But in many cases that process raises more questions than it answers: What features should they be most concerned with? What’s a particular vendor’s support going to be like? Will the value they get from a service or product be worth the extra expense?
Are today’s commercial insurance buyers under-informed, or are their heads swimming in a sea of details and assertions that are hard to make sense of?
And perhaps most importantly, how can anyone really trust the source of the data and details?
This is the point where human interaction can make a world of difference.
You know those people who would rather ask for directions than consult a map or GPS? The great majority of direction seekers are not dyslexic fools who don’t “trust” maps or technology. People are seeking clarity and verification. In our complex world, it takes more than diagrams and words on paper to help buyers feel right about making decisions.
How essential is the person-to-person human element in making sales happen?
In one study reported on Salesforce.com, person-to-person telephone contact clobbered email with an 8.21% response rate versus .03%.
It’s a serious mistake to overlook the value human interaction plays in providing guidance and assurance to help buyers clearly understand the variables and feel comfortable making informed decisions.
Clearly there’s a meaningful segment of food shoppers who value the care and knowledgeable attention they find shopping at a Whole Foods Market where staff can readily explain the culinary differences among different kinds of mushrooms and help them determine the best choice for that evening’s dinner recipe.
Then too, it’s real service over lip service when the check out folks consistently ask, “Did you find everything you need?” (And last week when I answered, “Oh, as a matter of fact, I forgot to get a lemon for the fish,” the cheerful young lady zipped right off and brought one back while they bagged the rest of the groceries.)
If you like your clients and customers, give them more than a thumbs-up. Of course, it’s good to acknowledge and appreciate your connections online, but it’s important to deepen those relationships in other ways that touch people emotionally.
Coaching or sponsoring the local softball team means something to the kids on the field and the parents in the stands. So does raising money for community needs through the local Rotary club, or supporting United Way.
And spending time with business clients so they understand and appreciate the options and advice you’re offering can make a profound difference in the way they feel about you and how they themselves value the relationship.