We can’t breathe without air; we can’t swim without water and we certainly can’t sell without a buyer.
So, we need to provide a positive selling experience for ourselves which in turn means that we must provide a positive buying experience for our customers.
Take a look back at your own buying experiences in the shoes of a customer:
- What has been the best for you?
- What sticks in your mind?
- Do you apply this into your own selling strategy?
Conversely, what has been the worst experience you have had, and do you make a conscious effort to ensure these negatives do not appear anywhere when it comes to selling your products or services?
As a small business owner, the way we do business has changed significantly during 2020 because of the restrictions that COVID-19 has forced upon us. For many, products and services will have moved online rather than deals being done, and wares being sold face-to-face (remember those days?) So, how do we create a positive selling experience online?
Here’s my list of key ingredients that will keep your customers coming back for more. Your positive selling experience goes hand-in-hand with your customers’ positive buying experience.
We all want to feel special
The golden rule when it comes to selling is to always make it about your customer. Every single piece of personalised communication you make whether it be leaving a phone message, sending an email or the conversation you’ve had, should always have them as the main focus.
You may be selling the same product or service to a multitude of different customers, but the individual buying experience is bespoke to them. By gaining an understanding of your customer’s needs of your product or service means you can tailor your interaction accordingly.
Do you even know who you’re selling to?
In order to gain your customer’s interest and allow them to learn about your small business, you need to invest some time in getting to know them first. In an online world, social media makes it a lot easier to monitor your customers and discover their interests just by looking at who they like/follow which is a great conversation starter. Try looking at where they ‘hangout’ on social platforms such as:
- Google My Business
Once you have gained knowledge about your customers, you should be able engage far easier with them demonstrating some understanding of their interests and what they do. This is a massive advantage rather than going in blind and will benefit you in your attempt to engage them in conversation. And don’t be shy in bringing your personality into the process – people love to buy from nice people!
Engage first, pitch second
Nobody likes being sold at. If you know who your target buyer is, you’ll know that you need to nurture them. A great opening introduction is to offer your help and knowledge in a way that your potential buyer finds more valuable. If you are unsure how valuable you can actually be, don’t be afraid to ask – they will appreciate your support. It is never a good idea to go straight in with the hard sell as you could risk scaring them away.
Position yourself as someone who is there to help, rather than someone who just wants to make money. Once the customer knows your intentions are honest and genuine, they will be more receptive to continue dialogue with you. In the words of social selling expert Jill Rowley: “Think ‘jab, jab, jab, right hook’ as ‘give, give, give, ask”.
Are you implementing any cheeky psychological nudges?
We all respond to certain situations and having an awareness of how our brains are wired means that we can tap into some psychological behaviours which can work in your favour.
- Anchoring effect: The anchoring effect describes the common human tendency to rely heavily on the initial segment of information given when making decisions and subsequent judgments. The ‘anchor’ is what we use to evaluate all further information presented to us.
- Decoy effect: Adding in a third choice often helps customers choose between your two favoured possibilities so by adding a ‘decoy’ you can nudge them towards what you would ideally like them to buy.
- Loss aversion: Ever heard of FOMO? In urban speak this means ‘fear of missing out’. How many times have you ordered something online and the countdown timer begins? We naturally react strongly to things that we may lose out on; prompting us to make a purchase faster. ‘Selling out fast!’ and ‘Limited stock!’ triggers FOMO.
- Confirmation bias: This is the tendency to search, interpret and favour information which confirms or advocates particular beliefs or values we hold. We unconsciously lean towards choices that support our views, no matter how compelling the alternative may be.
If you were your customer, would you buy from YOU?
Going back to what I said at the start of this blog, have you had a chance to think about your own buying experiences? If you were your customer, would you buy from YOU? This is the killer question.
It is easy to forget that our customers are real people – we are real people and we still buy things, so why should it be any different for our customers? Do we like being inundated with promotional emails every day? Spammy social media posts? Endless voicemails? If the answer is no, then it is highly likely that your potential customers won’t either and they will buy elsewhere. Be professional – but be personable. Build a connection, build a rapport and build trust and consumer confidence and your business will grow.
Food for thought in supporting local business in a more patient world
In a report produced by SendCloud.co.uk, ‘E-commerce statistics 2020: insights from the UK’, it has been found that in the UK, 77% of consumers say that they have bought more products online since the beginning of the pandemic.
UK shoppers have reported a major shift towards local retailers since the beginning of the crisis. While 45% of UK consumers happily ordered from international companies before the coronavirus outbreak, that number has now sunk to only 32%.
On average, UK consumers are now willing to wait as long as 6.7 days for standard delivery (compared to 4 days before the crisis). This is higher than the European average of 6.4 days.
If you need help in designing a positive selling experience model, book a 1-2-1 with me, Jacky Ling, or sign up to the Acorn Club where you can subscribe to a plethora of business resources.