Where does your business come from? Your business comes from your sphere of influence – your colleagues, customers, friends, co-workers, professional associates etc. and can take a significant amount of time, money and effort to build. In this new digital age it is imperative to be aware of new ways to expand your sphere of influence by understanding your consumer’s behaviour.
The consumer buying decision has changed. Specifically a consumer’s online buying decision. States Dina Howell, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi X; “they browse, dig, explore, dream and master, and then they’re ready to buy with confidence and share their experience with others”. I was recently recommended an ebook from Google titled “Winning The Zero Moment of Truth” also known as ZMOT or the “Mental Model of Marketing” by Jim Lecinski. A Zero Moment of Truth is defined as the moment when you grab your wired device, laptop, tablet, or mobile phones and start learning about a product or service you are thinking about trying or buying. Whether you are shopping for furniture, a new computer, a house or service, the internet has drastically changed how a consumer decides to buy.
One of the key components of a Zero Moment of Truth buying decision is the process of rating and reviewing products online. ZMOT’s Shoppers Sciences 2011 Macro Study found that, 84% of the decision makers used online sources to guide them in their buying decision and 70% of Americans say they now look at product reviews before making a purchase. Brett Hurt, Founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice states: “This is the first time in history that word of mouth has become a digitally-archived medium.”
Word of mouth online consists of consumers interacting directly through email, social networks, chat and IM’s, YouTube, message boards, forums, blogs etc. Here in the WOLFmedia division, we connect local businesses with real estate brokerages and place them in their online directory known as eConcierge in the front office management solution WOLFconnect. This eConcierge can also be mirrored on globalWOLF websites. Agents have an opportunity to rate, review and refer the businesses advertising with their brokerage.
For many shoppers the most powerful incentive to buy is someone else’s endorsement. For example, if a new homeowner is looking for a reputable home inspector, they can go to the brokerage’s website that they bought their home from, check out the local businesses they are associated with and search the online business directory – eConcierge. If they see a home inspector that has received a great rating from an agent, that will help solidify their buying decision. The customer already knows they need a home inspector, but they want to make sure they are getting the best value for their money. That is a Zero Moment of Truth.
From a business owner’s perspective, ratings and reviews are an invaluable resource for determining how satisfied your customers are on a real-time basis. While 80% of most reviews online are positive even a negative review can be beneficial. According to Dave Reibstein it “adds authenticity”, and increases the conversation showing potential customers they are shopping in a truthful environment.
Whether you are a home service provider or an agent looking to extend your sphere of influence there are lessons here to consider. I am interested in your thoughts. Share your thoughts in the comment box below and let’s keep the conversation and our shared power online going.
ZMOT is available for FREE download from zeromomentoftruth.com. Contact WOLFmedia if you would like to learn how your business can partner with your local real estate office, and start receiving valuable targeted referrals.