By Scott Seroka
If you’ve ever thought about it, your brand must jump through one helluva lot of hoops to make a sale.
If the buyer’s journey experience doesn’t feel quite right, you risk losing a prospect to a competitor.
I’m going to walk you through the buyer’s journey and shine some light on the brand touchpoints that influence a purchase or partnership decision. As I do, I want you to think through each of them and ask yourself if there could be any improvements made to your brand’s touchpoints.
So here we go.
It all begins when someone has a need or desire for what you sell. My first question for you is, how confident are you that your brand will be one of the first to come to mind? If you’re not sure, you’ll need to work on building brand awareness.
Let’s assume that your brand does come to mind. And hopefully, it does so in a positive light. If it doesn’t, you have some steep hills to climb. Consider doing a customer and channel partner brand audit to find out how your brand is perceived.
At this point, research begins, typically through an online search of your company name.
Go ahead and type your name into Google. What appears in the search results? A BBB rating? If so, what is it? Does a Glassdoor.com review appear at the top? Or is there an article about your company?
If Glassdoor appears, what’s your score? If you have at least a three-and-a-half out of an average five-star review, you’re in good shape. However, if it’s lower than three stars, it’s a sign of an unhealthy culture and possible high employee turnover, and that could spook a potential customer.
Next, you can also count on the fact that your prospective customer will probably search the names of companies you compete with to make some baseline comparisons. I encourage you to do the same.
Your brand will be compared to competing brands. If you place yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer, what kind of first impression do you believe your website gives? Think about the quality of your website in terms of content, ease of navigation, value propositions, and calls to action. Comparatively speaking, how impressed are you with your brand compared to others?
Are there testimonials posted on your website? Does your site clearly define and differentiate your brand and product’s competitive strengths?
In this research phase, it is also likely that your prospective customer will seek recommendations from others. So, here’s another question ─ does your brand come up in those conversations? And if so, what is being said?
Usually, at this point, your prospective customer will have a strong feeling about whether or not they want to take the next step by emailing or calling to speak with one of your people.
How quickly are emails and calls returned? How professional is the person who responds? Does he or she have excellent communication skills? Are your salespeople trained to listen well, understand needs, offer solutions, overcome objections, and make the potential buyer or partner confident?
Assuming there is good chemistry between you and your potential buyer or partner, price, terms, conditions, and negotiations will begin. How each is handled and communicated will undoubtedly influence a decision.
Hopefully, for you, your brand is selected. However, as you know, the sale not yet complete. Every move your company makes will be analyzed and scrutinized from this point forward to make sure you deliver upon the expectations you set during the pre-purchase stage of the sales cycle.
My own experience has taught me that many companies can convert prospects to clients, but not all of them can deliver a great brand experience. I’m sure you’ve experienced the same.
If your brand performs well, you will likely earn referrals and recommendations from your clients.
The burning question for you is this: Would you do business with your own company? Why, or why not?
Take some time to think this through, and also ask others in your company the same question. I promise it will be worth it.