Customers Buy What, When and from Whom
The customers make the buying decisions to buy what they want, when they want and from whom.
Salespeople are inundated with what to sell from suppliers, managers and their general experience. It’s not a secret that customers want to know what is popular. We all want to know today’s special when we visit a restaurant, but a large majority of us tend to order something we already know we will like. In the promotional products industry, everyone wants to know “what’s new,” but we sell a lot more of “what’s been available” despite the interest in what is new.
Selling the "what" requires you to stay on top of trends while being aware of what has worked in the past. Marrying the trend with your knowledge of what has worked in the past is a critical value you bring to your clients. Of course, selling the "what" is more than just offering the product, it is taking the step to show your clients how it will work in their promotions. Unless they don’t give you the chance, which leads us to the when.
When your customers have ideas, they turn to Google, and Google gives them answers now.
They can Google “trade show giveaway ideas,” and Google answers with great information. Or they can search for "employee appreciation gifts” and nearly every other term returns plenty of choices. Google doesn’t get to know the context of the promotion other than the search terms, but Google gives answers faster and exactly when they want, even if that is at 2 a.m.
Often, your clients email you for answers even if that is at 2 a.m., and are willing to wait. However, the willingness to wait is changing, and clients more often want to make the decisions just as they do for consumer purchases—search, click, buy.
To be available when your customers want in today’s world required you have a website that answers their questions effectively. It is worth repeating, make sure you have a website with a great customer experience, especially as it relates to search. Your website's name and URL also have to be easy to remember or find, which leads us to the "whom."
If your customers Google “promotional products,” they will see listings from top national companies who can sell them the "what" when they want it (usually now). Sadly, there is a good chance you are not going to be on the first page of any search for any product or term your customer will enter other than, perhaps, for your name and company name.
Therefore, a good starting point for you is to ensure that your company's name comes up multiple times on the first page of Google for any searches of your company name, including on Google My Business. Next, check out your name and ensure if your clients Google your name, you own the first page.
Having your company name and your name show up in searches isn’t enough, but it is the bare minimum. You also must ensure your customers can find you or your website easily. You have to promote and keep your website in front of your customers on a regular basis. A great way to keep your site in front of customers is to always send your ideas to customers as links to your website rather than as a PDF (or ensure the items in the PDF link to product pages on your site).
It is more important than ever to meet your customers’ needs in the way they want their needs to be met. Providing what they want when they want it will help you be the from "whom" they buy.
I presented a seminar at PPAI Expo this year on a similar topic, and you can view the slides by clicking “Selling in the Zero Moment of Truth.”