This post is purely self indulgent whining. But, unwittingly (I hope), too often we make it very difficult for our customers to buy. We seem to put every hurdle possible in front of them. Often, from the buyer’s point of view, it seems like we have to “earn the right” to give them our money.
Here’s the story, analysis follows:
- I’m trying to buy a piece of property. It’s not an insignificant investment, but I’ve found a property that I’m interested in buying.
- I found the property on one of these generalized real estate sites. The realtor had listed it on that site, hoping to draw potential buyers.
- I “applied” to discuss and view the property through that consolidator site. First time, no response. Second time, no response, third time….. In the mean time, that site kept sending me emails to see if I had gotten a response, I kept replying “No.” I don’t know what that site did with that feedback.
- I eventually found the actual listing real estate agent. I left half a dozen calls, toward the end I was virtually saying, “Can you pleeeaaaase find a way to let me give you a lot of money????”
- Still no response.
- I found the realtors website and sent inquiries into them. Still no response…
- I found the owner of the real estate agency and sent him a query, “Please, I’d love to give you over $1M, can you help me?”
- I get an email saying I have to apply. OK, it’s annoying, but I get it. They are trying to sort serious buyers from people taking their time. I had thought they wanted to do a basic check to make sure I wasn’t a troll, maybe a credit check to make sure I might be able to afford the property. Other times when I have bought property, this was pretty common part of the process.
- I get an application. It’s 42 pages of legalese. It requires me to enter data in over 100 spots. But all I want to do is talk to them about the property and possibly see it. Why do they need so much information? Why do I have to sign an agreement–not to buy the property, but just to talk to them about it?
- I noticed a help button. I submit a help request, using the link provided. It bounces back as undeliverable.
- I send a note to the owner of the real estate company. He says I have to complete the application and he sends me an email link for help on completing it. It’s the same link as before, I try it again, it bounces again……
- I never have realized how very difficult it is to give supplier my money! I know buying is hard, but these people are making it impossible for me to buy and give them my money. And it’s not an insignificant amount–at least when I look at the listings they have.
- How can I spend my money, how can I buy—–Yeah, I know you will inundate me with offers to take that money off my hands.
- I found another piece of property, not far from the first. It actually looks better. It’s a little more expensive. But they returned my inquiry email within 15 minutes, I have a follow up call and potentially a site visit arranged. I’m so happy they are creating this great experience. I’m trying as hard as possible to give someone my money, this second organization appears to be willing to take it.
I know this is extreme. It’s funny, if it weren’t so sad.
What I’ve described is pure incompetence. They’ve built their processes to serve them, not to help the customer. That’s bad enough, but they’ve never tried their processes to see if they actually work. I wonder how many other potential customers have gone somewhere else?
How often do you check your own organization? How often do you look at the buying experience you create for your buyers? Is it something that would provoke you to buy? Is it something that is helpful to the buyers? Is it something that presents your company and what you sell in the way you want to be perceived?
Yes, we do have to qualify our customers. We have to find out if they are the right customers, if we have the right solution, and if, when justified, they are prepared to invest at the level needed. But, given those conditions, shouldn’t we focus on create a strongly positive buying experience?