To attract new clients we need to create a positive buying experience for them. This usually involves a combination of marketing activities and a salesperson in the first instance.
To retain clients we need to create another positive buying experience for them, and another and another, and another.
This usually involves more than just the salesperson; this can now involve a whole range of people from those who deliver, assess, implement, design, customise, coach, facilitate, create whatever has been purchased, to those who handle customer service enquiries, those in credit departments managing payments, those in chat rooms rendering tech support and so on.
Creating a positive buying experience should be a company-wide mandate with a minimum standard of excellence defined across all roles, not just the client facing roles. Think of all of those roles that may be invisible to the buyer but if they go pear-shape can create a ripple effect of disaster, ruining the promise made to the client in the first place.
So, what is a positive buying experience?
I hope that we have all had at least one positive buying experience we can recall. For instance, I was speaking to a Barrett client the other day about his amazingly positive buying experience when he and his wife were buying a new bed. He is a national sales director and was explaining to me how wonderful the saleswoman was who helped them make this positive and informed buying decision. He explained that this woman was patient, attentive, enquiring, understanding, confident in her knowledge of beds and extremely interested in helping them achieve the right outcome for them. He was so moved by the experience that he called it out with me as part of a broader business discussion we were having.
I can recall, from time to time, having similar experiences but sadly they are all too few and far between. That is why I think we are so excited to share our positive buying experience stories when they happen. We can’t quite believe how lucky we are when this happens. What a sad indictment on businesses in general that these positive buying experience are not the norm.
So just imagine then, if you could get your whole company creating a positive buying experience across the entire value chain, from top to bottom and side to side, where everyone knew what was expected of them, how they should treat people with kindness and respect, and were very clear about what value they bring buyers and what they stand for.
Just imagine what stories would abound about you and your company in the market place. How, by word of mouth and social media, your business’ reputation would spread. There are so few companies that really get this as a way of doing business. Apple’s Genius Program is a great example of a company-wide initiative in this space.
Offering the cheapest price is one way to attract people to your business, but not for long. You will not keep them if you do not offer a positive buying experience. If you only offer ‘cheap’ and nothing more, then clients will shop around on price.
A positive buying experience is where buyers are respected, cared for, responded to in a timely manner, listened to and understood. It is an experience where the salesperson addresses the priorities of the buyer so they can make an informed decision about what it is offered.
A positive buying experience also means that when the salesperson cannot address the buyer’s priorities, they explain it clearly to the buyer and offer an alternative – even if that alternative is with a different business– to help the buyer achieve what they want.
So what’s stopping you and your teams from creating this positive buying experience?
This a clearly distinct competitive edge that too many businesses are ignoring at theirs and their clients’ peril.
Remember everybody lives by selling something.
Sue Barrett is the founder and CEO of the innovative and forward thinking sales advisory and education firm, Barrett and the online sales education & resource platform www.salesessentials.com. Get to know her further on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.