This is part 3 of a dialogue between a senior sales prevention officer and a junior seeking to learn the ropes. Sales prevention is ubiquitous. It can lurk in the back ground or be found right at the customer interface.

If you have an example of sales prevention do let me know. Now, on with the story.

Remora!

What do you mean they found your company on the internet! How did you allow that to happen? As a Junior Sales Prevention Officer did you not realise that prospective clients would be looking for your company using the internet? Your excuse that “Only those under 18 years of age would use the internet.” is way out of date. It is THE way to be found. You have been lax in your duties and you may need to rethink your future.

Everyone knows that Awareness is the first part of the buying process. When clients become aware that they have a problem, they start to search for possible solutions. Being hard to find is where you should have focused your energies. I accept that it was easy for me in the past. We ensured we remained hidden by not subscribing to any form of advertising, avoiding any relationship with the press and refusing to subscribe to directories. I did this by informing the Board that our investment funds would be better spent on making further enhancements to the product. A better product would surely attract more customers I argued. They bought it hook, line and sinker. We had so many product enhancement projects underway that the Board do not have the time to look at the languishing sales figures.

With the age of social media however I do accept that your job is harder. But not impossible. Start with the website as that is where most potential customers would go to find you. Imagine a site that allowed the customer to enter the site and then be unable to find what they are looking for. Make navigation or search really difficult, that is the goal. Moving on. It doesn’t have to be too technical. Start with a really slow download speed by using the cheapest server and low tech or free website package. Ensure the navigation bar is poorly worded and links to the wrong pages. Post updates very rarely and ensure that it the site is littered with spelling errors. Done well then they will bounce right off the site. A job well done.

You then cite SEO as being the bain of your existence. It is unless you understand that SEO is Search Engine Obfuscation. Here is how you prevent yourself being found online. Start by using search terms that have absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with what your customer might type into a search engine. Litter the content of your pages with worthless drivel. Use jargon that obscures what you do. Jumble the text around and pack the words in tightly by assuming that the last thing clients want to see is any white space on the site. Avoid punctuation. And most importantly do not seek to craft any form of narrative that might suggest passion or emotional engagement with what you do. Design is for wimps. Branding is for cows. Just words, no images to brighten up the site or videos to ensure they have something to engage with.

Do not help the client by writing about the benefits they may receive from working with you. Just list the features of your offering. That way Google will rank your page as not relevant to your prospective customers and you will wallow on page 15 or 16. You will never be found. That should be your goal. Personally, I set a target that I will never appear higher than page 20. It works for me. It is so much quieter here once the machines sit idle when the incoming orders cease. I can really think creatively about preventing sales and earn my crust.

So my dear Remora, think about ways to hide and not be found. Google is smart but you are smarter. They use spiders and robots whereas you have the god given gift of articulate thought. Sales prevention requires the use of top level thinking if you are to succeed.