How to improve your conversion rate.You have a conversion problem.You convert below average or only slightly above average.You experimented, invested, executed and collected the data.The results were disappointing.There was no shortage of consultants clamouring to help you.Yet, I’m asking you to please reconsider whether you have a conversion problem. Whether you want more engagements, leads, subscriptions, or sales conversion is no different. Nobody, except my brother, has spent more years focused on conversion issues.Allow me to offer a different perspective.Your problem may be focusing too much on “average”. What is the average conversion rate?Online retailers publish their conversion rates so let’s use them as an example. In 2015 the average conversion rate of the nation’s top online retailers is 3.32%.There is nothing different about the relationship of the leaders in the eCommerce space to non-eCommerce players. You can make money being average. That is the challenge! What conversion rates tell usThe top 25% of online retailers convert at 5.31%, and the top 10% of online retailers convert at 11.45%.Amazon Prime members convert 74% of the time on Amazon.com.That is according to a 2015 study from Millward Brown Digital.Compare that to 13% for non-prime members.Amazon’s user interface isn’t 22x better than average.Amazon’s copy isn’t 22x better than average.Amazon’s design isn’t 22x better than average. Amazon’s prices aren’t 22x better than average.Amazon isn’t ordinary, and it doesn’t think about average conversion rates or average customers.Amazon’s stated goal is to be “the most customer-centric company on earth.”This fits with how we define conversion rate.“Conversion rates are a measure of your ability to persuade visitors to take the action you want them to take.They’re a reflection of your effectiveness at satisfying customers.For you to achieve your goals, visitors must first achieve theirs.” We first wrote that in 2001.The difference between average and excellentThe companies that excel at conversions have evolved a culture of customer-centricity.And not at the manager or director level, but from the C-suite on down.The best companies experiment. They absorb conversion rate optimization learnings and incorporate them into strategic and operational changes. That makes them superior.And not just at fixing, but at creating customer experiences that delight their customers. Oh yes! And they also think about the sales funnel differently.Conversion Funnels: A Flawed MetaphorYour customer isn’t in a funnel; there is no gravity.The only thing that drives them is their interests.They navigate your experience click by click, a chunk of information by chunk of information, and make decisions about how relevant valuable and persuasive the experience is to them.They are telling themselves a story using your content. Your customers’ journeys are their stories, NOT funnels.They could tell you those stories, try asking them. And those stories don’t always have happy endings.Your customers’ stories end well only with delight.And for them, that may mean buying from you or a competitor. It’s a matter of perspective, the only one that matters, theirs.Now you come along and interrogate your analytics to find out what your customers did. You contemplate your conversion rate.Is this different from what you do?It’s time to perfect your concept of a funnel. Conversion is not a numbers gameThe most successful companies start with a story told from the customer’s perspective.Not average customer, but real ones.They articulate precisely what the customers will experience and then execute.They focus on removing friction by enhancing persuasiveness and relevance at every touchpoint.They plan on a customer experience that may touch many channels.They work hard to remove silos from the customer’s perspective.They know that the customer doesn’t care if you sit in a store, an office, a warehouse or a call center.To the customer, every interaction is a reflection of your brand.Start with a storyThe story you need is not a feel-good story.It’s not the stories you tell your customers; that’s just promotion. Tell the stories from your customers. Because your brand isn’t what you say it is but what your customers say it is. Do you want to improve your conversions?Don’t hire a consultant. Stop thinking average. Stop worrying about average customers.Start thinking about reshaping your customer experiences from their perspective. Place your customers at the center of every interaction, and you’ll rise above average.