Here’s why the phrase ‘People Buy People’ is still absolutely true…
The phrase ‘people buy people’ has been around for decades, and is accepted as a universal truth. But, in this world of digital marketing and online selling, is it still true? In the world of small business marketing, should it be part of your marketing story?
In short, YES, it’s still absolutely true! Below we look at why this is and what you can do to ensure your customers are ‘buying’ your people, whatever the size of your business and whether it’s online or in person…
Know, like and trust
In most businesses, when a tender process isn’t needed, winning business isn’t about price nearly as much as you might imagine. In fact, price often isn’t even in the top 10 key factors.
As Ivan Misner said when he started BNI, the world’s leading networking and referral organisation, it is about ‘know, like and trust’.
- People need to know you exist before they can buy from you.
- They are more likely to buy from you if they like you.
- They absolutely must trust you will deliver on your promises.
Whilst Ivan was talking about this in a referral context, it is very true in a marketing and sales context too.
People also buy the ‘Why’
Very few of us now do something nobody else does, so we all have competition. Competition that competes on price, location, number of awards and in many other ways. But, more and more, the factor that makes you stand out is the ‘Why’. People can see what you do and, probably, how you do it, but the reason many buy from you now is because of why you do what you do. Simon Sinek’s famous TED talk explains this far better than I can, so I encourage you to click this link – after you finish the blog, of course!
The challenge as your business grows
Of course, when you first started your business, it’s likely it was only you and maybe one or two staff members at most. You were the marketer, the sales person, the operational delivery person, the admin and everything else. So, when you got your first customers they were buying you, as the key person in the business. They were buying into your commitment to deliver and your promise to solve any issues they had with your services or products.
As your business grows and your number of staff increases this is still true. People don’t trust companies; they trust people, and there are a number of ways you can show your customers why they should trust your people instead of the competition…
1. Publish client testimonials
Make sure you collect testimonials from your clients and publish them on your website. Ideally, each one will include the name, job title and company name of the customer, as many people don’t believe they’re real without this information.
2. Set up on Google Reviews
Have you set up your Google My Business page and do you encourage people to add reviews? You, as a business, have no ability to edit these, so they are highly trusted. If you do have this set up, make sure you respond to each and every review, too. If there is a bad one, this gives you an opportunity to try and fix the issue – or at least show you’re trying to!
3. Become the figurehead
As your business grows, there will be more people in the business, so your clients and prospects will interact with people other than you. But that doesn’t mean you are no longer key. People will look at you, both from within the business and from outside, to show the way.
The way you act sets the tone and influences what people think about your business. Whether you like them or loathe them, think of the influence people such as Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, and even Gerald Ratner, have/had on their businesses and the performance of those businesses. Your personality and your promises brought you your first clients. They will continue to bring your business new clients going forward.
4. Develop a ‘customer first’ culture
As you grow your team, your clients’ experience of your staff will have a big impact on your ability to attract and retain business. So, employing staff who embody your vision and put the customer first is key. Staff that give a poor client experience will jeopardise the relationship you and others have worked long and hard to develop. As your business grows, you need to ensure that you only employ people who can show they care as much as you do.
As the owner of a small business, you are still the expert on what you do. You are also an expert on you, so make use of that. For example: make sure you use the stories you have about how you’ve helped your clients and look out for opportunities to help others without expecting anything in return – they will tell others about how you helped them! It is the YOU that got you your first clients and it is your personality, vision and ethos that can continue to attract new clients, regardless of the size of your business.