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Closing the sale still means understanding your customer.

You know, closing the sale in the old days seemed a lot simpler. It really wasn’t.  Remember when there weren’t any online tools to support your products or your business? How many of you remember life “before Facebook?”

It’s easier now if you have the tools in place.  Some retailers are complaining that customers “just want to look.”  It’s not just that customers are “tire kickers” or don’t want to spend money. It’s the customer is being influenced by many other factors before she gets to your store. It’s been said the customer has about 10 connections that will give her information about the product she’s considering. Few retailers know what these connections are. Figuring out what to do is not easy, but it’s not really that difficult. Many retailers just continue to deny the reality of social media and refuse to learn.

Closing the sale means infiltrating the customer’s path to purchase and creating a solid strategy to get to know the customer.

First, you must understand how customers are navigating that path and then designing the strategy. It may mean a revamping of your web site and adding a blog. One of the strategies that is continuing to grow is the distribution of content. According to B2B Content Marketers, last year articles reigned supreme, social media was reported to be the most popular content marketing tactic with an adoption rate of 87%.

Whatever you learn about the customer’s buyiing path, adapt it to your particular store. You may have to clear your own path but   those who embrace the journey are more likely to gain a competitive advantage. I’ve given you a link to competitive marketing online strategies. Once everyone knows how to infiltrate the customers’ path to purchase, then you’ve got to start at the beginning.  All things being equal the determining factor often comes down to price. If you’re smart, you will try to gain that competitive advantage over those who have their head in the sand.

No matter how you do it, Google has one suggestion.  Wherever you decide to go, show up with the right content. You need to know what your customers are reading and what they want to see. Are they just looking at floor covering products? I would say it hasn’t changed over the years. They want to experience the product. They want to see it installed in someone’s home and get the “consumer’s advice.” What’s changed is the consumer is the new expert? For more ideas on this topic, go to the Google ZMOT Handbook.

We’re been talking about this for years haven’t we? Still many retailers say they don’t have time for pictures and getting testimonials. Those who do will find themselves on Angie’s list with the referrals.

I feel like we’re going backwards to where we were years ago.  Show the customer how the product will look in someone’s home. Now we can post the photo along with the dialog on social media, and the consumer can engage with the home owner about the process.

If you’ve done a great job, you’re likely on your way to a new referral.

Lisbeth Calandrino helps businesses build loyal customer relations through customer service and sales training. To book her to speak at your business, she can be reached at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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