Innovation through creating new products or services and then selling their value, does not guarantee success anymore. We are in an age where being understood by brands no longer surprises customers because it’s expected that every part of the buying journey caters to their individual needs and desires.
Brands thrive for Attention and Awareness but need Affinity too.
Sales and marketing is no longer about coming up with new ideas to persuade customers to buy – it is about understanding them, then making things they want that are useful in their lives. Brands can build loyalty and trust by being the ones to remove obstacles that will give customers back their time to do things that matter to them.
Business has always been competitive and with the increase in options that it brings to the market, commoditization is part of the equation. Creating awareness and capturing the attention of your ideal customer isn’t going to work if everyone is doing it.
Increasingly, people are spending their money with those companies that really get know them and whose values and actions align with their own.
Your job in the buying journey is not just to get the customer from Point A to Point B.
Your job is to eliminate any uncertainties that the customer encounters along the way.
Ikea has opened Space 10 a future-living lab located in Copenhagen where they co-create solutions for major challenges that their customers will face around the world when it comes to improving urban living standards and building sustainability
As salespeople and marketers, we need to understand what our customers want and be committed to innovating constantly to fulfill their desires. What your selling isn’t the only important thing that’s important, you need to focus on tailoring and personalizing the experience for each individual customer because they are why you built your product or service in the first place. New business models are being created by startups and disruptors who are willing to really understand, anticipate and cater to communities of individuals who share the same problems and pain points.
“Is this produce or service worthy of my customer and why?”
In her book Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly, Bernadette Jiwa emphasizes that understanding the customer is the first step that all brands should keep coming back to at every touchpoint in the buyer’s experience.
Great salespeople don’t just try to understand what their customers want or need at the beginning of the sales process, they are constantly adjusting, challenging and questioning whether their solution is worthy of their customer.
Actually giving a damn is a competitive advantage
Many of us have heard of the phrase “It’s not personal, it’s just business” which makes it seems that our interactions with customers are largely transactional, when in fact many of the purchase decisions we make are based on an emotional needs or desires. Of course many of us as brands, business owners and entrepreneurs already focus on providing a great customer experience, but the truth is that when you genuinely care about the people you serve and make things for, you can’t help make the whole experience more meaningful. You can’t fake true empathy.
“You’re a better designer if you love the people you’re designing for.” – Fred Dust, Partner at IDEO
Data is a tool, not a replacement for interpreting Human Emotion
There is much talk of how data can help you grow your business and how your existing customer base can be the best resource for generating new revenue – but data doesn’t really tell you how a person maybe feeling in that moment and customers tend to only recommend vendors who they trust – this is where the human factor and your ability as a salesperson to interpret your customers’ emotions and build trust is so important.
Ali Hanif specializes in sales enablement and driving growth for businesses by focussing on the customer experience, through content and communications. Get in touch with Ali by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.