Dennis HaysbertYou get your new insurance bill, and grumble about the rate. You’ve grumbled every month when the bill comes, but today you’re especially irritated. “I wonder if I’m overpaying,” you mumble as you walk to your computer and search for “auto insurance.”

You go to the first site, and click on the “get rate” button. Whatzzis? You want me to register to use your site? Why do I have to register to get a quote online? Amazed, you look for an answer. A couple of clicks later you find this explanation:

* The online Rate Quote uses personalized pricing data. We use a one-time registration process to make sure we keep confidential data confidential.

* It takes only 2 minutes to register, and within 24 hours you’ll be set up and ready to receive personalized rate quotes and lots of other customized information to make your use of our web site easier.

These points constitute an answer?

I don’t want to use your web site. I just want to know what it will cost me to insure my car. You won’t tell me what your premiums cost without me telling you who I am? Why do you need to know that?

I know what this is all about. You’re going to send some salesperson to pressure me to buy from your company. I’m not sharing anything with you.

And with that, you go back to your search engine to try some other site. Pity. You still don’t know what the first company charged, and now you’re not going to say anything positive about them, are you?

Maybe it wasn’t insurance you wanted pricing on. Maybe you were searching for a gift for your mother, or checking the price of a rental car. Or maybe you’d actually found something you wanted to buy, but they won’t let you put anything in their shopping cart until you open an account. Have you ever had this particular experience?

It must have happened to Jim Whimpey and the Brisbane Creative Team. They’re parodying useless accounts at a site appropriately called Useless Account.

Every Obsticle Costs Sales

Here’s a truism: everything that gets in the way of your customer is going to cost you sales.

  • Should you hide the $20 jeans featured in your radio ad to see if anyone asks for them? NO! You should place them prominently and count how many you sell.
  • Should you charge your customer’s credit card, then tell her the item is back ordered? NO! You should inform the customer that the item can’t be shipped for a specific number of days, and not charge her card until you’ve actually sent the item.
  • Should you “capture” visitor information so that you can add one more name to your mailing list? NO! You should give people the information they’re seeking, and then let them choose to associate with you.

Now, the good news. Allstate gets it. Allstate’s newest television ad* is delightful. Here’s the script:

Say you want a hot dog. You go up to the vendor and you ask “How much?” He says “Give me your name and social security number.” Humm. You probably won’t buy from him. So why put up with it when you’re looking to buy car insurance on-line? At Allstate you can get a ballpark estimate without even giving up your name. Go to the new Without even giving your name or Social Security Number you can compare different car insurance options and levels of coverage and get a ballpark estimate. Then, if you like the price, you can go on to get a full, personalized quote with an option to buy on-line. People who switched to Allstate saved an average of $338 per year. Log on to now and see how much you can save. Protecting you should start with protecting your privacy. That’s Allstate’s stand. Are you in good hands?

You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many of your prospects take the bait, online or off, when you make it easy for them. And that bait is critical when you’re fishing for customers. .

Your Guide,
Chuck McKay

Marketing consultant Chuck McKayYour Fishing for Customers guide, Chuck McKay, gets people to buy more of what you sell.

Got questions about uncovering the obstacles to letting people buy?  Drop Chuck a note at Or call him at 760-813-5474.

* Article written and originally published May 15, 2007. Obviously no longer Allstate’s newest television ad.