A key component of understanding buying decisions is gaining a reality check on how buyers perceive you and whether you match to their criteria. How well organizations are perceived will serve as one of the primary influences shaping buying behaviors and purchase decisions.
Buyer research can reveal many aspects of what comprises buyer perception. Buyer experience is now becoming one of the most important factors contributing to and influencing perceptions. The new digital age is introducing new types of criterion buyers place a value on, which can directly affect their perceptions:
Buyer Experience: previous as well as current experiences can have an enormous impact on how buyers perceive you. Do you think waiting an extra day to return a call was no big deal? Think again.
Engagement: evidence is building on engagement being a factor in shaping buyer perceptions when making purchase decisions. What the “engagement experience” tells buyers can make a big difference. This differs from buyer experience in this way: when you ask customers and prospects to engage – meaning interact – it better not be painful.
Knowledge: the sharing of knowledge and insight is fast emerging as a one area shaping how buyers perceive companies. Content marketers need to watch for information fatigue setting in with their buyers. Suffocating buyers with content is not the answer. On the other hand, if buyers feel like they have to perform a tooth extraction tor pry information from your organizations, then they will move on.
Community: buyers today are getting tuned into joining various communities specific to their industry. Are your efforts tuned into the communities buyers are at? Are you contributing to this community – or “selling” and annoying the community?
These are just four factors affecting how buyers can perceive you and your organization. Based on hundreds of buyer interviews I have done to date – I can say the above directly impact the why and how of purchase decisions.
Getting to understand how buyers perceive you can be challenging. Two ways you can get a handle on buyer perception is:
- Have buyer research performed specifically for perception
- Have mystery shopping performed to get insight on how buyers experience their interactions with your organization
Understanding how buyers perceive you can often be a surprise. When I have provided insight into buyer perception, I often get the “I had no idea” response. Given the hyper-competitive digital world of today, this might be one area you should have an idea about.