Consumer Behavior Best Practices: Comfort your customers – do not confuse them.
Respect and Consistently Comfort your Customers
Comfortable Consumers Open Up (their wallets)
Treat each customer as an individual. Comfort the customers – do not confuse them. I can tell you what is NOT in it for the customer with regards to benefits and that is discomfort.
If the customer you are serving has a high tension based need to be right; then let them save face and be right and respectfully agree to move past a single problem. Allowing a customer to feel in control solves half of the battle – answer their questions slowly and with your original flair, with sincerity and you will reap rewards in the long run. The bottom line is that a testy customer can become your most profitable; if you follow the principals of consumer behavior. As far as the common sense consumer behavior – the 80/20 Pareto Principal is very much time tested. Much of the information customers will ask you or want to be demonstrated will be trivial. They want to feel in control. They want to look smart. They want to make sure you know they are asking hard questions. Realize that only 20% of your efforts are actually making the sale. How you answer may be more important that what you actually said.
Comfort Fit – Just like the name brand clothing label states “comfort fit,” and provides a custom size allowing product differentiation. This is found through various segments of the clothing and apparel market - you need to custom comfort fit your customers. Not everyone is receptive to a high speed talking sales rep. Some customers want to look at full color glossy catalogs and take notes and put on a poker face. You as a master consumer behavior warrior need to discern what comforts your customer, and quickly adapt. This is not hard. Do they show signs that a perfect match would be a “slim fit, baggy fit or athletic fit?” At Verizon Wireless, I never talked about cell phones up front with my customers. I would talk about their sports teams, music tastes, college and career, or topics that matched their clothing. It was easy to talk to my comfort fit and plus sized customers because I could relate to being overweight. When you master making your customers feel special, unique and provide them with what they feel is needed – a sale is already in progress.
WIIFM – What’s in it for me? This is indeed the basis for us as consumers who make many daily decisions. What one compelling reason is there for me to buy from you today? Consumers will only listen to WIIFM. They will tune YOU out unless you are able to make a connection that brings an instant benefit to them. Consumers will tune you out and choose to listen to what is in it for them. They listen to their inner voice, their nagging wife’s snickering, their frustration of the cellphone companies that always screw up their bill each month, etc. Selling to individuals in a retail business is all about the needs and benefits that your customers want. They don’t care about you, your awards or how slick you are. It is all about them. Consumers will behave and choose to buy or not buy based on the factor of what they get as a benefit. Consumer Behavior only listens to WIIFM.
A buying decision happens when one compelling reason needed to acquire what you are selling is now more valuable than their money. You've done it! You sold them a benefit!
This humble revelation might not sound too original or provocative; however it is forgotten and diluted with the bombardment of policy structures, constant advertising emphasizing competitive advantages and core competencies, and managers worrying about quotas. A successful salesperson always listens to the customers tell their stories.
Finally add some ZEST to your sales presentation. Do not be a robot. Promote your Zest, and original flair. Draw a cult like following. Make your customers insiders, not outsiders. Never keep them in the dark. Realize that you must never never never make your customer feel stupid.
Consumers will believe what they want to believe. The application of the McDonald's systems creates disconnect. Be consistent and utilize systems to be efficient but always allow common sense and respect to override. A good customer service professional conveys a sincere feeling that they are glad to help today attitude. This customer will now be more likely to behave how we want them to, to buy!
Envision your customers are in the sales showroom floor right now jumping up and down screaming Me Me Me Me. Please tune into their calls for attention for their needs. Nothing else matters. Only them. You will be tackling a radical approach to consumer behavior by simply implementing a laser beam focus of what your customer sees that is – in his eyes – more valuable than his money. When on the sales floor, tune into what your customer sees as what’s in it for him.
In conclusion -
Consumer behavior allows us to discern patterns that prospects and customers make prior to their purchase. After watching and learning their behaviors, we can conclude actionable information – stuff to be on the lookout for when the next set of customers arrive. We can develop best practices for future use. I find good old fashion respect mixed with the bottom line of "What's in it For Me," presented in a lively manner most effective.