Is there anything more irritating than an "in your face" Chat Now pop-up on arrival at a website?
Is your website so bad…? Are you so afraid I might try and self-serve…? Or perhaps you’re on commission and making my life a misery is the best way you can earn a crust.
Get lost. Thank God – at least I can get rid of you. Click [X]. Good bye! Now where was I…?
Why do vendors do it?
Why? WHY?! Do you really think I want to converse with someone in a different country, who knows nothing about my situation or the product I am trying to buy, who knows nothing about me, and can’t even be bothered to give me their full attention?
Not likely! So why do you do it?
The answer is pretty simple I believe – to gain influence at the point of purchase. But before you influence you must engage. It needs to be subtle and appropriate.
If you want to engage – personalise
And I don’t mean:
Hello Joe, ten million other people also bought…
Hi Joe, I can see you have been looking at our machines for a few minutes now, and you might have visited yesterday. I’m a bit of an expert and can probably help. Do you mind telling me a bit about what you want it for and maybe I can give you a hand?
That feels so different. Patient and respectful. Personal and contextually aware. Who, what, how long…etc. Exactly the sort of approach a real world account manager would take.
With personalisation the chance of engagement is greatly enhanced. Then all you have to do is to use the "permission to engage" that you have been granted effectively.
Ditch selection and give advice
Selectors are a one way dialogue. You get bombarded with questions – and you are expected to know the answers! What if you don’t know or have to guestimate? And what if you have your own questions? That’s where dialogue comes in.
Advice is an interactive process. Both sides trade information to reach a clear understanding of what is really important. You can discuss what might be a better alternative.
Show expertise. Illustrate what you are offering. Connect the benefit to the need.
Build a relationship
A dialogue based advisory approach achieves a better transactional result for both seller and buyer plus it builds a relationship. The repeat nature of many B2B supply arrangements mean over time trust can be established, a strong customer experience made the norm, a competitive position secured.
And don’t forget the niceties around the edge – birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.
Sounding a lot like account management online?
That because it is. To be informed enough to engage and to be able to discuss requirements and know the products and customer well enough to make a recommendation begins to sound like a real world account manager. Add the extensive product knowledge and best sales practice plus the ability to promote new products and services and package this into software delivered as part of the online purchasing experience.