Trust Tops the New Rules of Customer Engagement

As I mentioned above, 90 percent of buyers trust a network referral. Leaving us as businesses to ask, who represents the network and how do I gain the support of those influencers to evangelize my business.
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Imagine a world where you never have to sell anything...

Everyday the ideal number of clients with perfectly aligned needs to what you have to offer would just walk through the door and shout out "I'll take it!"

Could business get any better?

What if I told you that this is already happening? Albeit it isn't quite so simple and the customers aren't really just arriving sight unseen ready to buy whatever it is you are selling, but it is happening.

Leaving us all to ask, how?

Suppose it is Jan. 2nd 2014, picture yourself waking up and deciding it's a new year and it is time for a new car.

What is the first thing that you do?

Do you hop in your old car and drive over to the local dealership?

Perhaps you pick up the newspaper and see what special savings are being offered?

I suppose you could do either of those things, but if you were like the vast majority of people today you would do neither.

What you would most likely do is take your iPad off the charger, head over to your sofa, put your feet up on the ottoman and start surfing.

You would find your way through the car review sites, perhaps drop in to the manufacturer sites to see if they have any special offers and incentives and then finally you might pop onto Facebook to ask for your friends opinions on the car(s) that you have put on your short list.

Once you have your research done you have now determined the following

  • Which car you want
  • What features you would like it to have
  • How much your exact car should cost MSRP and invoice
  • The target buy price from Edmunds
  • An exact estimate of what your trade-in should be worth via Kelly Blue Book.
  • You're up to the minute credit score from Experian
  • The desired interest rate and term of loan based on your credit score.

Once you knew all of this

  • You applied for a car loan on a competitive lending site and received multiple offers.
  • Finally you walked into the dealership with a printout in hand of the vehicle you want, the value of your trade, the price, interest rate and a pre-approved letter of credit and said to the salesman..."Bring my new car around"

Wow! What just happened?

Essentially you walked in to the dealership and bought what they had to offer for the price that they wanted to sell it for and you are going home happy. Like magic, only it isn't.

What you just experienced is the new way of doing business. New rules, new engagement.

Only now, these rules are impacting everything, not only how we as consumers buy things personally, but how businesses consume as well.

B2B, B2C, P2P, it doesn't matter, we are all consumers looking to buy in a new economy. An informed economy and it is scary, exciting and one heck of an opportunity for businesses to prosper.

Let's Look at The Numbers Behind The Change

If I had you guess how many information sources, on average that a buyer engages with prior to making a purchase what would you guess?

Would you say two or three or perhaps four or five?

What if I told you the number were 11.4?

In a study performed by Google (zero moment of truth), they found that buyers on average engage with more than 11 pieces of content prior to making a purchase decision and according to a study by Forrester Research that number has doubled year over year in each of 2012 and 2013.

Furthermore, we have entered a day where consumers don't trust advertising.

Although we are now exposed to over 5,000 advertisements per day, the consumer really doesn't trust advertisements.

Instead the new consumer seeks to make purchase decisions through word of mouth and brand engagement via social platforms and native advertising (content marketing).

In fact, 90 percent of consumers trust a recommendation from their network and 81 percent of those go online to get those recommendations. On the other hand there isn't a single type of advertising that consumers trust at a rate of greater than 50 percent with many forms of advertising being trusted at rates in the 20-30 percent range.

Bottom line, not only is the way we are consuming changing, but our reference points are evolving rapidly and trust is proving to be a precious commodity.

What Is The Return On Trust?

If I were a business and I knew by gaining the support of a key group of influencers that we could achieve greater success in word-of-mouth marketing would I make gaining their support a priority?

You are darn right I would!

As I mentioned above, 90 percent of buyers trust a network referral. Leaving us as businesses to ask, who represents the network and how do I gain the support of those influencers to evangelize my business.

What is crazy is that even though 98 percent of business owners say that word of mouth is their lead driver of new business, only 3 percent of businesses have a strategy to capitalize on this.

In short what this means is that most businesses simply aren't pursuing the support of the brand influencer.

Begging the question why?

Why go through the heavy lifting of building trust one by one when you can build a virtual army of ambassadors to support your brand?

Is it too hard?

Perhaps you don't know where to start?

What if I told you that this group of loyal supporters is right in front of you? They are those already buying from you and those that have worked with you in the past whom had good experiences. While they may not be able to bring you all the business you can dream of, they can each bring one or a few who bring a few and suddenly...

You have arrived.

In the new economy this is all possible. Building a business where clients are banging on the door because they want to work with you.

It may seem difficult or impossible, but it isn't.

We are in a new economy with new rules that favor not those who have done it longer or spent more money, but those that know what their customers need and how to deliver it to their satisfaction.

Are you ready for what is next? Welcome to the new rules of customer engagement where trust and customer experience come first.

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