My daughter is now 3 years old and as she continues to grow and mature, it’s becoming much easier for the two of us to communicate with one other. Finally, she can put together simple sentences and convey what she wants and needs using words instead of grunting or crying.
The problem is that she’s also getting smarter and harder to negotiate with. Once she wants something, she’s tends to have a one track mind.
Daughter: Daddy, can I play with your phone?
Me: Not right now my love
Daughter: Can I see your phone? Can I see your phone? Can I see your phone?
Me: I said not right now
Daughter: I picked up my toys off the floor…
Me: Mommy made you do that so that doesn’t count
Daughter: Can I see your phone? Can I see your phone? Can I see your phone? Please Daddy?
Me: AHHH!!! Not right now ok?
Daughter: What are you doing Daddy?
Me: I’m trying to write a blog post.
Daughter: Can I see your phone pulleeeaasse? I love you (tilts her head and smiles)
Me: No, but did you know that Mommy has a phone that was designed for princesses? After all, she is the Queen of this house.
Me: Of course,
Daughter: Ok Daddy. I love you. I’ll go ask Mommy for her princess phone(Big dimply smile). MMOOOOMMMMYYYY!!! CAN I SEE YOUR PRINCESS PHONE?!?!?
Mom: Huh? I don’t have a princess phone….STEVE!?!?!
Phew! That was close. I just freed up some time to complete this blog post by diverting my daughter’s attention away without upsetting her! BTW, I don’t recommend trying this tactic at home unless you are a trained professional or unless you have an understanding wife.
As my daughter grows more and more feisty, I’ve noticed that getting her to do what I want is a lot like being in online sales. In fact, many of the same tactics and principles of designing a high converting online store website apply. Here are some tips on how to improve your salesmanship and your web design that I learned from negotiating with my toddler.
Rule #1: Your Toddler And Your Customer Have Short Attention Spans
These days, it’s really tough to keep my daughter occupied for extended periods of time. And buying more and more toys is definitely not the answer. I would say that she can focus on a single activity for about 5 minutes at most before she moves on to something else.
These days, if my wife and I need to her to do anything, we have a very small window of time to get her attention before she wanders off to do something else. For example, we’ve been trying to teach her how to pick up after herself when she makes a mess with her toys. In the beginning, she would clean up for a short period of time and then quickly get distracted.
So, we turned cleaning up into a fun game complete with a cheesy song that we sing while picking things up (Remind me to sing this for you sometime). These days, she’s more likely to pick up after herself because she has fun in the process. We managed to grab her attention by turning the act of cleaning into a game.
Likewise with your online business, you only have a short amount of time to convince your customer to stay on your website and browse your product line. In fact, it only takes a few seconds for a potential customer to decide whether to stay or go so it’s imperative to use attention grabbing images and powerful content to grab hold of their attention. Is your website ugly? Are you creating the right mood for your customers? Are you enticing customers to stick around?
If the bounce rate for your online store is especially high (greater than 70%) or if your conversions rates are abysmal (less than 1%), there’s probably something wrong with your website design and your ability to maintain your customer’s attention. If this is the case, you should solicit a friend for their honest opinion about your site.
If your friends are too polite and can’t tell you the truth, you can get an unbiased opinion by using a service like EasyUsability.com. For as low as 15 bucks, you can create a survey and obtain feedback about your website from a large group of random testers.
Rule #2: Your Toddler And Your Customers Need Guidance
My daughter is currently at an age where she wants to be independent and make her own decisions. But the reality is that most 3 year olds are not mature enough to know what they want and need. So as a parent, you have to gently guide your toddler in the right direction while giving them the satisfaction that they acted all on their own.
Daughter: I don’t want to eat any vegetables. I hate vegetables! No vegetables! I don’t want it!
Me: Oh ok. You don’t have to eat anything that you don’t want to eat.
Daughter: Really Daddy?
Me: Of course, you’re old enough now to decide what you want to eat. Tell you what….Do you want to eat carrots or broccoli for dinner toinght?
Daughter: Hmmm….I’ll have broccoli please.
Me: Excellent choice!
Likewise, the customers that land on your website often have no idea where to go or what to do next. You have to guide them through your website towards where you want them to go by using effective calls to action. In fact, every single page on your website should have some sort of goal.
Do you want them to add a product to their shopping cart? Then use a bold color for your “Add To Shopping Cart” button to make it stand out. Do you want visitors to click on a product? Then use large, vibrant images and actionable text to convince them to “Click on your product now!”.
The most effective websites guide visitors on a set path or “funnel” that usually ends in a conversion that you define. Don’t let your customers aimlessly browse your site and have a clear goal in mind.
Rule #3: Your Toddler And Your Customers Can Be Easily Influenced
No matter what my daughter happens to want at any given point in time, she can usually be convinced to want something else at the drop of a dime. It’s all about the presentation and wow factor.
Daughter: I want to play with my teddy bear. It’s mine!
Me: Sorry dear, but your brother is playing with it right now and we need to take turns.
Daughter: I want my teddy bear now! It’s my teddy bear, not his.
Me: Come on now, we should all share our toys.
Daughter: Can I play with your iPad then?
Daughter: Please Daddy?
Me: Why would you want to play with a ratty teddy bear or this hunk of metal when you could be playing in your awesome new kitchen and cooking up some good food? In fact, Daddy is quite hungry right now. Can you cook me a delicious meal?
Daughter: You’re hungry Daddy? Ok, I’ll make you something to eat from my kitchen.
As the designer for your online store website, you have the power to influence your customers and present your products in the best way possible. And an easy way to do this is to use high res photos and attention grabbing product descriptions.
Sounds pretty straightforward but I can’t tell you how many online stores I’ve seen that don’t bother to write good product descriptions. For example, the other day I was shopping for a wooden train set and the description simply said “This is a wooden train set. Made of 100% wood and non-toxic”. Blah!
The product descriptions on your site are what sells your product so make sure you spend some time to write attention grabbing text! Even if you sell mundane products, you can often times convince a customer to buy just by presenting your product in a different light. If you don’t know what I mean, sign up for Groupon and read some of their emails!
Being An Effective Salesman Is A Constantly Evolving Process
While the many tactics that I described above currently work well with my daughter, they probably won’t be effective anymore in just a couple of months and I’ll need to come up with new ways to influence her. Likewise with any online business, the strategies and tactics that you use to attract customers will constantly evolve. So stay on your toes. I know my daughter will keep me on mine.
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