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« Adventures in personalization | Main | Here comes the Long Tail of Reddit (and Digg...) »

Embracing the naive prospect

Many businesses cater to individuals and corporations that are making a once in a lifetime purchase. Whether it's a DJ for your kids sweet 16 or a company that pours tar on the roof of your factory, it's unlikely you're an expert when you go to buy the product or service.

So, unlike a purchase from an educated consumer (shoes, for example, or a car or workman's comp insurance) this purchase has very different rules. Jargon, for one, is missing, so it's hard to communicate crisply. Education matters, because without the confidence to decide, the prospect will stall, or evade, or just move on. And trust is essential, because there's so much fear on the line.

I think there are a few valid tactics to consider:

EDUCATE--not a little, but a lot. Run a school. A real honest to goodness school, online or off, by phone or by plane. If it's important enough to me, I'll attend.

BE TRANSPARENT--tell me all about your competitors. Sure, I might buy from you if you're the only one I can think of, but I'm way more likely to buy from you if you have the confidence to give me a list of questions and a list of competitors.

A GUARANTEE might be worth less than you think. It certainly won't help replace my ruined bar mitzvah!

REALIZE that your reputation might not precede you. In other words, it's entirely possible that I have no clue who you are or what you've done before.

COMMUNITY--put me in a room with ten other people facing the same quandary. As we talk with each other, we'll gain trust in you.

Most of all, I think it's essential to acknowledge internally that your job is to turn naive, fearful new prospects into confident spreaders of word of mouth.

Or, intentionally ignore this market and demand jargon and a reference before you let me in the door. Either strategy can work. What doesn't work is intidimidating the already intimidated.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Embracing the naive prospect:

» On Being A Teacher from Clearing Up The Confusion
Seth Godin had an interesting post tonight. He was talking about dealing with the naive prospect for your business. He pointed out that some businesses will experience this more than others and pro... [Read More]

» Not Your Father's Marketing World from bizsolutionsplus Featuring Solutions to Grow Your Business
Back in the day, selling a product meant creating the right marketing mix, followed up with a sales call, focused entirely on making our products and services sound great. Man, how things have changed. With the Internet, cell phones and text messaging,... [Read More]

» The missing genuineness from Cardboard. Damnit!
Godin makes a great point about educating your potential customers about a product they might not know much. The only problem? With each day, customers are getting more and more weary of education that's really just another marketing pitch. Why [Read More]

» Seth Godin Discusses The Naive Prospect from Conversation Marketing
At some point, all of us sell to customers who know nothing about that which they're buying. These kinds of customers are intimidated, afraid of making the wrong choice, and very hesitant. On the internet, it's even more of an issue: Many potential cu... [Read More]

» Seth's Words on Jargon from Debby Peters, Networking Guru
Seth Godin talks about how people don't buy from sales people when sales people use industry lingo. I teach the BNI Membership Success Program in NW Ohio. We spend time during this two hour traini... [Read More]

» Ticking the boxes from kiss2
Last Friday I had one of my regular lunch-meetings with my good friend Richard (who I consider my mentor and who's advice and help has kept me sane in some difficult times over the years). One of the topics we [Read More]

» The Horror of Once-In-A-Lifetime Purchases from ==================== adam jusko's bessed blog
Seth Godin hit on an interesting topic this week: Many businesses cater to individuals and corporations that are making a once in a lifetime purchase. Whether its a DJ for your kids sweet 16 or a company that pours tar on the roof of your factor... [Read More]

» Seth Godin on the Naive Prospect from
Seth Godin wrote, in a recent post, about something I found rather interesting. Here is an excerpt from that post: Many businesses cater to individuals and corporations that are making a once in a lifetime purchase. Whether its a DJ for y... [Read More]

« Adventures in personalization | Main | Here comes the Long Tail of Reddit (and Digg...) »