Leads and Opportunities: The Feeling Is Mutual - Customer Relationship Management

Clearly, personalizing leads is not exactly the easiest thing to do. If a salesperson tried to have a personal relationship with every potential lead and prospect that was deep and abiding, that sales rep would be a babbling idiot after two months.

But luckily, that isn’t exactly what the B2C customer at least is looking for, and it can be mitigated for the B2B customer. What the customer is typically looking for is a bond with the company that the salesperson represents not just the bond with the individual. So the feeling of closeness sometimes without a human relationship is there. It’s expressed with the statement “I just feel that they know me.”

Are you skeptical of that? Think about your own relationship to Amazon.com. Why do you shop a lot at Amazon, if you do?

  • They are convenient. You can usually find what you want. Your order is delivered to your door (without you standing up until you have to get it from your front porch), and there are valuable tools that make it even more convenient such as Amazon Prime, which costs about $80 per year and guarantees second- day air on all purchases directly from Amazon and many of their third-party merchants and discounts next-day air. They even will on occasion upgrade, without asking, the delivery of a preordered product on the same day it is released to the stores. I ordered the EA Sports Active, a strength training program using the Nintendo Wii that was to be released to stores on May 19, 2009. It showed up at my door on May 19, 2009. Not the next day. The same day.

  • They “know” you. Because of the complex algorithms and analytic programs that Amazon uses for their recommendation engine and because of the incredibly deep tool set they give you such as blogs, reviews, video uploading, and so on for engagement on the site, customers feel that Amazon knows them in a personal sense. This of course is not the case unless there are Amazon rogue neural networks seizing the site as we speak. That feeling is perhaps the most important piece of the success of Amazon. They have engaged the customer, primarily through self-service tools, in a way that makes the customer bond to the company and the site without knowing a single human being. This doesn’t just create fiercely loyal repeat customers, but, as I’ve seen time and time again in formal and informal surveys that I conduct, it creates a large group of advocates. I would say, anecdotally, they have now surpassed Starbucks (who have fallen back pretty badly) as the most memorable company in the eyes of at least the U.S. attendees to the conferences I speak at.

The most important lesson for sales? Customers are now looking to be involved in the process, not just sold to. There is little a salesperson can do about a customer’s state of mind on a given day, so they are best served by figuring out how to do what the customer almost always wants especially on larger sales or repeated repurchasing. Customers want to be engaged and they want to feel “known.” They don’t just want to be the subjected to the multiple steps of Miller-Heiman because of the operational requirements of the company. Amazon engages and knows the customer by giving them tools, not by voices over a phone. You now I’m right. Just look at your credit card bill.


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