This week is all about a story: the story of a buyer.
You see, Danny recently went out to buy two pairs of shoes. He knew the type of shoes he wanted; where he wanted to buy them; and the size he needed. He traveled to the store, tried on both pairs to make sure they fit, and then walked to the checkout line.
And that…is where everything fell apart.
ARE YOU EQUIPPED TO HANDLE THE INSTA-SALE?
Now granted, an instant buyer isn’t very common in B2B sales at all. The purchases are very big, and they generally take a lot more preparation. It’s not as easy as a shoe sale. However, it doesn’t hurt to imagine what an instant-buyer might go through if they did choose you.
If someone reached out and wanted to buy from your company that day – that hour, even – would they be able to?
Again: sales like that definitely aren’t the norm in B2B. But the age of Amazon and instant B2C purchasing has changed the way we function as buyers. Even in B2B, we want everything to be quick and easy.
Danny had picked out his shoes, tried them on, and was ready to spend money. What stopped him from doing that?
A long, long wait in line for the cashier.
Now, let’s be clear: Danny didn’t see a long line and walk away instantly. He stood in line, and he waited.
The store had three cash registers, and all three were occupied. However, each transaction was taking five or even ten minutes each! As Danny listened in, he started to realize why.
DATA COLLECTION CAN ROAD-BLOCK THE SALES PROCESS
As a digital marketing show, we push the importance of data a lot. And with good reason: it’s immensely valuable to your marketing and sales teams. However, we need to remember that data collection is the means to an end. We collect it in order to better serve leads, in the hopes that they’ll turn into customers.
If someone wants to make a purchase, asking for excess information before or during the sale is frustrating to them. They’re already giving you money.
As Danny stood listening to the cashiers in the store, he realized that they were walking every buyer through what amounted to a short questionnaire. Did they have a members card for the store? Did they want one? Were they sure about that? Because they could get a lot of discounts and future deals…
Even if the store’s customers weren’t interested, the cashiers were still trying to find subtle ways to collect phone numbers or email addresses. A simple transaction that should have taken three minutes was now taking two or three times that amount!
Is data like that helpful? Absolutely. But there’s nothing wrong with waiting until after the sale to collect said data. In fact, it’s probably more polite to do so! Many stores include a link on their receipts, where buyers can take a brief survey on their own time. Later.
It’s just not fun to sit through a survey in order to make your purchase.
And Danny, as he stood waiting for his turn, had time to spare. So what did he do? He got out his phone and started browsing.
ASK YOUR BUYERS: WAS THE SALE EASY?
After a sale is made, customers are generally satisfied with their purchase. Happy customers are far more likely to answer a few questions than impatient, still-waiting customers.
If you really want to ‘get in the shoes’ of your buyers, ask them later how the experience was. Did ‘fast’ or ‘easy’ apply?
If not, try to figure out what’s obstructing your potential clients once their minds are made up. Then, do your best to fix that roadblock.
Responses from clients can actually make for great testimonial material (and those, in turn, can speed up future sales). Requesting a Google review from loyal customers is a fabulous tactic, in fact. Many future leads may look at what others are saying about you before they make their decision.
A good or bad buying experience will probably affect more than one transaction. Your future B2B sales are being taken into account, too.
In Danny’s case, as he stood in a long line at the checkout, he had time to take a look at his shoes online. More specifically…how much they cost on Amazon. And wouldn’t you know it– one of the pairs was cheaper online!
As Danny stood there, he suddenly had a choice to make. He could spend another twenty minutes standing around the store, then pay a slightly higher price to walk away with the shoes he wanted. Or, he could spend less money; walk out of the store and be productive elsewhere; and receive the shoes after a day or two of going about his business.
Even though the path by cash register might have been faster in terms of minutes…how those minutes were spent was an important factor to him.
It’s like those old Tootsie Pop commercials: “How many steps does it take to buy a product, Mr. Owl?”
Three actually isn’t a bad number there.
In the end, Danny decided to spend his time elsewhere instead. He made the purchase online, and walked away from the checkout line.
The store lost money from him right at the finish line! And perhaps worse, they likely lost revenues from him in the future. He might not bother going back to the store next time.
As marketers, our data is important to us…but sometimes we might focus on it until we lose the forest for the trees. Next time, think twice about your B2B sales process. Too many steps might be pushing your buyers away.
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