How is Selling on a B2B Website Like Selling a House?

This post was originally posted in May 2016. It was updated in January 2021. 

Having a reader land on your B2B website is like having them view your house that’s on the market.

They know what they want (at least kind of) and might possibly make an offer (on a house) or you might even close a sale (on a B2B website). A website is the home of your company online. It’s where people visit if they want to learn more about you and your company.

There are several places you can lose both of these potential customers as they make their way through your website. The key to making the sale – in both cases – is to make the offer as appealing as you can to your potential customers.

Street View

From this perspective, you can tell if the house has been cared for adequately.

Equate “street view” on a website as the preview pane from any search engine or social media site. This contains the name of the website, a bit of preview text, and maybe the links that take you to more specific areas of the site.

These small blocks of text are critical to getting people to come to your website.

Imagine walking up to a house that you were thinking of buying and the lawn hasn’t been mowed. Would you now be wary of the house?

Those are likely the same sorts of alarm bells that would go off if, instead of engaging text that draws in a reader, they might see a typo or a broken image. Red flag? You bet. Keep your website running properly to avoid these mishaps or it will look like you didn’t take care of your house.

Entering the Front Door

The front door to your website is where people are entering your website for the first time. They are getting a closer look at the website and are coming to their own first impressions about it. Here are some areas to refine:

  • Load speed – if your website takes too long or there is an error, chances are you will have already lost your potential buyer
  • Clean but bold design
  • Visually appealing and typo-less headlines
  • Appealing and valuable images – ones that won’t take too long to load

These elements are the flowers in your front garden and the decorations on the porch. They need to be attractive, well-placed, and well-kept.

The Walkthrough

Now that you have the prospective buyer at your house (on your website), you are expected to lead them in and show them the rooms.

These rooms are like the different areas that people can visit on your website. They should be easy to find. We’ve all landed on a website and just couldn’t figure out where to go.  This frustrates many people and often they will simply leave.

This is like if someone tried to come to view a house and no one was there. They peer through the windows, but they can’t get inside. This is what a difficult-to-navigate website does to a prospective buyer. They know you have the answer they’re looking for, but they can’t get in and so they will likely leave. Reduce friction to make the sale easier.

As they move through your website, make sure everything is well-maintained and clutter-free. You don’t want a lot of nonsense to hold them back.

It is also important to be reliable. Make sure your website looks legitimate and honest. My parents once told me about how they were selling their first house and used spackle and paint to patch a hole in their front steps. Imagine the buyer’s dismay if/when they uncovered that!

That’s what happens when people look on your website and discover that you are lying about your sales figures. It would be like the inspector falling through the concrete step because it was spackle.

The Value of Being Up-to-Date

If you’ve ever watched any of those home-buying shows, then you know that the deal-breaker is usually in a dingy old kitchen or bathroom.

If your website looks like it came from the early 2000s and you’re trying to sell something tech-related, you can bet no one will buy from you.

Get It Inspected

When someone is considering purchasing a home, they get it inspected. This reveals flaws in the house that may be unsafe or costly to fix. It is your job on your website to do this to see what works on your website and what doesn’t.

This involves using metrics and analytics, like Google Analytics. Figure out what works and what doesn’t on your website. Then comes the next part.

Fix It

After you’ve figured out what needs repairing, make efforts to better tailor your website to your customer’s needs. Maybe you were targeting the wrong set of people because you didn’t know your audience as well as you thought you did. It’s like a nice house being placed in a really bad neighborhood. It will have to be priced accordingly and it will be harder to sell because the audience will either not match the house or the location.

Fix your house according to what your potential customers like and want and you’ll have no problem converting them.

Don’t make it hard to make the sale. If you are trying to sell anything, be it a house or a product on a website, make the customer journey as easy and smooth as possible. To do this online, make your customer experience on your website as friction-free as possible. Make it easy or they’ll go elsewhere.



Tell us in the comments section:

  • What do you think of this metaphor?
  • Does it work?
  • What comparison would you make instead?




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