other day I made a not-so-nice comment to someone, and the
guy was none too pleased. My buddy Bryan nudged me,
winked, and said, "How to win friends and influence
people, huh, Grok?" I raised one of my many eyebrows
questioningly. "Dale Carnegie. 1937," came his
reply. Turns out it’s not simply one of those sayings
that have entered mainstream speech; it’s the name of a
book. A runaway best seller, in fact, since its first
publication. The granddaddy of people skills books.
offices we talk non-stop about "e-business the
old-fashioned way." What we mean is that success in
e-tailing depends on building solid relationships with
live human beings, just like in the real world. We are
fanatical about this idea (you have noticed, haven't
you?), even though it’s hardly revolutionary. You see,
Carnegie wrote about the same stuff 63 years ago with an
understanding that will never be outdated.
got to musing on how Carnegie's thoughts could improve how
you manage your web business.
Win Friends and Influence People
has sold over 15 million copies worldwide. It’s been
translated into a bunch of other languages (I’ve offered
to do the Martian translation - expecting a callback any
day now), and it’s still in print, as timeless now as it
was when it first came out. Read it!
believed financial success was due 15 percent to
professional knowledge and 85 percent to "the ability
to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse
enthusiasm among people." That's the stuff of retail
dreams and the goal of any e-business. You don't just want
someone to arrive at your site. You want them to arrive,
experience a sensation of "Wow! Oh boy! At
last!" And you want every tiny bit of your site to
reinforce their sense of delight at having discovered you.
Think of seeing Disneyland or walking into a Sam's Club
for the first time. Awesome, huh? That's what you want to
shoot for when it comes to arousing enthusiasm.
“Wow on arrival” is hardly enough. Everything about
the shopping process, up to and including service after
the sale, must continue to knock your customers out.
Remember, this is a sales environment where the customer
is completely in control. Talk about the need to
wise Mr. Carnegie observed, "Remember that a man's
name is, to him, the sweetest and most important
is a big deal these days. Humans are far more likely to
open personalized e-mail, are more likely to open these
messages first, and are more likely to read the content
(presuming it has something of real value to them and is
well-written). But that’s true only if the use of their
names makes sense in context, and is a name the person
would normally respond to. Since you can't get
face-to-face with your potential customers, including
their names seems a reasonable marketing compromise. But
suppose a visitor fills out information that includes her
name (Ms. Samantha Frances Jenkins) and then starts
receiving personalized promotional stuff or newsletters
that start with, "Dear Ms. Samantha Frances
Jenkins." How warm and fuzzy does that sound? Not
very. Especially if nobody except the guy behind the
counter at Motor Vehicle ever calls her that. The end
result to you (if you are the culprit here) is that unless
your site is phenomenally spectacular, Ms. Samantha
Frances Jenkins is going to be repelled by your phoniness,
which will most likely influence her never to return.
subscribe to this newsletter, you might have noticed it
arrives in your inbox with your name included in the
subject line. Hopefully, it catches your attention because
it is a name you like to be called. How does that happen?
Because the clever folks who manage my mail have asked
you how you like to be addressed. This may seem like small
stuff, but it is one of those things Carnegie says makes a
huge difference in the pursuit of Winning-and-Influencing.
in terms of the other man's interests." Another of
Mr. Carnegie’s nuggets of wisdom.
around here call it, "Your favorite radio station: WIIFM,"
or "What's in it for me?" (Check out the
archives - I have a whole article on this.) Carnegie says
you can make someone want to do what you want them to do
by looking at the situation from their point of view and
"arousing in the other person an eager want."
You are dead in the water if you can't do this with your
online customers. Why? Because e-commerce by definition is
consumer-centered. You may think you call the shots, but
that's an illusion. Your customers do.
you’ve heard me say before, the average conversion rate
of e-shoppers to buyers, well, sucks. In the
bricks-and-mortar world, where no one assumes expertise on
the part of the customer and everyone focuses on the sales
process and making the environment shopper-centered,
conversion rates run about 48%. On the web? It’s
somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.75%. That means at
least 98% of your visitors leave without making a purchase
(and by the way, about 75% of them tried to buy from you,
but got frustrated, bailed, and will never come back.).
And of those who do buy, only 10% return to buy again. Can
you say, “Big losses”?
a success of your web-business, you have to
Win-and-Influence by turning your
around. Give your visitors what they want; it’s
the only way you can get what you want. And
remember, people rationalize their purchases based on
facts, but they make their purchases based on feelings.
Plus, shoppers aren’t just bodies carrying credit cards.
They are “holistic” beings whose experiences, beliefs,
and values have a big influence on when, what, and also
from whom they will buy. You can provide the missing link
in e-commerce by engaging your shoppers' values and
feelings and create a HUGE win-win!
the other man do a great deal of the talking."
the coolest things I’ve noticed about humans is that
they always have opinions. And they usually aren't shy
about expressing them … they want to express
them! So don’t just give them the opportunity via the
teeny type at the bitter bottom of your web page that says
"Send comments to