In theory, sales should be easy. A customer wants something, your business has that something, and so you sell it to them. Rinse and repeat.
In reality, of course, selling is almost never that easy—especially for a small business. You have to generate leads, qualify those leads to determine if they’re real prospects, carefully approach your prospects, pitch your product or service in a compelling way, overcome any objections, and close the deal. It can be a long, demanding journey littered with potential obstacles and pitfalls.
While many businesses dedicate significant time and resources toward optimizing the sales process, they frequently—and inadvertently—make things even harder for themselves. How? By increasing sales friction.
What is sales friction?
Sales friction is anything that gets in the way of a customer saying “yes.” It can happen at virtually any point in the sales process. A slow or unresponsive website causes friction for someone researching your company. An untrained salesperson causes friction by not being able to answer a prospect’s questions. A point-of-sale system that won’t accept a customer’s credit card causes friction in what should be the painless final stage of a transaction.
Consider some other common sources of sales friction—how many of the following might apply to your business?
- missing or hard-to-find business contact information
- unnecessary or redundant customer relationship management (CRM) systems and steps
- CRM systems that contain unclear or incorrect information
- sales and marketing messages that are irrelevant or flood prospects’ and customers’ phones and email inboxes
- outbound calls that disrupt the lives of prospects and customers
- communication problems between sales and customer service staff
- sales and support unavailability
- delays in following up with prospects and customers
- missed deadlines and unfulfilled promises
- complicated payment processes
The list goes on. Indeed, virtually every decision your company makes can either facilitate or impede sales growth. And while eliminating sales friction entirely may take a thorough audit of your organization, there’s at least one major source of friction you can fix today: the lack of a live chat window on your website.
How does live chat reduce sales friction?
Live chat is a valuable and highly underrated sales and customer service tool. It’s easy and cost-effective to implement, a majority of consumers like it, and relatively few companies use it.
On top of that, it can address multiple sources of sales friction, including the limitations of business hours, inefficient lead generation, customer objections, poor customer data collection, and more.
Here are just a few ways how:
Generate more leads
Live chat specialists can be trained by experts in your company’s field, making them capable of handling the types of qualifying questions necessary to generate real leads. Chat specialists are proven to generate more leads than other sales tools and strategies. In many cases, these leads would not have otherwise been created.
Overcome objections in real time
As business-to-consumer communication has shifted away from face-to-face interactions and into the digital world, companies have lost the ability to overcome objections as they arise. More than a third (35%) of salespeople say overcoming price objections is one of the biggest challenges to any customer relationship. Live chat gives you the chance to address customers’ specific concerns in real time. With trained chat specialists available around the clock, there’s no need for protracted, back-and-forth messages and phone calls.
Gather better data about your customers and prospects
Get ready to say goodbye to those old-fashioned website forms that only convert a small fraction of your website visitors. Live chat specialists are able to build relationships with customers from the moment a chat begins—before your company even needs to request information. Agents can be trained to gather specific data, answer questions throughout the process, and clarify any misunderstandings that may occur as they occur.
Always be closing
With live chat, customers don’t have to commit to an appointment before interacting with your company. They can chat in to ask a simple question, at any time that’s convenient for them, even when a phone call would be awkward or inconvenient—e.g. while sitting in a conference for work, waiting at the DMV, watching the kids at soccer practice, and so on. Chat agents are live on your website while your office is closed, so you’ll never lose out on a lead or sale regardless of when opportunity comes. Sunday at 7pm? No problem for a live chat agent.
After implementing live chat on your company’s website, you can expect a higher conversion of web visitors into new customers. In our experience, after handling thousands of chats, our average company client sees a 40% increase in sales inquiries.