Make Your Business 1st Choice at Four Decisive Customer Moments
Throughout the history of buying and selling, purchase has been a challenging experience for both buyers and sellers because purchase is a lengthy progression with three phases: consideration, negotiation, and transaction.
Buyers have always been in control of their consideration phase and sellers have always been in control of negotiation and transaction because they “owned” every bit of valuable information relevant to the purchase. Today’s buyers, no longer dependent on sellers’ information, have taken control of the entire selling progression including negotiation and transaction.
[wcm_restrict]In today’s buyer-dominant selling environment, customers are armed with technological firepower unavailable to any previous generation
The new generation of internet-empowered customers uses three lethal weapons to secure the benefits they want or need from marketers and sellers of every type and size:
- Instant, comprehensive information from the internet about all products and services – online and offline
- Immense choice in every segment – a wide variety of options and prices in every local community and from every corner of the world
- Real-time price comparison at the moment and location of purchase using smarter-and-smarter technology and newer-and-newer apps on constantly evolving mobile devices
All-too-many sellers do not realize that this permanent, irreversible customer transformation is a severe threat to their business
Moreover, this unprecedented reversal of power has given birth to an even more dangerous development – this generation of “new experts” is brand-agnostic. Here is analytical evidence: “in 2009, only 36% of business travelers were loyal and only 20% of car buyers were loyal.” (New York Times 12/1/09 and 10/20/09). Customer loyalty, long in decline, has virtually disappeared in every sector of commerce.
When buyers no longer care where they buy, you must be your customers’ 1st Choice
There are Four Decisive Customer Moments in every purchasing progression. To become your customers’ 1st choice, you must understand how to secure them at each of these invaluable, but highly perishable Moments:
- Your Now-or Never Moment—your first brief contact
- Your Make-or-Break Moment—the lengthy transaction process
- Your Keep-or-Lose Moment—the customers’ continued usage
- Your Multiplier Moment—repeat purchase, advocacy, and referral
How you can create Customer Preference throughout The Four Decisive Moments
Customer Preference, a profoundly simple, effective, and low-no cost strategy, is all about motivating customers to choose your company or brand vs. your competitors.
Customer Preference must be just as effective online as offline because there is no longer any difference in the purchasing behavior of today’s online customers and offline customers.
Customer Preference cannot be built on price alone because customers know all-too-well that “deals” are everywhere. Moreover, “deals” will never create enduring Customer Preference.
Customer Preference works because the customer has done his or her “consideration” homework and is ready to buy from someone. The customer is seeking a “reason-to-believe” one seller – one above all others.
Customer Preference provides the buyer a compelling reason to choose your firm before he or she has decided where to buy. The customer will ultimately select the seller who demonstrates superior knowledge and inspires trust.
Customer Preference is your understanding of buyer’s needs and concerns in the context of the transaction, your caring involvement, your honest advice, your credible promise, and more often than not, your resolution of some troubling aspect of the potential transaction.
You must create Customer Preference at all Four Decisive Moments
Your Now-or-Never Moment:
It is impossible to overestimate the importance of your prospects’ brief initial contact – often an instant, not a moment – whether online; by phone; or in person.
Prospects not converted into customers by Customer Preference at your Now-or-Never Moment will vanish – probably forever.
Given this reality, why is the prospect-to-customer conversion ratio for most businesses so alarmingly low? The solution starts with metrics, but doesn’t end there. If you don’t have the analytical tools in place to measure your conversion ratios and trends accurately at your Now-or-Never Moment and each of the successive Decisive Moments, you will never be able to improve your conversion performance.
Your Make-or-Break Moment:
Unlike the Now-or-Never Moment, the Make-or-Break Moment is lengthy. However, it is just as fragile. I’ll bet you’ve heard the following “explanations” from your sales team far too often:
- “The buyer got cold feet.”
- “The person I’m talking to can’t make the final decision.”
- “A competitor jumped in from nowhere with a lowball deal.”
- “Someone ‘upstairs’ gave the contract to his golfing buddy.”
To succeed at your Make-or-Break Moment, you must create Customer Preference and carefully navigate your customer through the ever-hazardous negotiation and transaction phases.
Your Keep-or-Lose Moment
After they conclude a transaction, most business leaders breathe a sigh of relief and start concentrating all of their resources on their next big sales opportunity.
Of course, you must pursue new prospects aggressively and continuously, but it is even more important to nourish your relationships with current customers while they are using, consuming, enjoying, and relying on the product or service they purchased from you. Losing current customers, while chasing new ones, is wasteful. Moreover, it is a lost opportunity.
You must assure that Customer Preference is maintained throughout the Keep-or-Lose Moment and stay top-of-mind with your customer long after the transaction. Competitors that lost out at the Make-or-Break Moment will do every thing possible to lure them away.
Your Multiplier Moment
Your Multiplier Moment is the time to capitalize on the abundance of Customer Preference you created at each of the preceding Decisive Moments.
This is when you can convert a one-time customer into a highly profitable repeat customer and generate additional customers from their advocacy of your firm. It is indeed your Multiplier Moment.
To make your business 1st Choice, make Customer Preference your 1st priority[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember]
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About the Author
Robert H. Bloom is the author of The New Experts: Win Today’s Newly Empowered Customers at Their 4 Decisive Moments (Greenleaf). For more information or to contact Robert Bloom, please visit www.TheNewExperts.com.
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