This is so obvious that it shouldn't merit a full blog post.
Sadly, though, it requires a blog post because this offense is repeated over and over again by sellers. Buyers notice and are bothered greatly by it. Yet sellers persist, not fully aware of the negative impact.
I remember reading a study once that blew my mind. Not because the findings were surprising but because they were so unsurprising that I couldn't believe anyone commissioned the study. The conclusion was this: people who spend a day at the beach report feeling more relaxed at the end of the day.
The finding I'm about to share with you, from a Qualtrics Panel Survey of 530 B2B buyers done in partnership with Santa Clara University, may elicit the very same kind of "duh!" reaction.
A Positive Customer Experience Is about What You Don't Do as Much as What You Do
In the research with B2B buyers, we asked about 30 specific behaviors. Our aim was to find out whether those 30 behaviors would cause buyers to:
- be more likely to meet with sellers who exhibited them
- be more likely to buy from sellers who exhibited them
The answer to both questions was an unequivocal "yes" from B2B buyers. In the open response comments, some interesting additions emerged.
Buyers, without being asked or prompted, felt compelled to share what sellers should NOT do. They were very clear in expressing their displeasure about certain behaviors they did not want to see sellers exhibiting.
Here's How You Can Deliver a Positive Customer Experience
The outcome of exhibiting the "right" behaviors and abandoning the "wrong" behaviors is value creation, according to these buyers.
A positive customer experience creates and builds value. It differentiates the seller who delivers it. It causes buyers to trust and engage more with the seller and, ultimately, to buy from that seller and refer others to do the same.
To deliver a positive customer experience, sellers needs to step into the role of leaders. Not managers, but leaders who guide their buyers. Leaders who exhibit 30 specific behaviors more frequently than others. The Stop Selling & Start Leading® movement provides a blueprint of behaviors that make this kind of difference.
Here's the kicker. It's also important NOT to do certain things. They include:
- Being distracted instead of giving your buyer your full attention.
- Failing to follow through on promises made.
- Rushing through a needs assessment or proposal delivery.
- Glossing over objections or buyer questions.
- Missing key information provided by the buyer.
What these five negative behaviors have in common is that they all signal a lack of seller focus.
Buyers notice when they don't get your full attention. They draw conclusions from your actions. Comments from buyers include:
"She's obviously too busy to handle any additional business."
"If I can't even get his attention now, what will happen when I really need it to resolve an issue? This relationship feels too risky."
"I'm just a wallet to him."
To create a positive, meaningful, connecting customer experience, you have to clear your mind and focus 100% on the buyer you're talking to.
Buyers will not trust you if you treat them as if they are unimportant, uninteresting or unworthy or your attention.
This includes buyers you are meeting with by phone. They can tell when you're doing other work or "multi-tasking." You're not fooling anyone.
A Positive Customer Experience Leads to Improved Sales Outcomes
Sellers who create value make more sales.
Sellers who diminish value by allowing distractions to interfere make fewer sales.
It doesn't get any simpler than that.
You can make different choices about how you prioritize and dedicate your time and attention to your buyers. Don't buy in to the myth of multi-tasking or the hurry up urgency that makes you appear unavailable and untrustworthy.
The Stop Selling & Start Leading® movement provides additional behaviors that rank favorably with buyers. But before you make these modifications, start with the simplest of choices. Focus first on your buyers.
Next Steps to Create a Positive Experience for Buyers and to Join the Stop Selling & Start Leading® Movement:
Read the book that shows you how to build trust and engage buyers so you can create this kind of experience. (Named one of "The 20 Most Highly-Reviewed Sales Books of All Time" by HubSpot!)
The award-winning CONNECT2Sell Blog is for professional sellers who believe, as we do, that Every Sale Starts with a Connection. Our 2017 emphasis will be on reporting buyer-side research and how sellers can connect with buyers and sell more effectively by adopting the behaviors of leaders. The Stop Selling & Start Leading® movement is all about the future state of sales and your success as a Sales Professional.
Deb Calvert is President of People First Productivity Solutions, a UC Berkeley instructor, and a former Sales/Training Director of a Fortune 500 media company. She speaks and writes about the Stop Selling & Start Leading® movement and offers sales training, coaching and consulting as well as leadership development programs. She is certified as an executive and sales coach by the ICF and is a Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge®. Deb has worked in every sector and in 14 countries to build leadership capacity, team effectiveness and sales productivity with a “people first” approach. Her bestselling book “DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected” has been named by HubSpot as one of "The 20 Most Highly-Rated Sales Books of All Time."