In a tough economic environment, there are no new price elasticities. Dropping prices in tough times rarely leads to an increase in sales. That is being proven time and again, across all industries today. If anything, tough and uncertain economic times lead to even greater reluctance to trust price alone when making a buying decision.
Prospects and customers trust knowledge more than ever before. It carries more credibility than price.
What matters more than ever today is making sure your company’s unique strengths – its knowledge – is applied to customer needs more accurately, aggressively and efficiently than ever before. You can’t buy your way out of tough times with a price cut – don’t expect to bribe your customers to buy when they are getting squeezed by the economy as well.
What Customers Want – Your Knowledge
Let’s face it, your customers can go anywhere and get the price they want, yet what is most important to them – your knowledge of how to solve their problems – if much more difficult to find.
Now take that unmet need and multiply it across all the customers served, globally, that who rely on the Internet due to its always-on, 24/7 nature and one can readily see that guided selling applications are critical. From navigating through product catalogs to deciding which type of pet to adopt into a home, guided selling applications are every effective at translating a company’s expertise and applying it to the unmet needs of customers.
Why Guided Selling Works as a Competitive Strategy
Instead of forcing prospects and customers to interact with you through channels as you have defined them, guided selling opens up how flexible you are to do business with. Consider these key take-aways:
Capturing guided selling searches is the gateway to a great wealth of knowledge. Cisco actively captures every guided selling and product configuration sessions initiated by their resellers in an attempt to learn more. One heavy equipment manufacturer located in the Midwest U.S. does the same thing. Capturing guided selling and product configuration data quickly builds a vast repository of data that indicates customers’ preferences and their unmet needs. Think of guided selling as a means of studying how close you are to solving key customer problems today and what you need to improve on fro the future.
Saving your customers time is more critical than price right now. Your customers want to compete with more focused, intense strategies than ever before. Putting your company’s knowledge to work for them is the best competitive strategy right now, much more effective than relying on price alone.
Get your catalogs online and integrated them use guided selling to sell more. When I was at AMR Research and now at Cincom it is astounding how much broader our customers’ product breadth is, with only a small percentage of their products online. Opening up the total product set and making it possible for customers to create entirely new combinations is quite a bit of work – but worth it because it opens up entirely new markets too. Guided selling is the first step to selling more of products not even available online today.
Guide selling for launching new products works. Instead of just focusing on guided selling applications for selling convenient and commodity-like products, consider the fact that launching entirely new products takes an inordinate amount of education. Guided selling has been successfully used for educating customers on everything from the installation of car seats to the cost trade-offs in involved in planning computer networks.
Bottom line: Guided selling is an ideal online selling strategy during tough economic times. Taking the most critical asset you have, knowledge, and transforming it into immediate value for your prospects and customers – that is the one competitive strategy your competitors cannot touch if you do this aggressively and thoroughly.
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