78% of consumers believe that companies providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them
You work for a company that is considering buying widgets, not necessarily today, but you know that your ambitious growth plans mean that you will need widgets within the next 6-9 months. You check your email in the morning and (miraculously) have received just two emails. Both are from companies that you talked to at the recent world widget conference and gave your business card to because they had a goldfish bowl with “give us your business card for a chance to win champagne” written on it – you didn’t win the champagne, but you aren't bitter.
The first email (from Company A) is entitled: Widgets from £1999 per person; It’s colourful and flashy looking and the body text talks about a range of “must have” deals that are only available this week and finishes with “click now to avoid disappointment”
The second (Company B) has a subject line: Guide to savvy widget use and an interesting case study on widget adoption – the content is a series of short descriptions of interesting articles about widgets with corresponding links that take you through to the full articles on the “knowledge” section of their website. There is an option to sign up for their monthly newsletter which promises more useful articles and updates on widgets .
Click, click, click
So, assuming you are going to click one of the links on one of the emails, which will it be? This one is hard to predict – the age old tactics of price and time could persuade you to have a look at Company A’s offering, but you don’t necessarily want a widget today so it’s likely you will click and spend 30 seconds looking at the prices before getting on with your days’ work.
It’s far more likely that you will click on one of Company B’s links -perhaps the Widget adoption case study. When you do click, it’s likely that you will read the article and perhaps go on to read their Guide to savvy widget use. You are unlikely to buy a widget immediately but you have read a helpful article or two and will (in all likelihood) go back to the site and keep reading. If what you read is helpful you will probably sign up to the newsletter.
A one night stand or a relationship?
When it comes to the actual widget purchase, who are you more likely to choose? The company that want to pressure you with price and time, or the one that has consistently provided you with useful guides and information??
Buying from Company A feels like it might be a one night stand, they have wooed you with price, forced the issue with time and shown absolutely no interest in anything other than your cash – and they want it yesterday! This might work for low value consumer goods but it’s very unlikely to be effective for larger purchases.
Company B on the other hand, have provided helpful information throughout, they feel like they want to build a relationship with you and (importantly) have demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are credible and know what they are talking about. They have (figuratively) sent you flowers and chocolates on a regular basis without ever pressuring you and it really feels like they are in it for the long haul.
Widgets aside, no matter what industry you work in, buying behaviour has changed dramatically – by the time a customer actually contacts your sales or BD team they have already gone a long way to making their buying decision.
Customers want to know that you are credible, trustworthy, knowledgeable and committed. Drop the pressure sales tactics and make sure that you are providing the information that they need on a regular basis – make sure your website and communications with potential customers demonstrates your expertise and commitment to solving their problem via interesting and useful content. Build a relationship based on trust and credibility and you will have a customer for life.