Has Buying Online Replaced Human Contact

I was pointed towards an interesting article recently regarding buying online, it’s an American publication which cites statistics from broader consumer bases than just the UK which can be useful if used in context.
I’m reminded of the great Mark Twain quote “Lies, damn lies and statistics”
Statistics can be used if skewed but for todays purpose we can explore the stats as being reasonable.

The articles headline reads:

Half Of B2B Buyers Make Up Their Mind Before Talking To Sales Reps

At first glance this could strike fear into sales people, reps and SME’s and other business owners.
The online age is touted as being the replacement for a lot of outmoded mechanisms – But is everything as it seems?

If half of B2B buyers make their mind before talking to sales reps, that conclusion would necessitate that the perception of the prospective brand/company is overwhelmingly positive.
If we are talking exclusively about online buyers, then websites and social media are the precursor to the potential buyer creating their initial impression.
These “windows” need to “sell” the benefits and values of the brand of the company and leave the visitor with positive “feelings” enough that any concerns are dissipated so the next step can be achieved.

The article cites “Buyers still want to engage with sales reps under the right circumstances. Almost two-thirds of B2B buyers (65 percent) find value in discussing their needs with salespeople”

These figures operate off a presumption that consumer purchasing online is not as straight forward as it is often presented or hoped which anyone trying to navigate catalogues of products with nothing but the price to use as to evaluate the merits could tell you.
This is a consideration which can be expensive as some products are not necessarily better just because they have a higher price.
There is more to it especially if ordering multiple product lines for multiple users.

Buying Online is the answer, right? Buying Online is the answer, right?

What do you need to know other than price?

Buying personal items like trainers (sneakers) or cosmetics is relatively straightforward in the execution as long as the supplier is a reputable brand, or the supplier is an entity like Amazon or eBay where the trust is assured due to adverse penalties if the sale is troublesome.

However, buying PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) or Workwear/Uniforms for example is fraught with too many obstacles – Choice, brands, price, alternatives etc.
It can be lead to paralysis by analysis because of the choices – buyers, purchasers or procurement will rarely be experts in the vagaries of the specifications of the prescribed items.
They have much more important tasks to complete than reading the technical data in spec sheets.

The buyers have a problem – they need a solution, so they can operate their businesses. This is the simplest driving factor behind all sales.

These types of conditions are where the professionals – experts with knowledge and an understanding as to how to add value, offer practical solutions to help mitigate potential obstacles.

Further the article cites “In addition, 90 percent of buyers are open to engaging sellers earlier in the buying process, especially when facing a new, risky or complex situation.”

When buyers, purchasers or procurement departments are seeking products or services it is essential for them to feel trust and reassurance that their chosen provider can present them with easy navigable choices and solutions.

This personal element is where the value is added making it critical and further evidence that “people buy people” & “People buy benefits not features” the human element will never be successfully replaced no matter how proficient and prescient A.I. and algorithms become.

There are subtleties and nuances which can only be interpreted from personal interactions.

Think of the last scene in the film Wolf of Wall Street – “Sell me this pen”.
The Audience members start listing the features, how the pen looks and feels. They seem lost and uneasy and he quickly asks the same question to the next person.
How can you answer that and not be looked over?

The answer was already given earlier in the film when Jordan asked his potential Stratonittes to sell him the pen.
Jordan ask Brad who swiftly nails it

“Here write your name!” – “I don’t have a pen” – Boom!
There is the key benefit identified and executed.

A Laptop cannot shake hands on a done deal! A Laptop cannot shake hands on a done deal!

Great reps and Salespeople see this and can deliver which is why, based upon current tech and information, I can’t see a time when people will not be critical to identifying the needs and requirements of Buyers.
The greats will utilise the technology to enhance their reach and deploy it with tactical proficiency.

You can read the full article here:
Half Of B2B Buyers Make Up Their Mind Before Talking To Sales Reps

BHI Provide more than PPE and Workwear - We offer a wide range of solutions tailormade to each company.
We jump the fences before you even know there are any.

Call 0333 101 4030 or email sales@bh-i.com