Numerous studies cited previously in this book show that buyers may complete over half of their purchase evaluation process before contacting a potential seller. (See Figure 4.1.) Since buyers now prefer to conduct initial research and needs evaluation on their own before contacting potential solution providers, should sellers attempt to engage with buyers early in their buying process? And if so, can sellers do so without annoying or alienating them?
Our research and experience with clients shows that even though Buyer 2.0 now waits longer to invite sellers to participate, there are still effective ways that sellers can engage with early-stage buyers—either before or just as buyers are beginning to think about a possible purchase. Better yet, sellers can engage early in ways that Buyer 2.0 finds both valuable and appreciated. In fact, our clients report that when their sellers engage first with a buyer, they win business over five times more often than other sellers who wait for buyers to engage them.
There is a right way to gain access to and influence early-stage buyers, but it means significant changes in how most sellers conduct business development. To find new opportunities with Buyer 2.0, sellers must embrace and master a new persona—the Micro-Marketer.
The Micro-Marketer persona enables ...