The more your customers feel connected to you, the more likely they are to buy from you. That, of course, is why many businesses strive for “brand loyalty” or why they try to personalise their services as much as possible. However, new research suggests you need to go much deeper if your customers are to open their wallets.
Psychologists at the University of British Columbia, Canada, have shown that when sales people share a birthday with a potential client, there is an increased chance that the individual makes a purchase. Equally, when some other mutual personal “coincidence” took place, people were more likely to buy something.
The bias for connection even extended to dentists…people who often are feared, rather than loved. When dental patients found they were born in the same place as their dentist, they had a more positive attitude to their dental care.
So what does this tell us for your online business? It suggests that the more personal information you reveal, the more likely it is you will connect with your customers. Far too many web sites are “distant” – we have no idea who is selling us the products and we can make little real connection with the salesperson – if there is one. All too often we appear to be buying from a machine, rather than a person.
Countless studies confirm that when we like the salesperson we are more likely to buy. This new study adds to that knowledge and shows us that when we find snippets of information that enhances the connection between ourselves and the salesperson, we much more readily open our wallet. However, don’t go thinking you should just invent connections between you and your customers; don’t ask them for their date of birth and then say “Hey, that’s the same as mine,” if it isn’t…! The research authors say that pretend coincidences get found out and this is likely to have a huge negative impact.
To give your online selling a boost, this new study shows a clear way ahead. You must reveal even more about yourself and your sales staff than the vast majority of web sites currently do. Anonymous selling is less likely to succeed than selling that makes real connections and allows a whole variety of “coincidence” points to be established. If your business is represented online by several potential sales people, you need much more in your “About Us” than a short corporate history, for instance.
As if we didn’t know, people buy from people. This new study suggests that significant numbers of web sites are still missing out on that. Don’t let your web site lose sales; start telling the world even more about yourself so they can start to truly connect with you. I’ve made a modest start with 12 things you don’t know about me….!
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+