I was talking to an "experience marketer" today (someone who designs flashy customer-experience centers for large companies, such as AT&T, Cisco, etc.) and he mentioned something about how strongly the environment influences a customer or prospect to buy. As a marketer myself, this is a phenomenon I'm well familiar with. The reason is simple: We don't just buy products or services. We buy the way they make us feel.
Is a $1,400 Luis Vuitton handbag inherently more valuable or useful than the equivalent $200 Michael Kors knockoff? Is a logo worth $1,200? The fact is, you're buying cachet — the way the product makes you feel.
So when it comes to presenting your product or service to clients and prospects, make sure you're not neglecting the "feel-good factor" (let's call it FGF for the purposes of this blog post) as part of your overall presentation.
Some examples to consider:
- The physical environment. If you're presenting a new product (such as a car), it makes sense to create a flashy showroom, complete with luxury seating, snacks, an espresso machine, and so on. Put up a huge, gorgeous 4K display and show a video accompanied by dramatic music. My Mini dealer is the perfect example of this. In fact, I almost get excited when I have to take my car in for service. They own me for life.
There are even more subliminal cues in your physical environment. Let's say you're holding a customer appreciation day. Depending on the type of client you're wooing, swap the chips and salsa for upscale cheese, patê, and French bread. Serve it on china, not paper plates. Hire a string quartet (if it's appropriate to your company's brand). The little things matter.
- Your website and the quality of your copy. It seems obvious to say that a chic, well-designed website (http://www.feedmusic.com, http://www.tiffany.com, http://srmcllc.com/) is a must for "selling" your company to a prospect. However, how much thought have you given the quality of the writing on your website, collateral, presentations, and email blasts? It goes beyond grammar and spelling. Good writing subtly communicates that your company is sophisticated and intelligent. It's another one of those little subliminal cues that contribute to the FGF of your company and its brand.
- The tenor of your presentations. Nothing turns a prospect off faster than a crappy PowerPoint presentation. 'Nuff said.
- The virtual environment. This is an area that too many companies neglect. Remember, when it comes to demonstrating a product or proposal online, how you demonstrate is inseparable from what you demonstrate. How can your company distinguish itself from your competition in this arena? How can you up to your FGF?
Here's how we at Prysm — and our clients, many of which are in the Fortune 100 — do it. Because one of the main uses of our platform is a collaboration with and presentation to remote individuals, we can really "wow" prospects with our functionality and intuitive interface in online demos. In addition, our product is interactive, so the demo participant can try it out for themselves. When they get their hands on our infinite virtual whiteboards and try our annotations, there's an immediate shift. When they see the way we use multiple workspaces and how they can be customized, they start to understand the sophistication of our solution. And when they hear about our forthcoming co-browsing feature, they recognize that we are completely unique amongst our competition.
In some cases, the FGF a customer gets from you communicates that they can provide this same feeling to their prospects. The results may be tangible and significant. For example, Sprint's Director of Experiential Marketing, John Heiman, says that what’s really compelling about Prysm is how the platform enhances the overall visitor experience in the company's CEC in Overland, KS. "Prysm really understands that it’s all about the experience, not the technology," he said. "Our original goal was to wow every visitor, and I think we’ve accomplished just that. Our account teams can really see the positive impact and they keep coming back for more.”
In another interview, Heiman explained to me that using such sophisticated technology in its CEC subtly demonstrates the company's commitment to technological innovation. That's what I'm talking about when it comes to FGF.