Selling is NOT your job. Helping people buy from you is your job. Focusing on the selling process is NOT what you are paid to do. You should be facilitating the buying process. Does this make sense? Well, it does if you understand that your top priority is helping the buyer on their journey. Grasping the concept of the buyer journey and how to adapt your interaction to guide the buyer process is key to increasing sales and revenue for your company.
Helping the buyer on their journey tops the customer experience
The practice of selling has changed over the past few decades. Focus on the customer and their “experience” hads given rise to initiatives that claimed to put the customer first. Breaking down organizational silos, empowering employees and customer-centricity were highly touted and may have shown some success. But the practice has stalled for lack of a cause-and-effect relationship on revenue growth and profitability. Customer experience will be a fad without a better business case, according to Mohamed Latib. Helping the buyer on their journey is the latest thought-leaders’ version of customer-focused considerations. This process aligns how you sell to prospects and the way customers prefer to buy.
Catching up to the buyer
In the B2B world, 74% of buyers do at least half of their research before making an offline purchase, according to Christopher Ryan writing for customerthink.com. This modern self-directed buyer disrupts the time-honored sales process. Today’s buyers are further down the funnel and have checked out the competition. They may even have made preliminary judgements about your product or service. If you are helping the buyer on their journey, you need to jump in and join them where they are. Your discovery questions at this point are crucial. Perhaps the prospects have made assumptions that you can redirect. Maybe you can speed the progress or point to an alternate solution. Your job is to support the buyer and to qualify them as a viable candidate while you inform, influence and guide.
Become a buyer concierge
In the article How Mapping the Buyer’s Journey Can Lead to More Revenue, Ryan discusses the shifts that have occurred with the self-directed customer. The seller’s challenge of overcoming objections has transformed to the more proactive process of “removal of barriers." Closing a sale is now guiding the purchase. Some may see it as simple semantics, but in a larger sense, it is a sensitivity to customer accommodation. Think of yourself as a buyer concierge. Regardless of your outlook, helping the buyer on their journey can build revenue, encourage repeat business and improve profitability for your company.
Successful journey mapping
In addition to the mapping process, which covers an array of important questions involving the decisions and key purchase information, Ryan offers several tips to assist in charting the process. In his article, Ryan follows each tip by a list or paragraph that helps you translate itto your specific business.
- Take an actual walk, as your customer would, when doing business with your company. Remove points of friction.
- Create discovery questions to meet your customer specifically where they are in their journey.
- Know what content your customer sees when making inquiries of your business at all stages along the route. Align the content to support their journey. Consider all departments interacting with buyers.
Ryan suggests that you spend a few weeks mapping the buyer’s journey. Make changes to streamline the process. Align and supplement your content and remove barriers. Helping the buyer on their journey will pay dividends with happier customers and more revenue.
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