches, well, they mess it up just like the rest of us. 

So, a hint if ever you find yourself in a new place. (That could be a new country, or in SA, a new province – which is just like a new country.) Go find an office to work out of for a few months. get to see how impressive the locals really are at close quarters.

And then start working from home before the snow arrives, even if that means losing the wife. Even she cannot be colder than the local weather between November and April.