Ask someone how they make a buying decision and their response will likely include searching the Internet to look up product features or service providers. They scour sites like Amazon.com for product comparisons, previous buyers’ reviews, and pricing options.
But the most critical factor in people’s decision-making process relies on how you ‘show up.’
People want to develop a relationship with you first and they expect you to engage with them in a consistently authentic, ‘real’ manner. They want to know your story and how you have helped others. They especially want to know that you can relate to what they are experiencing before having a conversation about doing business together.
People looking for what you offer almost always visit your website prior to direct contact. But having a website, even a well-designed one, is not enough. The key is to build those long-lasting relationships and that requires significant time and commitment.
And it’s especially difficult now since so many of our interactions are online. Social media seems impersonal and indirect, not to mention confounding at times, so it’s often easier to fall back on attending lots of networking events. But here’s the fact: even if we meet people at a networking event, our follow up is often online via email, LinkedIn or Facebook.
No matter what course of action you take, it just feels like an impersonal or round-about or time-consuming way to get the chance to talk with prospects. And when you do get that chance, you need to strike a very fine balance between exceptional listening and persuasive selling with the most important, clearest benefit being in the hands of the buyer.