Let’s meet Stanley

saleSelling a website to a person that is not even sure whether he needs one is a challenge only a few may conquer. How to become one of the few? For starters let’s meet Stanley. Stanley is an average guy who loves his family, friends and enjoys a nice cold Friday beer. He has a nice small profitable enough business in town, let’s say he’s selling car parts. Every town needs car parts, right?

So let’s say you have a meeting with Stanley this Friday. He has heard about you from some friend that knows a mate that has a brother who had a website that you’ve designed and is pleased with it. So you are meeting Stanley after you’ve gathered some info about him, his business, etc. You don’t want to come unprepared. You have a nice chat, then the subject changes to the price of a well-built website (which is expensive to some extent, as we all know). Our Stanley fellow is shocked with the numbers you’ve told him. “I have a young nephew (they always have a nephew) that can give it a good shot. He’s been doing some W.O.W on his computer, which sounds nice. And he’ll do it for free” Stan says. Why should he be paying you money? That is the part you’ll need to explain to him.

A splendid investment  

You are not talking with a corporation representative that is in charge of the marketing budget and is not at all attached to cash his company is spending. Stan here has been working hard all the time in order to earn his Dollar. Thus every penny is dear to him. And, of course, he won’t be willing to pay the requested amount. At the beginning.

The key factor here is understanding that the only thing that is currently of larger value to him than his precious bank-account (if family or friends are not mentioned) is his and his businesses potential. Stanley desires to earn more, we all do. That is the part when he needs to be persuaded in the fact that he is making a returnable investment. And that he will gain profit from this decision.

Let’s leave the cliché phrase ‘your business will certainly be running 24/7’ part out of it. It is extremely banal and lame, actually. Who needs car parts at 3.47AM on Sunday?

Thus you really have to be packed with some other proof and arguments in order to succeed. Let’s look through some examples of them, shall we?

  • Stan will be able to track everything. A charge-free Google Analytics account can do miracles. More metrics are now open for Stanley. That way he will always be positive that his investments in the site are paying off with solid cash. And if he won’t be pleased with the results you will know what to adjust here and tweak there. Voila, everybody’s happy.
  • A site can start a brand. If everything is done properly Stanley will have a page that is representing his brand. And it is doing so in a way he wants to see and show it to customers.
  • Advertising is extremely more sufficient and tractable. How many people have read Staley’s newspaper advertisement? Who knows. And here, with the web at Stan’s feet an entire sea of possibilities has emerged. SEO, online listings and ads and so much more. And all of that is measurable. And, as a bonus, it can be changed and adjusted to satisfy all his needs.
  • Productivity is getting more efficient. That part is something Stan won’t be expecting at all. Thus try hard in delivering this to him in a proper way. A simple question form is all it takes to automate all the marketing processes he was managing earlier. First of all more people will be filling the form rather than answering his phone call questions or whatever marketing he was doing. Thus Stan will have time to analyze the answers and improve the workflow rather than just calling people like he was yesterday. And, secondly, he will have more leads. That is also a great thing.

An investment that pays off

Now, when Stanley is convinced in the fact that he actually needs a website he will still be worrying about the money he’ll need to pay you. And he will do all to make things cheaper (perhaps he will even be memorizing his nephews phone number).

The tricky part here is convincing Stan that he will get 100% of the goods he is paying for, and that a professional is required to do such an important job. Sure he can call his nephew, try using lots of free tools that are available yet his effort will be the same as if he was using duct tape to fix a cars engine. It can work, as a case of exception, yet will it be the solution?

So what are your key arguments here?

  • Explain Stan the new possibilities that will emerge. Many people like him have no idea what modern tech is capable of, like making payments, managing content, creating customer portals, email drip campaigns and so on and so on. If Stan sees the whole picture of what may be done he will be sure he needs an expert for all that, so bye-bye unnamed nephew of his. Yet you always need to keep in mind the fact that you are not just selling Stan a list of smooth features. He needs to see you as his personal, trustworthy business partner. And you have to be just the man for Stan.
  • Show him the actual importance of design. Yes it may be a small town or his target customers may be surrounded around a 15 miles radius, where spoken word is what matters. You, as a designer, still understand the value of a professional logo or whatever personalized design. Stan does not, so try and explain this value to him. Use statistics. People love statistics. Here is a good one for this case. Researches are actually showing that 65% of Americans have actually changed their opinion about a company (in a good or a bad way) after a personal experience of its digital barnd.
  • Analyze his competitors. Open your laptop, google the ‘car parts store, Stan’s town and location’ in front of his eyes and show him the results. He will see his competitors in the field where there still is no ‘Stan’s Best Car Parts shop’. That is unpleasant. Look through the competitor’s sites, point out what you like and what you would change. And now you are having a professional conversation in a field that is close to Stan. A fairly productive step indeed.

There are lots of other options, of course. Lots of social media as well as marketing offers I am sure you are aware of and Stan is not. From the moment of trust and contact established with Stan the flow of the bargain will be in your hands. Offer more. But remember: be good at what you are offering, the client always needs to remain satisfied. You do have a business reputation of your own, right? And in this field spoken word is a weapon, so watch out and don’t run out of customers. Good luck!