I recently got engaged. In many cultures the man buys the woman an engagement ring to show a level of commitment.
When you are preparing to hand over multiple paychecks for something that fits in your pocket, you want to make the right decision— and I mean life decisions aside—you have to answer the question, is this ring really the right choice?
This is not dissimilar from most B2B transactions. Here are some of the common themes running through my head while making this purchase.
The Customer is Not an Expert
I was not an expert in diamonds; in fact, I realized I had spent very little time thinking about diamonds at all before this. I felt uncertain about who to trust, and did not even have a way to discern who was trustworthy in the first plaxe.
The Customer Might Not Be Ready to Buy Yet
If you’ve ever been to New York City’s Diamond District, you understand high pressure selling.
I ended up gravitating towards someone who treated me a little differently. He sat me down and said, “Listen, I bet you just started looking for a ring and you feel overwhelmed by all these guys on the street trying to get you to buy today. I can tell just by looking at you that you’re here to learn about the process. We’re not going to even talk about a transaction today. Let’s figure out what you know and what you don’t know.”
I was so relieved. Finally, someone understood what I was going through.
The Customer Can’t Visualize Conceptual Solutions
Many of the settings had no stone in them, but Mr Retail realized I wasn’t good at visualizing a final piece of jewelry based on separate components. So he asked me to get some photographs of rings that she wore and we looked at them together. We talked about the problems.
When the Checkbook Comes Out, It Gets Emotional
A wholesaler came in with a better price. But at the end of the day I had been sold and had built a relationship with a stranger that was stronger than someone I knew for years because he had respected my process and gave me confidence that I was making the right choice.
I vividly remember the final phase: I had two diamond dealers going back and forth with each other in a game of telephone, and I was caught in the middle. It really caused me a lot of angst, and I consider myself an above-average negotiator. The retail guy had won me over the entire way, but made a crucial mistake right as he approached the finish line, and roles instantly reversed. I no longer trusted
Now take a look back through this post. In case you didn’t notice, all the emotions I felt throughout the process were in italics. You can see it was a roller coaster. The same thing is happening to your customers. The job of a good sales and marketing approach is to anticipate all these various emotions, and address them with a sales or marketing tactic.