Important insights into how buyers choose service providers
Most new business opportunities fail because sellers make misguided assumptions about the people and companies that buy their services, according to Lee Frederiksen, Elizabeth Harr, Sylvia Montgomery and Aaron Taylor in their book Inside the Buyer’s Brain: How to Turn Buyers into Believers. Buyers and sellers experience the marketplace very differently and they often expect different things from their counterparts.
The book goes on to provide a number of interesting revelations based on extensive research into the attitudes of buyers and sellers of professional services, including:
- The top three business challenges as seen by buyers are: dealing with a difficult economy or competitive marketplace, budgets or financial issues, and attracting and developing new business
- Sellers believe that their services are much more important to buyers than buyers actually consider them to be
- Buyers and sellers have quite different ideas about who the sellers’ competitors are
- The most common way of searching for a new professional service firm is to ask acquaintances for a referral; the second most common is an online search
- The three most important buyer selection criteria are: reputation, cost or terms, and good fit or shared values
- The three biggest deterrents to selecting a firm are: broken promises, lack of differentiation, and cost over-runs
There are plenty more interesting observations in the book, which uses the research results as a basis for describing a complete brand building plan for a professional service firm, including creating a business strategy, defining target clients, researching those clients, positioning your brand, developing a messaging architecture, creating a high performance website, and generating and disseminating valuable content.
If your firm is still stuck in the pre-internet marketing era, in which “marketing” consists primarily of responding to requests for proposals and placing the occasional advertisement in newspapers, you definitely need to read this book very carefully.