REALITY: While your customers were away, online has officially taken over. It's the new showroom and comparison shopper. You can chat, or phone in a heartbeat. You can see every option and some you never knew existed. It's fast, it's accurate, and anyone can choose anything, any time of the day or night.
Here are some examples of "different" on the business side. Car dealerships, stock brokerages, insurance companies, banks, homebuilders, commercial real estate agents, residential real estate agents, and mortgage lenders have all revised and restructured their business - and that's the short list.
And the customer is different too. Way different.
Let me give you the details of what the new customer (both business and consumer) looks like: (NOTE: I'm using "he" but I also mean "she.")
* He's angry about the value of his home, and the value of his investments.
* He will not be doing business the same way it's been done before.
* He will not be banking the same way he banked before.
* He will not be advertising the same way he advertised before.
* He will not be buying a car the same way he did before.
* He will not be buying a home the same way he did before.
* He will not be investing the same way he did before.
* He's online. Checking out your website - and your competitor's website.
* He's socializing. Telling everyone what's happening in his world and the world.
* He's Tweeting, Facebooking, and Linked-In-ing. Social media is still a firestorm.
* He's blogging about his experiences with you, for the world to read.
* He's YouTubing about his experiences with you for the world to watch - by the millions (any questions United Airlines?).
* He's Googling, not yellow-paging.
* He's texting. A lot.
* He's using his mobile device to do damn near everything.
* He's WiFi-ing in his hotel room, on the plane, in Starbucks, and at home.
* IF he's reading a paper, or getting the news, it's online.
* He's as likely to watch The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, or listen to Howard Stern for news as he is to watch a network "news" person read a tele-prompter.
* He's purchasing after midnight. By the billions.
* He's looking for ease of doing business with you.
* He is value oriented, but will look to price as part of the decision.
* He wants a relationship.
* He wants, needs, and expects GREAT service after the sale.
* He does not want to wait for anything or anyone.
* He needs help and expert advice.
* He's looking for ideas and answers.
* He can check your price and your facts in two seconds or less on Google.
* He knows as much about your product as you do.
* He knows MORE about your competitor's product than you do.
* He can pay right now IF you can take a credit card online.
* He expects someone to answer the phone when he calls that can actually HELP.
* He is SICK of off-shore call centers, erroneously called "help desks."
* He is SICK of you telling him how important his call is while he stands on hold.
* He is SICK of your recorded hold message.
* He demands the truth. All the time.
* He no longer trusts the institutions he used to hold sacred.
* He expects you to be as computer literate as he is.
* He needs to be understood and feel your sincere concern.
* While you are qualifying him, he is qualifying you.
* If he needs a referral or recommendation, he'll go to Craig's list or Angie's list or Google or his next door neighbor, or anyone else but you...UNLESS you have video testimonials online.
As you're thinking about (and making excuses about) these statements, you better be thinking about your answers and responses to them. And you better be making the strategic decisions and game plans to make them happen.
The economy is coming back - BUT NOT TO THE WAY IT WAS. Don't take my word for it. Ask any daily newspaper.
After reviewing these statements, ask yourself this BIG question: Will your new customer buy from you, or your competition?" (Jefferey Gitomer)