Daniel Newman
May 7, 2014

6 Things Businesses Must Know About Today’s Consumer

The world is moving so fast. You go to bed and things are one way only to wake up to something else. If you are a sales pro you know what I mean. Whether it is a changing deal, a new competitor or something that completely disrupts the market, we are in a changing world. And with a new world comes new rules.Here are 6 new rules that are reinventing how companies and individuals need to approach sales and customer engagement in a world where the only constant is change. Are you ready?

Rule 1: Your customers know more than you think

Did you know that by the time a customer engages a vendor they are often 70-90% of the way through the sales process? This change is rooted in the Internet age where customers do their own research online through finding useful content and using it to support their buying decisions. In fact the average consumer engages with more than 11 pieces of content during the buying cycle.

What this means: Companies need to get active in becoming the source of content for their clients. This can be done through many mediums both on and offline, but if you aren’t part of the first 70% of the sale then it is going to be more difficult and less profitable for you to be part of the last 30.

Rule 2: Your response time isn’t fast enough

Would it surprise you to find out that more than 64% of consumers who email or use social media to complain or receive service expects a same day response? Of those more than a third want a response within 30 minutes. These days companies are using call centers, mobility and real time customer service to make sure that their customers are getting the immediate service they feel they deserve.

What this means: With companies working hard to set the bar for great customer service, more and more companies that aren’t as fast and responsive are losing the trust of their customers as they seek business partners whose customer engagement strategies are on point. Smart companies are building a plan to become more responsive to their customers needs including their expectation for immediacy.

Rule 3: Time to get WAY more creative

If rule number one says the customer knows way more than you think, then this rule may be the ultimate what to do about it. With customers armed and educated with more data than know-how it is up to sales to deliver the creativity that answer this question: With all of the information at my disposal, how can I put this solution to use in a way that helps my business achieve more measurable results.

What this means: Whether the “measurable” that you show is in the form of savings, productivity or revenue, part of the new creative sales pro is showing ROI.  The other part of creativity is helping the customer see not just the problem they think they are trying to solve, but the problem they may not even know they have yet.

Rule 4: Networking isn’t a fad it’s a must

On average the rate of trust on purchase decision from within someone’s immediate network is close to 90%. This number in itself shows why word of mouth marketing is so important in the age of social and digital networking. When people seek to buy they often collaborate with trusted people within their immediate circle to get recommendations and those recommendations are like gold.

What this means: Businesses focused on building their networks both individually and as a company will see more referral business than those trying to sell using old-school cold call methods.

Rule 5: Crushing Barriers of Entry

Nowadays you can sign up for a cell phone with no contract, you can try cloud applications for free with no risk and you can even take a car home for 3 days and bring it back no questions asked. This trend is driving people to want ways to test the waters before diving in, however most businesses still want customers to make massive commitments with very little recourse.

What this means: While not every company can sell something that can be easily tried for free, it is critical for companies to consider how they can lower barriers of entry for people to try what they are offering. If the product or service is all that you say it is then the risk of letting someone have a free taste may not be as big as you think.

Rule 6: Customer Experience Rules the Rules

small-customer-is-the-bossSometimes there is the one rule that trumps all the rules. Well with these 6 new rules the last one should be the first your business and sales pros focus on. Create great customer experiences. Knowing that your current customers are your best sales people both in terms of referrals and the ability to buy something else, it is key to keep customer happy. Maybe the most telling number is that it costs 6x more to attain a new customer than it does to keep one yet so few companies (<20%) have a real customer retention strategy.

What this means: In a world where average is often forgettable, it is more important than ever to keep customers by creating memorable experiences for them.

This post, originally published here, on millennialceo.com, was syndicated here with kind permission of Daniel Newman. You can see more about Daniel here: http://millennialceo.com/about-daniel-newman/#sthash.6JBOqR2O.dpuf


Image Attribution: http://www.teamsupport.com/how-customer-experience-management-can-change-your-business/


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Daniel Newman's work is widely published. He is active in the social media community and the author of Amazon best-selling business book, “The Millennial CEO.” He also co-founded the global online Community 12 Most. He is the founder and CEO of Broadsuite Marketing Group and Principal Analyst at Futurum Research + Analysis. He is also co-founder of V3B [V3+Broadsuite]