A momentous power shift has shaken and reshaped the global markets. Consumers have acquired control of their buying experience, taking the power away from the marketers and sales professionals, and leaving many companies struggling to adapt.
Interview with Mark Stuyt, keynote speaker at conneXion Reykjavik
This unprecedented transformation consists of 5 core changes in buying behavior:
Control: consumers strongly desire to have control over their buying experience;
Knowledge: consumers are highly informed about the products;
"Late stage engagement": buyers increasingly wish to stay anonymous throughout most of the buying experience, engaging with sales professionals only at the last stage of their purchase;
Mistrust: buyers are increasingly reluctant to trust vendors and partners;
Independent validation: consumers use social communities and peer groups to look for unbiased reviews and references online before buying.
These changes have shaken the traditional relationship between consumers and corporations, and brought along a wholly new set of demands and challenges to businesses.
How should businesses react in order to maintain their competitive edge?
Content production and distribution will become central. Businesses will have to focus on producing and circulating high quality, effective and informative materials, in order to obtain the customers’ loyalty and trust when customers are still in the phase of information gathering
Strong soft selling skills will become critical: businesses will need to focus on understanding what motivates their customers, and building a business that the customers will like and trust. Tap into your customers’ emotions.
Prescriptive selling, which entails offering out-of-the-box solutions, will become predominant. Customers have been expressing preference for easy, risk-free, ready solutions. Simplicity and repeatability are critical values, as they help decrease customers’ fear of change.
We have to be nimble, and confident that although we are undergoing a great shift, we have the tools to stay ahead, and lead forward.
So the empowerment of consumers has created a new set of challenges for businesses, but also new opportunities. Now it’s up to us to react….
Want to know more? Find out about consumer psychology and how to improve your marketing messaging.
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