Time-Based Branding: It Starts With What You OfferArticle by Colleen Francis, October 26, 2019
Every time your customer makes a buying decision, they deal with risk.
They ask: “What if I make a mistake? What if things don’t work out? Can I be sure I’m making a good choice? What’s the cost of failure?”
To hedge their bets against considerable loss—lost money and lost time—they are prone to stick with sellers they know. But you can only take advantage of this behavior if you make it possible for them to pick you for new sales…so don’t miss out!
That’s what time-based branding is all about. You must make it as easy as possible for people to do more business with you: saving them time while reinforcing their confidence and trust in your brand.
When you do this, you create a frictionless buying experience: one that people will flock to again and again.
Getting there involves two steps. In this first of a two-part article, let’s look at step one: becoming a one-stop shop.
To illustrate how this works, consider the example set by a client of mine in the industrial-supply sector. They serve the highly volatile resource sector with a broad variety of products. A few years ago when oil markets crashed, their specialized competitors lost huge chunks of their business servicing this industry.
But my client didn’t. Instead, they grew.
They correctly understood they had a captive market of buyers to sell to with a range of products and services, and they made sure that those customers were aware of all they could provide. An active and targeted campaign aimed directly at cross-selling to their client base increased sales 12% in 3 months.
Next, they diversified, expanding their sales efforts to multiple markets including agriculture, manufacturing and marketing manufacturing, adding new customers at higher profits. Their diversified markets made it possible for them to continue to grow, simply because not all markets crashed for them simultaneously.
As a result, they thrived from having a broader product line, a wider range of customer markets and a bulletproof reputation for service excellence.
Let’s look at how you can make one-stop shopping work for you.
Consolidation, lower risk and increased personalization.
This shift is also driven in part by the way we buy personally. The companies in retail that are bucking the downward revenue trend and are actually doing well—Amazon, Sephora, Walmart and Target—are succeeding because they’re all one-stop shops. That’s what consumers want and expect.
Think of being a one-stop shop as Amazon-priming your business. Instead of selling them just one thing they need, become their single trusted seller who meets multiple needs while delivering a familiar, value-packed experience.
When you adopt this approach, you’re reducing their risk but also flattening their costs, too. Every time a business has to create a PO and cut a check, there are corresponding costs, including time and energy to manage the tasks. In turn, reducing the number of vendors your clients buy from results in less work and fewer dollars lost. Buyers appreciate it when you make things easier (and more profitable) for them.
They can’t buy what they don’t know about.
B2B buyers are no different from consumers in terms of expectations. Everyone wants convenience and low risk now. That means you must create a convenient, single-contact buying experience that’s free of every friction point that normally presents itself in the buyer’s journey.
This isn’t optional anymore. Companies that aren’t getting on board with this are struggling to keep up—or failing entirely.
Here’s a particularly powerful B2B example. A large manufacturing client of mine was about to lose a huge contract—likely worth millions of dollars—to vendor consolidation offered by a competitor. Frustratingly, my client was already offering everything their buyer needed. Except the buyer didn’t know that because they were selling to this customer using multiple people and brands under the same company umbrella! Fortunately, my client figured this out in time and was able to reorganize internally to suit buyer requirements of having a single point of contact and a single ordering system.
Be ready to embrace one-stop shopping. That’s the first step in a two-part process of creating time-based branding. When you do this—and do it masterfully—you create the ideal conditions for your customers to see and appreciate value that grows with every transaction when working with you.