The 21st C customer affects your selling in insidious ways. In fact, he just won’t tell you this, but he really doesn’t need you. Truth is, he doesn’t trust you. Let me explain. As the seller at the stall at Kenyatta Market went on and on about the virtues of the Kailas rucksack, the prospect was busy checking it out online on his phone.
What were the reviews on Amazon? What were the comments on Facebook (and YouTube and Quora)? And what else did bottomless repository Google have to say about the Kailas rucksack? Which of the two do you suppose the buyer went with to determine whether to buy the rucksack or not? I can tell you with certainty that it wasn’t the seller’s pitch. I know because I was the buyer. This is a typical of characteristics of the 21stC customer. They trust what other customers say. Not you, the seller.
How the attitudes of the 21st C customer affects selling
The attitudes of 21st C customer are far flung from those of the last century’s. Then, the buyer was resigned to fate. He didn’t hold the salesperson in high regard but alas, as the Waswahili say, Baniani mbaya kiatu chake dawa. He may not have liked the salesperson but needed his information. At best the buyer’s feeling towards the seller was that of tolerance. Then the 21st C rolled in and the internet equalised the balance of power.
Now, I find myself asking my niece that is in campus, “What value is it adding to your knowledge when you are given an assignment to discuss the charisma of Adolf Hitler when a Google search will likely show you someone that has already done this paper?” And she agrees: “In fact”, she tells me, “Google Scholar has it.” Now the lecturer of last century knew and the student didn’t. This century, it’s Google Scholar that knows and both have equal access to it.
This doesn’t mean the 21st C teacher (seller) is unnecessary; it just means that he must reinvent himself to remain relevant. He can’t for instance, regurgitate his notes year in, year out, as many lecturers did during my time. However, instead of telling us about Vasco da Gama’s ‘discovery’ of Malindi in 1492 (I think it was, confirm with Google) he can use Vasco da Gama’s exploit’s to discuss risk taking!
Empower sales people to cope
This therefore brings about the importance of empowering customer service providers. That’s you, the seller. Seeing as customers are no more relying on sales to know about your products or services, and that they expect the stellar service they see online from you, what to do? Instead of restaurant or bar owners, for instance, penalising waiters for ‘errors’ by customers, they should empower them instead. ‘I asked for a warm not cold beer. I don’t care if it’s open. Return it.’ Imagine how the empowered waiter would feel to know he can make up to 3 such mistakes every night un-penalized. And more importantly, how much the business would benefit for being the go-to place where customers feel felt.
How is the 21st C customer affecting your selling?
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