I have been getting a lot of DM’s about the earlier Consumer or Prosumer post. The consensus was, ok but “what do I do now if I see that I am old school’? and “How do I change it”? First, I commend you for your honesty (more business leaders needs more humility when it comes to examining their business model and accepting that changing to a social media system is going to be disruptive to the current one in place, but it is critical) and second, you ask very good questions.
As those of us who run businesses, we find ourselves in the most anxiety filled time in modern history; along with that, there are a couple of obstacles we have to acknowledge first before proceeding. Today’s climate is hard on us as business leaders, with uncertainty at every turn, the complexity of adjusting to new demands, increasingly shorter product lifecycles, competition, etc., there are the facts., which can lead some to succumb to the “eat or be eaten” mentality. Ahh – what to do??? Please step away from the ledge… slowly…. thank you. Here are just a few helpful suggestions, to see things from the Prosumer’s perspective that may help us tweak our operation and get us on the right path without having to do a lot of heavy lifting:
1) Understand we are all in the same boat – every business is in a similar situation. They are all struggling trying to catch up to the social behavior shift which has left there showrooms empty. Face it, we have created a monster. Our poor customers are left to fend for themselves, our culture of treating them like customers (‘who’s next in line? hurry up..’) has left them feeling suspicious, distrustful, with no inherent loyalty, and only focused on price and convenience, and feel defensive, suspicious and that we are the adversary as soon as they walk into our business. I do. That means whatever your price is, I’m looking on the web to find it cheaper. Result? – we all lose, business profits dwindle in our community, jobs lost. We have to understand it is what it is, and IT doesn’t work anymore. We have to lift our heads out of our computers and look around, realize the situation, and do something about it.
2) SEE the goal – Our goal is simple, sustainable profits and growth right? The only way, let me repeat that, the ONLY way for that to happen in your business in today’s climate is to build customer equity = trust, confidence in us, we care, NO hype, NO infomercial techniques, those are dead. Our customers, Prosumers, need to realize and see manifested in our business model that we don’t have a hidden agenda, help them to learn from their experience with us that they can trust us. And finally, they should pick up from their interaction with us that when they deal with us, it’s not about ’selling them something’, it about their experience and making it the most enjoyable that we can. (i.e.; Apple Store) . Look at your operation and SEE where you can adjust and apply some of these principles. Look hard, they are there.
3) Make the shift ASAP – Most businesses still operate in the adversarial ‘consumer’ arena and use traditional media to advertize their ’sales’ and ’sales’, blah, blah, blah. This does not work any more – in fact, most companies that remain in the status quo are finding they are paying a “trust tax”, a transaction (soon to be reaction) costs which can be up to 70% of the item, which destroys profit margin and will force companies into extinction if they remain unchanged in their methods. (BTW: we earn trust, it’s not automatic, it takes time and isn’t as easy as advertising it, like the guy in the photo on the left) We must make the shift from ’selling things’ to noticing people! We need to build a desire with our Prosumers, cultivate relationships, create a sense of comfortable community for them. If you have been reading my articles, you will recall my simple formula: Thoughts + Feelings = Action. Now, this is a two edged sword, but one that if used right, and all the focus is on the Prosumer’s experience when we get an opportunity, that we are going to dazzle them with service, since we are all human, using my formula will create – Trust + Desire = Purchase, and continued experience results in loyalty and brand (“your brand”) advocacy. It works, 100% of the time!
I hope this was of some help to further clarify this for all of you that asked. I appreciate all the interest folks, Thanks!
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