Buyers complete between 57% – 70% of purchase cycle before they call in the Seller. More complex the sale; more later seller is called in. This is the finding of CEB research supported by many other research.
Its is also estimated that buyers consume around 10 pieces of information on journey towards self education. Buyers journey is minus the seller wherein buyers develops into a formidable competitor. Where are buyers getting educated and what content are they consuming? In this post I will share few platforms where buyers educate and shape their purchasing behaviors. Let’s explore these platforms.
- RESEARCH REPORTS: Buyers want to find out what industry-experts are saying. And they consume White Papers, Infographics and ebooks published by expert organisations. Such as buyers in Information and technology domain subscribe to Research reports from IDC, Gartner and Forrester.
- EVENTS AND SEMINARS: Buyers attend industry events and seminars to listen to industry experts and also speak to vendors. Such as GITEX in Dubai for Information Technology domain. Or the recent Step Conference for the Startup eco-systems in Dubai.
- USERS COMMENTS ON WEBSITES: Buyers want to find out what are people similar to them purchasing and recommending? Such as Amaon.com will tell you that person who purchased Book XXXX also purchased Book YYYY. Site will capture readers’ comments that influence buyers purchasing behaviors.
- SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES: Buyers log onto social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and so on. And track what is being talked about the products and customer experiences. They consume content shared on the social networks to educate themselves.
- VIRTUAL SOCIAL NETWORKING GROUPS: They join industry groups ( LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups) and Quora to ask questions and listens to users experience of products and services.
- NETWORKING GROUPS: They join local Meetup groups to connect with people similar to them.
- INCUBATORS: The new trend in the Incubators (Startup ecosystem) is to arrange subject matter experts and share free information on industry topics. These are ideal platforms for Sellers to teach and buyers to consume information.
- YOUTUBE TUTORIALS: YouTube “HOW TO” tutorials and content of industry topics on global platforms are favorite among the buyers.
- WEBINARS & PODCAST: Buyers subscribe to free webinars/podcast to listen at their convenient time to educate themselves.
- PRODUCT RATING OR COMPARATIVE SITES: Buyers log on to special websites that provide analytics such as Zomato for restaurants.
- ONLINE LEARNING PLATFORMS: Buyers sign-up on Free or paid online learning platforms such as Coursera.org ; Lynda.com and educate themselves
- DISCUSSION OR CHAT ROOM: They visit discussion and chat room to track other people opinions.
- BLOGS: Buyers log onto to blogs or browse through posts shared on LinkedIn, Facebook and others by buyers like them.
- INBOUND MARKETING: Customers utilize free content available from great companies such as Hubspot/Marketo for sales and marketing and others. Such enterprises share free content in return for your email id thus shaping buyers behavior.
Hence simple outcome is your buyers are your formidable competitors now. By the time you get into his purchasing cycle he has made up his mind on the product, brand, specification and budgets. The only attribute he wants to negotiate is the Price. The smart seller has to do three things. Find the right platform to engage buyers; Get early into the buyers purchase cycle; Uneducate buyers to align buyer’s decision towards his product and services.
The first thing in uneducation is winning trust of the buyer. And trust is won by teaching buyers something New about their business challenges and then providing them with compelling reason to take action.