Create and keep your customer

Create and keep your customer

We are all sales people. We spend large portions of our time trying to coax others to part with resources whether tangible or intangible. Parallel to that, we are also all buyers, and the common denominator amongst us shoppers is the fact that there is a multitude of subconscious forces that motivate us to buy. If you were asked why you use a specific brand of toothpaste, lotion or shampoo, or why you wear Diesel jeans instead of Ralph Lauren ones ; the truth is you probably wouldn’t exactly consciously know why, other than the fact you “like” it for a number of reasons. However, what really motivates us to make these purchases sits in the subconscious part of our brain. Physiology and psychology are central to buying as well as selling and it has been so since the dawn of time. Yet in a world where 1 in every 9 jobs is direct selling, and a staggering 8 in 9 jobs involve influencing others, only a tiny percentage of people consider the emotional aspect of selling. In effect, we have been taught over and over again to leave “emotions” out of business, even though it has been scientifically proven that it is impossible to leave “emotions” at the door when it comes to any interaction between people.

Since the inception of trading thousands of years ago, it has always been mission-critical for the seller to influence the behaviour of the buyer. It all boils down to lining up a correct sequence of actions that incrementally lead to closing a deal. This was as true for a merchant spice seller as it is true for the online spice seller today. That sequence of actions looks something like this:

  1. To spot the right prospect from a crowded marketplace.
  2. To capture the attention of the prospect set against competition.
  3. To present the products in a way that appeal to the emotions of the prospect.
  4. To present the rational value that validates those emotions.
  5. To close the deal

If we take J.R.R Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” as an analogy to this sequence, the resemblance lies in the challenges that the “fellowship of the ring” face through rough terrain and increasingly difficult obstacles to overcome on their mission to destroy the “one ring”. Similarly, commercial antagonists trying to capture the attention of the buyer, must get past all of the customer’s brain filters in order to reach the YES decision.

In today’s reality,  the task of selling is deeply impacted by the following 3 tidal changes:

  1. The global financial meltdown of 2010 – 2015. This has triggered a deep rooted fear in the minds of buyers.
  2. The generational shift. The market (B2B and B2C) which is now predominantly composed of millennials.
  3. The Internet of Things. As data increases and grows, the relationship between marketers and consumer will deepen.

There is an intricate interplay between the above 3 factors that is reshaping global purchasing habits. A vast majority of organisations today are having their work cut out in trying to reconcile their go-to-market strategies with the mutated consumer behaviour. As a result, many commercial executives are blindly following popular trends without factoring in the great insights about the workings of the consumer mind, made available by recent neuroscience advancements. They are too caught up in making sense of the changes and complexity that they have become totally blind as to what moves the customer at an emotional level. A great many have lost track of what the true mission is, somewhere along the road they have become tangled in data, analytics and trying to make the old assumptions fit into a new reality. The new business buzzwords and hot topics such as customer centricity, employee engagement and customer experience are testimony to that.

“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” Peter Drucker. These words will remain true for as long as business exists, regardless of whether you are selling online, face to face, B2B or B2C, the customer will always be a thinking and feeling person. Consequently, every commercial executive, or anyone who seeks to influence others for that matter, has a duty of care to make sure that they understand the basic principles that govern human behaviour both at a physiological and psychological level. To deeply understand why a consumer might choose your brand over another or vice versa, you should be able to answer a few basic questions:

  • What is the difference between habits and behaviours?
  • What is the relationship between brand loyalty and dopamine?
  • What is the impact of rejection on the amygdala?
  • How do emotions influence decision making?
  • How are memories formed?

Being able to understand and confidently engage with a consumer on a deeper level will take time for marketing and sales professionals, but the information is all there, you just need to focus on understanding the mind of your customer: and that is how you will create and keep him.