I was invited to one of those home parties the other day. The kind where you make a bunch of meals for your family and freeze them. I thought it would be a great way to plan ahead and get some new menu ideas. If your life is anything like mine, you understand when I tell you that I barely have time to get to the grocery store – let alone prepare a healthy meal for my family each night. But I try my best – and I appreciate any opportunity to make healthy meal prep easier for me!
So I was excited about this party. Until I tried to register. There seemed to be a problem with the online registration on the website. And, I don’t know how it happened – slowly, over time, I suppose – but I’ve developed a complete lack of patience for technology that doesn’t work as it should. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I get instantly frustrated when I have to search and refresh and submit more than once on a website. Especially when I’m trying to give someone my money!
I ended up having to deliver a check to the hostess’s house – which is not a big deal because it’s not far from me. But honestly, it took me five days to get over there with the check. Normally, that inconvenience alone would be enough for me to forgo the party. But I wanted to go. And it wasn’t the hostess’s fault. It really wasn’t the consultant’s fault either – she had no control over the website. But it got me thinking…how many people make it difficult for customers to purchase from them?
It sounds like a no-brainer, but I’m always surprised when one of the mompreneurs I work with overlooks this important part of the process. I often review a website and notice that there is no easy way to make a purchase. And the women I work with send me their flyers and brochures, promoting their workshops and events, and I see there is no call to action – no way to make a reservation or purchase a ticket. I just received an email with details on an amazing summer camp for children – but there was no mention of how to register or pay.
So if you’re the owner of a small or home-based business, or if you’ve just started offering your services for hire, please make it easy for people to pay you. Here are a few things to think about as you review or create your marketing materials:
- Is the price clearly stated? Some businesses offer custom quotes or they have a specific reason for keeping their prices off their website and marketing materials. But if you are selling something that has a standard price, make sure it’s clearly stated on the website or flyer.
- What types of payment do you accept? Cash, check, credit card, Pay Pal? If you accept checks, make sure to specify who the check is made payable to.
- How do people pay? Do you expect people to mail you a check? If so, make sure you list the mailing address. If you want people to pay via credit card, be sure to have a secure online payment system. If you are using Pay Pal, make sure the purchase button is visible. If you plan to send customers and invoice, make sure you collect the information you need and share the terms of the invoice. Find out if they require you to submit a W-9 form in order to process payment.
- When do you require payment? Is there a deadline to make a payment? Depending on what you are selling, you may want to require payment in advance. Sometimes when you accept payment “at the door” for a workshop or service, it can get complicated or uncomfortable. For example, if you are holding a grief workshop, then you probably don’t want to be collecting money at the time of the event because it requires a different emotional state of mind. And you definitely don’t want to set yourself up to be chasing after payments that are late. If you are delivering a service that could take several weeks or months to complete, you may want to collect a deposit in advance and then state the payment schedule for the remainder of the project.
- What is your return policy? Do you offer refunds or allow returns? State your policy clearly so your customers are aware of the details before they make a purchase.
Now it’s your turn? What tips do you have for making it easy for customers to purchase from you?