Do people still buy from people?

In the digital revolution, fewer transactions happen face-to-face. People can now order everything from groceries to a new BMW on-line. If this hasn’t hit your market yet, it will. However complex the product, however established the channel, however well protected you feel, there is no safety in tradition. An entrant, a technology, an invention as yet unseen or unheralded is only a light-bulb moment and investment away.

So what’s to be done?

Perhaps it’s best to revert to some old truisms. And reflect that even where there is no ‘human in the loop’, as a species we still crave successful relationships and interactions. Just because we cannot buy from a person, doesn’t mean we don’t value the personality we’re buying from. We still expect a relationship – a brand relationship. And the best of these are founded on the principles that apply universally.

As a seller, you must first, get to know the other party. Engage with them the way they prefer. Present them with relevance and interest. Don’t drive a one-way promotional conversation. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. What matters to them? How can you make them feel special?

“How can you make customers feel special?”

Next make sure to apply the most important skill in the sale armoury – listen. Create a dialogue based on feedback. What does the customer respond to? What do their words tell you and do their behaviours support their sentiment? Check what they say, then check the data.

And finally, seek satisfaction. Don’t just ask for a rating. Ask for meaningful feedback that can be used to improve the relationship. Remember the other old truism – happy customers buy more. Unhappy ones tend to tell everyone but you.

“Happy customers buy more.”

Yes, the technology afforded to us is overwhelming. Yes our customers are now more remote from us than ever. But remember the basics of successful selling and you’ll still outperform the masses.