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I'm Sold, but I Still Don't Get It

September 1, 2009  

Even if you use the product or service you sell, that doesn't mean you know what it's like to be a customer. The reason, argues Rohit Bhargava in a post at the Influential Marketing Blog, is that most business owners or execs don't go through the buying process.

He uses the example of General Motors executives who drive company cars. "They didn't research the car online," he says. "They didn't shop around and talk to several dealers about it. They didn't have to trade off something else in their budget to afford the car and figure out how to finance it."

Furthermore, they don't have to worry about day-to-day ownership issues such as paying for maintenance or gas.

In other words, our hypothetical executive might know what it's like to use a Cadillac, but he might not know what it's like to buy and own a Cadillac. And that is why Bhargava advises businesses to:

  • Research your product or service online, just as your prospect would.
  • Go into a retail store and discuss the pros and cons with a salesperson.
  • Place an order online to see how soon it arrives, how the packaging looks and whether anyone from your company follows up.

The Po!nt: "You need to experience the entire process around buying it to really understand your customers," says Bhargava.

Source: Influential Marketing Blog. Click here for the full post.

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  • by Doug Pruden Tue Sep 1, 2009 via web

    Your GM executive not only doesn't go through a typical buying process, when their car needs service they typically hand their keys off to a support person on the way into work in the morning, and get the keys back at the end of the day (probably with the vehicle washed and detailed). That executive knows the benefits of all the bells and whistles built into the product and how to get maximum benefit from the vechicle. Further, should they have a problem, they certainly don't go through the normal customer service channels.

    We shouldn't just pick on the auto industry. Senior management in most every business has a very different level of category knowledge and a very different "Customer Experience" than the average customer. The executives live and breathe their category, they understand how to get greatest value from the product or service they sell. They know how it compares to the competition, and should all else fail they get special treatment if there's a problem.

    Senior management simply knows too much and enjoys a different buying and ownership experience. They really do need an objective view of the company and products from the typical customer point of view.

  • by Joseph Veca Thu Sep 3, 2009 via web

    It isn't just the Auto Industry that needs to figure out the customer buying process but the cellular industry as well. I would love to see the the senior officers of AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint, buy a cell phone, then have to wade through the autmated maze customers have to wade through to get tech support.

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