Crafting an experience is key to mastering the evolving sales relationship with customers.
Think of how you’re going to find and connect with your buyer in much the same way a hunter would go about finding a target. If you’re hunting deer, you wouldn’t look in the same spots as if you were hunting ducks. You have to identify your target and go where they hang out.
For us, the process is pretty simple in concept. It begins by clearly identifying three to five specific niche markets, a very important step. In order to stand out, you have to know everything there is to know about your niches and the behavior of the prospects in that segment. Schools, for example, will have a very different profile than buyers in the festival or events market. Be specific. You want to target groups you can consistently serve.
Next comes a deeper investigation of the buyer profile. Keep in mind that new generations of buyers are entering the market. The millennials and the centennials who will follow are replacing the Gen Xers and baby boomers. These new groups have grown up in an entirely digital experience. They prefer to avoid face-to-face and even phone conversations. Their motivators are based not so much on price, but experience, and this is your opportunity.
In order to differentiate yourself and connect with these new buyers, your approach has to be all about them. It may have always been this way, but never more so than today. Your success depends on understanding how your products and services fit into the buyer’s overall experience.
For example, let’s say a prospective buyer approaches you for shirts for a 10K or half marathon. Your success will hinge on the complete experience you deliver. From working with race organizers, you know they’re going to need a lot more than shirts – they’ll require sponsor signage, event banners, window posters to promote the event, course markers, goodie bags, bib numbers, and so on. You know that active people aren’t looking for the cheapest cotton T-shirt any longer; today, they’re interested in technical performance fabrics. They’re more expensive and not everyone can print them well.
When you expand your knowledge of the buyer to multiple dimensions like this, you immediately differentiate yourself. You’re no longer a commodity and you connect with them on a much deeper level. You can talk their talk; you know the lingo associated with their niche. You also know what they like to do before, during, and after the event.
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