How often do you buy something from a company you don’t know?
Probably not very often, right?
Unless you have been recommended to them.
Last week I opened my email and found 5 emails from the same person had come in overnight. Each of them with a different subject line but basically trying to get me to open the email and no doubt buy something.
Of course I didn’t open any of them. Delete! Where’s the unsubscribe button?
I’d probably signed up to their list at some stage, but rather than engaging me with interesting value-based content, they are now bombarding me with sales emails. It feels so pushy. What a turnoff.
Mistake number 1: they have not taken the time to build my trust in their brand.
Mistake number 2: they have not thought about the experience I am having, receiving so many emails in one day.
No way am I ever going to buy from them. Even if they have the most convincing copy known to man.
That same day, I was looking at signing up for a social media planning platform. I’d already done a bit of research but was finding it hard to make a choice between them as they seemed to offer the same general features.
I asked my group for advice, and listened to their opinions about their experiences. One platform seemed to be the outstanding favourite, so I checked their website out and signed up even though it was more expensive than others.
Boom. They didn’t even know about me, had not spent a bean on advertising and yet I had become a customer.
What had they done right?
They built customer advocacy and trust in their brand through an amazing customer experience. Their brand reputation was enough to earn a sale.
Use your brand reputation to compete on value
When your customers recommend your business they pass on the trust you have earned to the new person. While it takes longer to build a brand reputation, the sales cycle is much shorter because the trust and perceived value is already there.
Let’s quickly recap on how a recommendation-based sale works:
- You have spent $0 marketing dollars to gain that lead.
- They are ready to buy without needing a sales pitch, or a nurture campaign
- They will pay a higher price for your services compared to your competitors because they believe you have a higher value to offer.
Now you aren’t competing on price, but on brand value.
What happens if you don’t have a strong brand reputation
Generally you will need to rely on marketing to gain new leads. The average click through rate these days is 0.2%. That’s a lot of people you need to get your brand in front of before someone decides to act.
They will need a lot of convincing to move them to a buying position so you put them into a nurture funnel. At this point they are comparing you and your competitors on PRICE.
A price based competition can work in the short term to get you a few customers, however you are doing yourself a disservice because you’re cutting into your profits. You also will have to work hard to get that customer up to your target price, and because you gave them a discount they will always expect that you can do it again.
To move them to a VALUE based buying decision (ie. happy to pay a premium) you need to implement multi stage funnels, building a relationship and trying to earn their trust – proving to them again and again that you are a good fit for them and you’re going to be the answer to their problem.
Sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it!
Much easier to focus on giving your customers an exceptional experience and have them bring sales to you.
These days there is so much choice out there for almost everything you could want to buy, so rather than wade through hours of research on companies they have no connection with, your prospects are reaching out to get a quick answer from someone they know who can recommend one that works for them.
The brands that stand out are those who have their customer experience right. Their brand experience strategy includes a multi-channel marketing and communications matrix to ensure they are consistent,speaking with one voice and delivering an exceptional experience at every touch point.