Why People Invest in You More Than Your Business

Consumers are increasingly demonstrating a willingness to pay more for something if they have an established relationship with a reliable vendor. In short, buying your merch is an investment they are making in you.

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You have a terrific product or service, and you offer it to the public at a competitive price point. That's great, of course, but this alone will no longer sustain most businesses. In addition to those two pillars, your business must also earn (and maintain) a solid reputation.

It pays to understand that price alone no longer rules the roost. Consumers are increasingly demonstrating a willingness to pay more for something if they have an established relationship with a reliable vendor. In short, buying your merch is an investment they are making in you.

1. Business People Have a Deep Understanding of the Value of Time.

There are now over 60,000 books on time management available through Amazon. That's amazing, but it doesn't surprise me that much. Hardly a day goes by without someone at the office (or at home) talking about ways they should better manage their time. Because so many industries specialize in doing one thing well, they can often do it less expensively and, more importantly, in far less time.

Business types have always lived by the motto that "time is money," but in our post-COVID world, that heightened awareness quickly spread to the general population. Nowadays, a business might upset someone by overcharging for a product, but that consumer will get even angrier if they have to spend a great deal of their time rectifying the mistake. When you are a person who consistently demonstrates respect for other people's time, those same people will become repeat customers and encourage others to give you a shot.

2. Track Records Have a Bottom-line Benefit.

By now, I think many of us are aware that positive online reviews can be purchased and positioned. Various technology businesses have sprung up that even make it possible to buy bogus "likes" and "shares" to make products and services appear better or more popular than they truly are. Whatever you might think of such gray-area business practices, they don't cancel out the long-term value of working to maintain a solid reputation.

In other words, you want every interaction you have with a customer — or potential customer — to stand (or fall) on its own merits. Over time, with an accompanying commitment to excellence, not only will the word get out, but you will develop such a strong reputation that there will be no need for you to "goose" your online footprint. Because your customers will know who you are and what you stand for, there will be no need to employ shady sales techniques.

3. Our Desire for a Personal Touch Is at an All-time High.

"You know, I just want to speak to a human being." How many times have you heard someone mutter those words while playing Wordle on their smart phone? While technology is a wonderful thing, it can also be a maddening frustration. When customers invest in you and your brand, they still expect a personal touch when needed.

Many business owners think it's "too expensive" to offer a personal touch, but the good news there is that consumers statistically demand less of it these days. A personal touch for your business is a little bit like keeping a charged fire extinguisher in the office. Most of the time you won't need to use it, but when you do, you'll be glad it's there. Tech-savvy customers will be just fine conducting the lion's share of their business with you online, but their investment in you means they want to be able to interact with flesh and blood as the need arises.

4. You're Sharp, Friendly and Regularly Express Your Gratitude.

Of course, you could do absolutely everything right in terms of picking the right technology, offering great products and services, and hitting all the right buttons when it comes to customer service. Even with a perfect score on all modern business management topics, you still need to offer a pleasant experience and (importantly) thank people who express even the slightest interest in what you have to offer.

Successful business owners know the value of demonstrating their competence without blowing their horns. They do this by greeting repeat customers by name, for example. They encourage people to find the solution that works best for them, whether they have it in stock or not. And they often say "Thank you!" and mean it. People can sense when gratitude is the real deal or an act. Cultivating gratitude is both the right thing to do and something that will show up as increased sales in your year-end reporting.

Authenticity Rules ... So Don't Try To Fake It!

As you build your business, make it a non-negotiable practice to surround yourself with employees who understand that the lowest price does not always win anymore. After all, your employees are (at least in some sense) an extension of you. Make it your mission to accept responsibility for the genuineness of your products and services, but also of your people.

We all have friends who know they can buy something cheaper online but prefer to go to a local brick-and-mortar store to chat it up with a knowledgeable salesperson. True, some will come for the knowledge and then buy online anyway, but you want to be the kind of business person who people look forward to visiting. Your job is to give them something they can't get from a laptop or smart phone, namely... you.

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