As the country begins the gradual process of reopening for business, it’s important for B2C sellers to be ready for changes in consumer behavior. While B2C selling is traditionally distinguished from B2B by a faster sales process, fewer stakeholders, and more emotional decisions, there will be differences in this process as customers emerge from their quarantine mindset. For one thing, as customers grapple with limited budgets, the sales process could be slower than normal for some, while other buyers might be more enthusiastic. Already personal and emotional decisions could be heightened after so much time focused on essentials. With that in mind, here are five ideas to kick start B2C sales as the country reopens and we return to a semblance of normalcy:
- Social Media
With so many people working from home, the use of social media apps is up. A recent study by Nielsen showed that social media app use remained a constant 20 percent from January to March of this year, but that number jumped to 25 percent once mandatory stay-at-home orders went into effect. For the B2C seller, that means their customers are likely more active on social media as well. Leverage the power of social media to reach out, follow up, and network with customers to see how to best meet their needs.
- Be a Trusted Advisor
In difficult times, consumers need professionals they can trust. This means someone more eager to help than to make a sale. Recently, in a supermarket, I came across customers looking for an item not on the shelf. The sales associate said they were out, but she had just seen the item at a competitor. This is a simple example but one that displays how genuine helpfulness establishes you as a trusted advisor, which is something customers need more now than a quick sale and is something they will remember. And this isn’t limited to retail. As the country reopens, some consumers will be eager to buy, so it’s essential to keep the sales process moving and provide as much information as you can about shortages, alternative product options, and expected fulfillment.
- Personal Brand
In a previous blog, we discussed how your personal brand defines and differentiates you from the competition. This is more important than ever, and it’s essential for B2C sellers. As the country reopens, your competitors will be swarming with deep discounts and good deals to lure customers, so your brand and reputation are vital to highlight your expertise and experience. No matter what you sell, your sales and service skills must be at an all-time high. These days, consumers want reassurance, so it’s vital they can easily to get ahold of you and feel comfortable dealing with you.
- Active Listening
This will play a pivotal role in helping to ascertain your customer’s needs. Remember, customers are still concerned about the fragile economy. Many are worried about their job security, and many will be operating with strict budgets. Use your active listening skills to determine their hidden feelings. If they are hesitant about price, show empathy and build value in how your product or service will help mitigate their problem rather than resorting to discounting. After all, we are all consumers with the same concerns during these difficult times, and we can all relate to feeling anxious about making the right decisions.
- Psychology 101
While you don’t need a degree, a little psychology helps you advise your customers. Learn what’s driving the purchase. Engage them and share your own buying habits. Maybe you’re upgrading your phone or extending a warranty. Remember, just thinking about businesses reopening will excite and inspire some customers. Buying could feel like a return to normal. After so much time cooped up in their homes, a good old-fashioned impulse buy could be just what they need now that spending money on anything other than groceries and stockpiling nonperishables feels almost nostalgic.
There is no doubt that there is an understandable impulse to be excited about the economy reopening. For B2C sellers, this can be a great time as customers ease their inhibitions on spending. However, it’s important to remember that the country and economy are far from healed, and many customers have legitimate fears for their personal and financial well-being. That’s why it’s essential for B2C sellers to approach the reopening with thoughtfulness. Though we’re all eager to return to normal, the most important aspect of sales has always been helping people. That’s truer now than ever, and those B2C sellers who show themselves to be empathetic trusted advisors will be best positioned to kick start their selling when the time is right.