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The Digital Consumer: How today's buyer has changed and what your business must do about it

More than any other time in the last 100 years, the buyer of today has made a dramatic shift in the way they make purchasing decisions. Unfortunately, many companies haven’t adapted to this shift and are not prepared for the continual evolution of this “digital consumer.” In this talk, Marcus Sheridan brings clarity to the way buyers have changed and exactly what companies must do to, not only align themselves with this shift in buyer patterns but take advantage of the digital age as well. If you like to be engaged, challenged, and moved, you’ll love this keynote with Marcus Sheridan!

See the presentation slides below:

Session Notes

Courtesy of Karine Bengualid fromBrought to you by the Letter K

On October 10, 2008, everything changed for Marcus Sheridan.

When the economy crashed, so did his pool business. Pools are a luxury, not a necessity. And when people can’t afford luxuries, and you’re in the luxury business, you can either sink or swim (pun very much intended!).

Before giving up on his business, his employees, and his investments, Sheridan decided to give one more kick at the can and create content that answered customer questions.

With time on his hands, Sheridan obsessed over questions—good, bad, and ugly ones—in a “they ask, you answer” format.

Because quoting the price of a pool is really dependent on many factors, answering a question like “How much does a pool cost?” isn’t as easy as it seems. That didn’t stop Sheridan. Although he couldn’t say straight up a pool costs $50,000, he was able to give a price range and explanations for different options.

Addressing potential customers’ questions, concerns, and fears (especially given the market crash), he was able to appease them and close more sales. To date, this one page has generated approximately $5M in sales for the business. #micdrop

What he found was that answering questions that otherwise were considered taboo subjects (cost, problems, comparisons, etc.) brought in some great leads. How? Because it builds trust. And when people trust you, they give you money.


And as he put it, “Is trust going to be relevant in 20 years?”

Why yes, Marcus. It is.

Trouble is, the majority of content being produced online is fluff. That is to say, it’s not moving your prospects through the buying process, so why bother? Meanwhile, the content you are producing (that isn’t fluff) should be used by your sales team and integrated with their systems. Because if it’s not, you’re failing.

As a customer, if you can’t find the answer on a brand site within the first 10 seconds, you give up. So, whoever can answer your question will get, at the very least, the first phone call, definitely the trust, and probably the sale.  


Because by answering questions you know they have, it’s like you’re customizing the content for them.

So why don’t more of us do it?

Because we’re afraid our competitors will find out how much we’re charging. But the reality is no company has ever built their pricing model off what their competition charges. We’ve all done the competitive research so we all know what we are all charging. #amiright?

And if a potential customer can’t see the price (or price range), it plants a seed of doubt. Imagine going to a restaurant’s website and there is no pricing on the menu. Are you still going to make that reservation, or move on to the next? For the record, it’s not because you can’t afford to eat there, it’s simply because you don’t want to be surprised.

What’s even more surprising is you don’t actually have to give a price list to earn customers’ trust. Maybe your pricing varies. But what you should do is talk about money. Show you’re not afraid to address the elephant in the room. Give ranges or examples, and put your customers’ minds at ease. One of two things will happen: (1) they aren’t even close to being able to afford you and won’t waste your (or their) time with inquiries, or (2) they’ll see the incredible value, decide they need to know more, and you’ll get the phone call having already vetted them by discussing your pricing online.

Basically, it’s a win-win for everyone at that point.

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