The End of Transactions – How to Build a Client Experience Model

icon-engageHow do you shift a culture that built its success on transactional selling to one that puts the customer’s business interests and needs first?  There are more companies today challenged by this question than you might think.  The window of time to make the shift from transaction to relationship marketing and selling is short, as customers look to brands that are able to anticipate their needs and bring forward innovative solutions and partnerships.

Creating a relationship-based approach to engaging customers continues to be a significant challenge for many companies and most of the difficulty lies in changing behavior and culture.  Marketers and sellers often ask us “how do I start a discussion with the client if I’m not bringing them something that I’m selling?  How will I get the meeting if I don’t have something to sell?”  Most b2b businesses welcome a discussion about business challenges, and many are looking for someone to help overcome the daily challenges and barriers they face.

Here are 3 tips on where to begin:

  1. Understand the business.  Most transactional sellers do not understand the top 3 business challenges facing their client’s business or how their client is prioritizing investments.  Most clients would welcome time to share that information with their sellers and brainstorm how to evolve their thinking.
  2. Incent change.  Find ways to recognize and incent the behavior changes.  Even if it is a small incentive—people are generally afraid of change because they are afraid to fail.  Take the opportunity to recognize small shifts that are happening and reward those shifts.
  3. Provide a roadmap.  Helping to breed confidence in this new world order is difficult.  Creating a roadmap or timeline for what sellers should do and when and even how, will help those sellers take the first and second steps.

The shift away from transactional selling is taking place in all industries.  Even retail stores that are very product sales focused are seeking ways to build online content engines that will engage customers before, during, and after purchase in an ongoing discussion and engagement with the company.  How is your company making this shift?

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