According to the Corporate Executive Board, (CEB) almost 60% of the customers’ journey is complete before they reach out to vendors. Our customers’ journey starts way before their first transaction. with us And in a Harvard Business Review, “Solution Selling is Dead” (that cites the CEB findings) because talking about our products and services is no longer good enough. It may even hurt our brand in the buying process. Why? Because customers see right through these self-serving tactics. They are looking for brands that put customers first. They are looking for brands that know how to connect on an emotional level. In fact, the Corporate Executive Board’s latest report shows that “emotion beats promotion” by a factor of 2 to 1.
The internet has changed everything. It has democratized information – most anyone can find information on most anything almost all the time. Now the customer can know more than the vendor. The tables have been turned. It is more likely now days that the customer, armed with comparative data, knows more about the products and services then the representative they are dealing with.
Even more empowering for the customer is social media. The internet has given customers the power to share their experiences – good or bad – with their closest friends and the entire world instantaneously. We can not even control our brand. Anyone can say anything anytime about any brand.
So what is an organization to do? Understand that that our customers’ journey starts way before their first transaction with us. Do some homework: learn who these prospective customers are; listen to what they are saying about your brand and find ways to join the conversation; and make it easy for them to find, share, and engage.