Connecting with Today's Digital Consumer

To say that today’s buyer has changed would be a bit of a massive understatement. In fact, we’ve never seen such change in such a short period of time. When you consider how we’ve evolved since the advent of the internet (it became mainstream in 1996) and then throw on top of that all the digital behaviors that were catapulted by the recent pandemic, the results are stunning.

To name a couple:

• Today’s buyer, on average, is more than 70% through the buying cycle BEFORE they actually speak to a sales person. (Forrester)

• 33% of buyers today say they would prefer to have a “seller free” sales experience. (Gartner)

Wow. Just think about what these two trends mean. If you boil them both down, they are essentially telling us that today’s buyer is obsessed with controlling their experience.

• They want to learn on THEIR terms.

• They want to engage on THEIR terms. 

• And they want to buy on THEIR terms.

• If this means not talking to a sales person at all—then so be it.

That’s what they want, and they’re willing to quickly jump to anyone that’s willing to give them such an opportunity. So the question is—how do businesses and organizations adjust to these rapidly evolving trends that seem to be changing daily?


They Ask, You Answer
Believe it or not, there is a definitive solution to solve this dilemma, and it starts with four simple words: They Ask, You Answer. Sound too simple? Look at it this way. They Ask, You Answer means the following:

• If a potential customer has a question, worry, fear, etc.—are you willing to address this, honestly and openly, on your website? (Hint: Most companies are not.)
• If a potential customer has the desire to better “see” something you’ve stated or claimed (about your product or service), are you willing to SHOW it? (Hint: Most companies believe they have a secret sauce when, in reality, they don’t.)
• If a potential customer would like to buy something a certain way (without the typical hurdles of engaging a sales person) are you willing to sell it to them that way? (Hint: Most companies are incredibly protective of “controlling” the sales process, and therefore the idea of giving up any of this control would be preposterous.)
That’s the essence of the They Ask, You Answer philosophy that has shaped digital sales and marketing strategies for businesses all over the globe.

What Buyers Want to Know: The Big Five
To give you a concrete understanding of how this approach affects the way we (should) market and sell, let’s focus on your website content—and what truly drives buyer trust and action. Over the years, we’ve discovered there are essentially five subjects that buyers are obsessed with researching BEFORE they are likely to engage a company.

These subjects are known as “The Big Five”—and what’s so fascinating is the fact that even though consumers and buyers are obsessed with them, businesses (at least the majority) don’t want to address them—ultimately creating a sense of distrust with the buyer.


Here are The Big Five:
1. Cost/Price/Rates
2. Problems/Issues
3. Comparisons/Versus
4. Reviews
5. Best

Marcus Sheridan is an international keynote speaker known for his unique ability to excite, engage, and motivate live audiences with his simple, yet powerful transformational business approach. He is the author of “They Ask, You Answer.” Marcus was the keynote presenter at the 2021 VSAE Annual Conference.  Provided courtesy of Powell Kohne Associates, LLC.

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