In the history of sales transactions, there has never been a more complicated time: information is cheap (and, in many cases, free), making it easier to gather data to understand all aspects of a purchase, leaving organizations scrambling to keep pace with an ever-more knowledgeable buyer. The truth is that for the first time, consumers are in the driver’s seat of almost any sales transaction because they have access to more information and choices than ever before. Because of this, complicated buying decisions are now made in real time, and it’s up to selling organizations to keep customer friction points to a minimum.
This fact puts all industries in the same boat – you’re not in the business of selling things; you’re in the business of helping people buy things. The best way to help your clients buy your product or service is by exterminating the friction points in your sales process. In a competitive marketplace, there are simply too many alternatives available should your client encounter resistance to getting what they want. The fact is friction sabotages the customer experience.
In every buying process, there are subtle friction points on the purchasing journey, and the easiest way to kill that friction is to think like the consumer. Providing a purchasing journey that is as close to frictionless as possible depends on your ability to relate, empathize, and understand what your client needs in order to make their purchase.
In sales, we often wax poetic about the sales funnel and where prospects are at any given point along their individual purchasing pilgrimage. One thing that most in sales forget, however, is that the rules of gravity don’t apply to the sale funnel, which means there’s no guarantee that a prospect will ever make their way to the bottom. The only way to keep a prospect moving through their purchasing journey and increase their chances of making it to the bottom is to eradicate friction.
To neutralize the friction along the client purchasing journey, you have to think like the customer in these specific areas:
- Content – Your website, blog, social media, and other marketing avenues require great content to generate leads and convert sales. In other words, supply prospects and clients with the knowledge it takes to make a purchasing decision. Your content – beginning with your website – should communicate exactly what your customers want to know in the most distilled form possible.
- Customer Experience – A brand is no longer what we tell consumers it is – it’s what consumers tell each other it is. Every single client touch point should fulfill your brand promise to drive a positive customer experience that people are willing to pay for again and again.
- Reach – Because they are portable and used in various settings, promotional products consistently expand your brand’s reach. In fact, a well-planned and effective piece of branded merchandise becomes a walking billboard for your organization – and will be for months, if not years.
- People – Salespeople and support staff often neglect to see the importance of eliminating friction from the client’s perspective. Ensure that you remind your team at every level to approach each client interaction with empathy as if they were making the purchasing decision themselves.
- Trust – The simple reality is that strong, trusting relationships with current and, most importantly, repeat clients destroy friction. A lack of trust is one of the most prominent friction points – and the most difficult to overcome. Relationships that are nurtured instill trust, which gives clients the necessary belief that the purchasing decision they are about to make is the right one.
The post-pandemic era is a complicated time, and businesses that are either unwilling or unable to adapt their models to reflect this client-dictated sales process won’t be around in two years. If you think we are exaggerating, simply look at the past for companies that didn’t adapt: why didn’t the Yellow Pages come up with Google, why didn’t taxi companies develop Uber, or why didn’t Blockbuster Video conceive Netflix? These companies (and many like them) failed simply because they got stuck in their traditional way of approaching the customer experience, and they didn’t consider the world from the viewpoint of their clients. As such, they could not empathize with their clients and, therefore, couldn’t recognize the friction points, much less eliminate them.
At Payden & Company, we take the time to help understand your purchasing journey through the eyes of your target audience to help you eliminate friction and provide an experience that matters. Just like the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, the quickest way to escort your client through their purchasing journey is by eliminating your friction points.