Do you sell or do you help buying? It’s simply a question of who do you think is in control of the process, the customer or you? I think there is a lot of evidence, which suggests you should consider that the customer is in control and that helping buying instead of hard selling provides the best business opportunities for your company. There are numerous reasons why this is true, but let’s focus on three of them:
- Turn information into customer value
Information is available everywhere and there is no competitive advantage to create by manipulating or withholding information. You’d better play the game with transparency. Moreover, the key issue is not “information” but the value of this information and this where you can help your customer by providing assistance to assess the collected information. It will help her/him to make a choice which best fits her/his needs.
Some might argue that in some cases we will help the customer to buy our competitor’s product. This is true, and if she/he does, it probably indicates the customer would not be happy with your product anyway and, unless you enjoy getting involved with frustrated customers, you should be happy with his choice…
- Build a productive relationship
Trying to sell something your customer doesn’t need will bring you money on a short term but you should agree to loose your customer’s trust on the long term. If you want a productive and long term relationship with your customer, she/he needs to consider you as a trustful party, who serves her/his interests. And the customer’s interest is to buy the product, which the best fits his needs whether you provide it or not!
- Optimize your communication tools
Helping the customer to buy implicates you understand your customers buying process. The buying process tells you which phases the customer needs to run through to finally buy a product (hopefully yours :-)). Each step of the process teaches you which are your customer’s needs at that stage. By designing your communication tools to respond to these specific needs and use them at the right moment within the process, they will become much more effective and appreciated by the customer.
There’s a lot more to say regarding this subject and I will surely write more about how to analyze your customer’s buying process as I am convinced it will help you become more successful.
To your success!
Happy summer! 🙂