Although many business owners do not realise it, there has been an upheaval in the fundamental buyer-seller equation, and this is starting to have a significant impact on businesses, according to Robert Bloom in his book The New Experts: Win Today’s Newly Empowered Customers at Their 4 Decisive Moments. Buyers have now been empowered by the breadth of information available on the Internet to take control of the entire purchase process, and they no longer care who they buy from.
Buyers no longer have to settle for what a seller tells them, because they have access to dozens of seller sites via Internet search engines, and they can compare every aspect of the choices they are offered. To succeed in business under the new rules, a seller of goods or services has to learn to think like a buyer at what the author calls the 4 Decisive Customer Moments. These are really four different stages of engagement with customers: the first point of contact, the transaction period, the actual use of the goods or services, and conversion of the customer into a repeat customer and referrer.
The author’s diagnosis of the serious challenge that the Internet poses for all types of sellers is in my opinion correct. I was initially sceptical about whether the book was going to offer anything more than a description of the problem, but as I read on I found the author’s advice increasingly persuasive. The book is concise and compelling, and I strongly recommend it to anyone who is involved in the management of a business.