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3 WAYS YOU CAN HELP THE CUSTOMER NOT TO BUY
We are all buyers, clients, customers for various goods and services. Recently, I encountered three vendors for the service I would like to get. The three vendors operated in various ways to get the sale.
The first one was the patient type and to a certain extent, the friend of the customer. He was understanding, knew his products very well, and listened intently. He was there at every stage of the process. During the final negotiation, he presented a impossible barrier for the customer to decide to buy from him. He wanted an upfront payment for the preliminary assessment so that he would know what solutions he can offer!
The second one was also helpful in the beginning. When it was time to get serious, he pedaled back, wanting to build a more trusting relationship with the customer. He wanted to prolong this 'trust stage' so he would know that the customer will surely buy from him. Instead of presenting the most credible solution and addressing the need of the buyer, he wanted to 'test' the buyer first!
The third one was a non-nonsense vendor. He stated his methods, prices, and his approach to the solutions. But at the earliest stage, he started criticizing the customer for the state of his affairs. He was also saying that after he was done with him, expect that there will be more work (costs) to be done. His contract was one-sided, all provisions pointed to his risk mitigation.
All these three vendors were successful in helping the buyer not to buy from them. Their perspectives were self-centered- to protect themselves at all costs. Instead of helping solve a need upfront, they relied on their tactics and methods that backfired.
Contrast to this one vendor. He didn't care about the trusting process, the 'fit' between customer and vendor, stated his methods and explained his fees. He was consistent, on-the-ball, and no drama. When the customer talked to him, he was assured, well-versed, and credible. He didn't promise the moon but the way he would approach the project was reassuring. The rest of the process was smooth and unencumbered.
A trusting relationship is critical to any sale. But forcing the trusting relationship by rigging it do not serve the transaction. Building trust is about serving the needs of the client now (when he/she is talking to yo) and being consistent throughout all the stages of the sale.
Is your process, communication, and projection pro-customer or pro-self-preservation?
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WHERE'S YOUR TAIL?
I was at the airport in August to pick my mom who was coming from BC. It should just be a straight-forward experience. It turned out that it was a complete nightmare.
The airline delayed the flight twice and by the we get there, the ground stewardess said that it just left the place of origin. So we waited a few more hours. After that, we were again baffled that the flight didn't show up in the flight screen. We went back to the airline station and inquired the exact arrival time of the plane. The stewardess said that the plane will leave at night, about 9pm. This was a confusing information.
We checked again for the flights coming from BC but no flights arrived in the last 6 hours. We inquired again for the last time and another flight stewardess confirmed that the plane will be leaving by 9pm. So we drove home feeling drained and disappointed.
I got a phone call from my sister informing me that my mother's plane arrived an hour ago and she was sitting in the airport station!
What a big mess! The flight information didn't show the place where the last passengers boarded their plane. The stewardesses were not aware of flight data and to top it all, gave us the wrong information. This airline is the worst in delays, misinformation, and discoordination between its people.
The lesson here is don't trust the information. Get it from the source from your travelling family member. Breakdown in systems and communications happen all the time in larger organizations. When this happens, customers have to rely on their smarts to get through all the muddle. If they don't know that their tail is missing, they would care less about other things.
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A lot of on-purpose organizations borrow from one another. There's no shame in that. But as you progress and build your own intellectual capital and people asset, you should build your own competitive advantage.
The one-size fits all rarely accomplishes much. It also becomes a barrier to differentiation, and much needed innovation. If your corporate strategy calls for innovation, is it not your prerogative to build from within instead of installing something that is totally alien?
Risk-averse organizations borrow so much from the sector, that they become so identical their markets do not find the distinction or the uniqueness. They also comforted with the fact that the voice of the crowd must be correct. Joining the bandwagon without understanding and adapting is bad practice. It's a lazy approach.
If you really want innovation, stop imitating what is regurgitating in your field. Keep your core essential front and centre. Get resources that can provide new insights and perspectives, not formulas that worked in one organization or two. Stop hiring people who are peddling these formula. You risk being second-best or worst, the echo chamber.
You need to do the deep work to get this clear in your head. Best practice starts from your own internalization of your best work. No organization gets ahead of their game losing their self-worth.