To set the stage, let’s begin with something you’ve done before. You walk into the store to look around. All you’re doing is killing some time and checking on possibly getting a bargain. Until a store clerk comes and speaks to you. The store clerk asks if you need any help, but you explain that you’re just looking. You don’t plan on purchasing anything. Again, your goal is to peruse the store and look at the prices.
As a business, it’s no different a B2B (aka, business to business) consumer. Everybody wants to look at the prices to see whether or not they’re getting a good deal. As my mom would always say, “you get what you pay for.” We all want a bargain, and no one wants to overpay.
In this case, as a small business owner being shopped by other businesses, you’re being asked the questions. Sometimes, the consumer isn’t forthright in telling you that you’re being shopped. This can be one of the biggest frustrations and time-burglars. We all have different experiences so we approach it with our own interests in mind.
Without knowing all the details, an engaging conversation and interaction are promising. The consumer is excited. You’re excited. We’re all excited, but the expectations of the buyer and seller is different. When the seller realizes the potential buyer is not ready to move forward there’s a feeling of disappointment.
Know When You’re Being Shopped
When you and or your organization is being shopped, it’s not the best feeling. However, it’s not abnormal. As any good steward of their finances, this is a wise move. I suggest everyone to do their research before they make a purchase. Don’t leap before you look.
Being shopped is inevitable. This is where you need to learn to either implement the push or the pull strategy for your marketing. This isn’t a tug-of-war competition. The push and pull strategy is how you intentionally promote yourself by using operational efficiencies. Creating a marketing campaign will help determine what’s best for your business.
The PUSH STRATEGY is all about putting the product in front of the consumer.
The PULL STRATEGY is to allure the consumer and bring them in.
For example, think of it being at the supermarket (this example is of WINCO). The supermarket’s goal is a push strategy. Put everything out there and sell. The shopper doesn’t have to do anything to figure it out. Grab and go. Some items are on the shopping list. Other items will be bought out of impulse.
The Impulse Seller
A huge mistake for new small business owners is to throw everything at their prospective consumer including the kitchen sink, and wonder why their products or services aren’t selling. The same issue can be seen for salespeople that don’t know how to sell. Both sellers believe their product is a must-have item. Unfortunately, this what I call the Impulse Seller.
The best way to explain the Impulse Seller is to describe their first 10 seconds. They’re basically asking for your method of payment while you (the shopper) is inquiring on the details. Within 30 seconds, the Impulse Seller has determined you’re buying the product/service without asking you if you’re interested. Their approach has elements, such as:
- Looking at you as if he or she is staring right through you
- Making statements of “You definitely want this because …”
- In your personal space without asking for permission
- Joking with you as you’re long lost friends
- Using your WHY to guilt you into buying it
- Hurrying you to make the purchasing decision
The prospective buyer walks away feeling icky because the seller made it transactional rather than relational. This is a typical mistake with an eager salesperson, or one who doesn’t care about the buyer having “buyer’s remorse.” It’s all about the money.
Businesses Being Shopped
Every business owner, entrepreneur or operator worth their salt knows their business will get shopped. This is all part of running the business. If you and your business are being shopped, think of it as a compliment. You’re a contender. People are asking questions and learning because you’re being considered.
While your business is being considered, don’t oversell. Build the relationship. The transaction will come if it’s a good fit for both parties. Since we live in a world full of options, develop a business strategy to make you and your company the best option for the job, project, donation or sale.
Once you become that option, close the deal and over deliver with your greatness.
I write this because my business is personal because this service is for the advancement of all humanity. My failures and successes are for your gain. No strings attached.
Nathan A. Webster, MBA
NW & Associates – Consulting | Social Media | Web Design