The age of information has redefined sales. The seller no longer holds all the cards, the buyer is now a major player. It’s a much fairer and more even playing field. But many companies are still using outdated techniques to sell their products online. In 2021, authenticity is key to establishing and maintaining a relationship with your customers. Let’s find out how.
The evolution of the buyer-seller relationship
Cast your mind back to 2006. Facebook was starting to gain traction outside of colleges and universities (who would’ve guessed Mark Zuckerberg would become a household name?), and Yelp (don’t forget Yelp) had only just allowed users to publicly share their reviews.
It marked the start of a new era of information sharing, empowering the consumer to directly influence public perception of a brand online.
At the time, few could imagine the extent to which social media and crowd-sourced reviews would affect how business was conducted. And yet here we are. Several major social media sites, millions of Google reviews, and one global pandemic later, the eCommerce landscape is unrecognizable.
When it comes to building your online reputation, it’s no longer enough to merely blow your own trumpet and expect people to trust you. There’s more competition, and more information widely available and easily accessible to your customers.
Did you know that…
81% of consumers conduct research before buying online,
93% say that online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.
Nowadays, to build and maintain customer relationships, you need to present your brand honestly, be as informative and transparent as possible about your products, and communicate with your customers whenever the opportunity arises. The catch-all term to encapsulate this approach is authenticity.
Build authenticity to sell products online
In life, authenticity is about…
- knowing yourself,
- having clear intentions,
- and interacting genuinely with others.
The same goes for business. Let’s take a look at these 3 aspects of authenticity and how they relate to business.
Know your business
If you fully understand your business, what it offers, and how it best serves your customers there’s no need to be anything other than authentic. The trick is to grasp exactly who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and how you do it better than your competitors. If you haven’t clearly defined your business in this way, then it’s a lot harder – or rather, impossible – to come across as authentic.
This vital step in branding business is often overlooked. As a result, the messaging is confused, customers are unsure what they’re buying and whether it’s for them, and what do they do? They seek out your competitor.
We know it’s tough to evaluate your own business in this way. Just like it’s hard to self-analyze our behaviours and personalities (am I an ISTJ or an ENFP?) It’s worth outsourcing to a team of professionals to analyze and diagnose the disconnect between your business and how it is communicated and portrayed. It’s the first and most crucial step in our service at jdp.
Be clear in your communication
When a brand’s messaging is unfocused, they may try and compensate by using jargon or complex language to demonstrate authority and superior knowledge. This doesn’t work.
At least, not in 2021. This is an example of an old-guard selling technique that just doesn’t work in the age of information. Far from instilling confidence in your company, your customers may feel they are being hoodwinked or that you are overselling your business.
Instead, use customer-friendly terms and communicate as transparently as possible. Customers will feel respected and clearly informed – a surefire way to establish trust.
As we’ve already explored, social media and crowd-sourced reviews have changed the buyer-seller power dynamic. If your customers reach out to you, you’ve got to respond. Come rain or shine, come glowing reviews or one-star-stinkers, it’s time to interact.A Harvard Business Review study found that when businesses responded to reviews, their ratings increased by 0.12 stars and they received 12% more reviews. These same benefits apply to both positive and negative reviews.
There’s an important stipulation: no copy-casting. Tailor your responses to each individual and address them so that they feel truly heard. See each review as an opportunity to demonstrate that you truly care about customer satisfaction.
- Know your business
If you want to have a clear understanding of your business, and how to effectively and authentically communicate to your customers, get in touch with us. We are experts in analyzing, diagnosing, and creating actionable solutions for problems that are affecting your sales.