Thursday, October 27, 2005

Marketing and Selling to Customers

Successful marketers will carefully consider each stage of the consumer decision (buying) process. By understanding the level of cognitive dissonance at each stage, a marketer and salesperson can develop and utilise successful techniques and strategies to allow them to market and sell better to their customers.

PRE-PURCHASE

Need recognition - Consumer perceptions formed and reinforced by marketing. Salespeople find customers' needs and wants.

Information Search - Provide as much information to customer.

Evaluate Alternatives - Customer has many alternatives and thus need to tell and remind them the benefits.

PURCHASE

Values & Attributes - Communicate value-added attributes that are in line with customer's expectations.

Convince - Convince the customer that this is a purchase that needs to be made will reduce the development of dissonance.

Reassuring & Confidence - Reassure customer that the relationship does not terminate with the purchase. Offer trials, warranties, return policies, no-cost repairs, and other programs, customers will have more confidence in their decisions.

Personalise & Sincere - Personalise selling techniques and sincere in assisting with the decision-making process.

Relationship - Refer to customer's first name and give respect. Build relationship and establish rapport thus creating trust which will lead to higher acceptance.

POST-PURCHASE

Manage - If cognitive dissonance is not properly managed in this stage, it can result in customer dissatisfaction and loss of customers.

Follow-up & customer service - Salesperson follow-up calls and letters, surveys, and superior customer service. Example "Thank you" letter. Establish customer-focused attitude among employees.

Minimise anxieties and doubts - 7 approaches to minimise customers' anxieties and doubts: (1) summarise the product's benefits after the purchase; (2) repeat why the product is better than the alternatives; (3) emphasise how satisfied the customer will be; (4) provide toll-free numbers to encourage communication; (5) offer liberalised return and refund policies; (6) engage in staff training to handle complaints; (7) implement a follow-up program. By implementing these strategies, a company communicates to the customer that they have made the right decision and that the company will commit to his/her satisfaction.

Measure - Measure customer satisfaction through surveys.

Reference source

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