Consumers dislike salesman. The image of the sales professional trying to take advantage of customers is embedded in our culture. It reminds me of the quote from a leading sales guru Jeffery Gitomer “People don’t like to be sold but they love to buy.” Think about the last time you made a major purchase like a car. You went online to find reviews, talked to some close friends and family members about cars they owned you liked and then you went back online to look at dealerships in the area to see what models were available and where they were at. After narrowing down your choices you made the dreaded trek to the dealership where you parked and went to look at the vehicles. Almost immediately a sales professional in a shirt and tie comes out and asks ”Can I help you find anything” and I bet you said, “No we’re just looking”. After an uncomfortable attempt at small talk and trying to develop rapport, the sales professional then stays within eyesight of you and when you start to examine a vehicle more closely he again approaches and begins to highlight the Features, Advantages, and Benefits of the vehicle. Rarely does the sales professional ask how you found the dealership or what
With a mission of bringing 21st-century marketing solutions to entrepreneurs and family businesses, Illini Marketing Consultants scoured the inter-webs to find where today’s customers shop. What we found wasn’t shocking but it was interesting. According to our team findings:
- Online sales of consumer products in the United States is projected to reach $421 billion dollars by 2020.
- 65% of consumers currently purchase everything from food and cosmetics to furniture and home appliances online
- The projected growth rate of 7.66% per year
- $1800 average revenue per user.
You may ask:
How do I capture these customers?
What do they want?
How do I get them to want me?
The answer to these questions is understanding the modern buyer’s journey and incorporating a plan and messages to capture the attention of buyer’s throughout the buying process.
There are 5 steps on the modern buyer’s journey:
- Identification of Needs
- Discovery of Solutions
- Consideration of Solutions
- Deciding on a Solution
- Review of the Solution
Having an action plan and message for each step of the journey will allow a business the potential to capture customers as they enter each step of the buyer’s journey. Here are the action plans and messages which work best in each step.
- Provoke thought in the customer as they Identify their needs- give typical problems and solutions. The message is about saving time
- Educate your potential customer- Use the information to describe solutions. The message should be the differentiation of your product or service
- Explain your solution- Demonstrations and detailed information on your solutions to the customer’s needs. The message is on the ease of use of the solution provided.
- Reassure your customer the decision is the right one- Provide Pricing, Return on Investment(ROI), Business Cases and Testimonials about the solution provided. The message will demonstrate the value of the solution going forward.
- Customer maintenance- Following up with customers, answering questions and providing general customer service. Let the customer know “We’re here to help”
Understanding the buyer’s journey also improves the sales process. Knowing the step the buyer has reached, the message used to assist them on the journey and information available to the customer will help determine the sales process for each buyer. Just like there are 5 steps in the Journey, 5 Action Plans and 5 Messages, the sales process has 5 steps.
- Prospecting- Identifying new markets or customers your business can serve
- Qualification- Discovering which leads are valuable
- Demonstration- Explaining your solution in consideration of others available
- Proposal- Presenting the price and value of choosing your solutions
- Contract- The on-going customer support once a decision has been made. Changing Always Be Closing into Always Be Helping.
While not every buyer’s journey starts at the same point having relevant information, detailed plans and targeted messaging for each stage will help you attract, convert, close and delight your customers. The goal of marketing is to turn Strangers (Prospects) searching for a solution to their needs into Promoters (Satisfied Return Customers). Remember, People LOVE to BUY, HATE getting SOLD.