Buyer 2.0

What is Buyer 2.0?  How does it relate to me?  What is it?  

Chances are that if you are reading this, you are considered "Buyer 2.0."  Just about everyone has a smartphone, tablet or computer within an arms reach at all times.  With so much information in our hands, we have the ability to research, analyze and shop without pesky, uninformed salespeople bothering us.  

 

Buyers are greatly benefiting from online reviews, social media and market analysis to help confirm their purchasing decisions.  More than likely, a buyer can find the product and a price that will change their business for the better and make that great impression on the boss.  That's what it's all about, right?  Time efficiency and keeping the big guy happy, eliminating wasted time spent waiting on the third proposal from a sales rep that you may not see after next month.  Buyer's can even get the three quotes that may be required before any purchasing decisions are made just by going to three different websites.  There's even websites that will do the three quotes for you, if you trust it.  It's great and can be accomplished in less than an hour once you start getting the hang of it.  However Buyer 2.0, there are some things to keep in mind before you make this a standard practice. 

Who is the expert?  I'm sorry to say this Buyer 2.0, but you are not the expert.  Spending a couple of hours online looking for something at a low price to help your company does not automatically peg you as an expert.  What this does is it makes you more informative and comfortable talking about the possible solution today rather than yesterday.  Think about the organization you work for, each employee is an expert at their job.  The President is an expert on how to make their company profitable, the office manager is an expert on how to keep the office running, and the sales manager and sales reps are the experts on the productsand services your company sells. Think about this, if you are the office manger, do you think you know everything that a sales manager knows about the products you sell?

Talk to someone.  Buyer 2.0, if you make the final decision on your own, and it's not what you thought it would be, then who will the fingers be pointed at?  At least if you talk to a sales rep, or another company that has made the same purchase, you will have some support on why the product may not be working like you had hoped.  Every company should have someone available to provide all of the information needed to make a educated decision.  The level of support expected from a company is a direct result of how quickly they can respond to your request.  If it takes over 24 hours for anyone to initiate contact, then you should expect the same level of service after the sale.  Once that individual responds, they should ask multiple questions to make sure they are suggesting the proper item.  If questions aren't asked, then it may be time to contact another vendor.  Consideration should also be taken from the conversation had with their representative.  This will be your contact throughout the process of the transaction, if a comfort level and relationship has not been established, then move on. 

Ask for a demo.  Have you ever bought a car without test driving?  It's a pretty big investment for most consumers.  As a Buyer 2.0, you have put in the work online to find the perfect car at the perfect price without dealing with a haggling salesperson.  Once that vehicle has been found, it's time to kick the tires and test how fast it can go.  Everything works to perfection, so it's time to sign on the dotted line.  The same should happen for business transactions.  Thanks to the internet, demo's can be given without a sales rep sitting in your office talking about the weather.  The beauty of technology is online demonstrations through Webex or any other web based remote software.  Don't just watch the demo posted on the website, have someone walk you through how the product would relate to your company.  If they can't provide that, then look for another vendor.  Hardware transactions should be tested before purchase as well.  Most organizations would rather bring out expensive hardware for a company to try before the purchase to eliminate any future headaches that may come up after the sale.  From a sale's rep perspective, there is nothing worse than going back to a customer after the sale and dealing with something that wasn't anticipated due to lack of qualifying or testing.  Believe me, I know from experience.

So Buyer 2.0, now you may know a little more about yourself.  Hopefully you will keep in mind some of these tips before pulling the trigger on that purchase.  Technology is a wonderful thing if you know how to use it correctly.  After you have used all of the resources available at your fingertips, don't forget about talking to a human being.  It may be the best decision you make.

 

In an effort to keep up with all of the Buyer 2.0's, this is our first attempt at blogging.  I hope you enjoy and find our articles beneficial.  Leave a comment and let us know how we are doing.

 

Thank you,

Alan Dickinson

VP Sales

Preferred Office Products