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From Influencer Marketing to Echo Selling

Updated: Nov 3

Consumer behavior is evolving with the emergence of social media, review platforms, and other digital channels. What is it evolving to? How are marketing and sales responding to it?



In this post, we discuss the shift taking place in consumer behavior with the advent of digital channels. Buyers are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on their "circle of influencers."


We discuss that in response to this shift, marketing is adapting and evolving the discipline of influencer marketing. Although nothing new, the latter is becoming very prominent.


We discuss the need for sales to respond also. Steve Bookbinder proposes Echo Selling as the answer and new sales paradigm in his upcoming book of the same title.


It is only through an understanding of why consumers make the purchasing decisions they do and what influences those decisions that we can better market and sell to them.

Consumer Behavior


The key to sales and marketing success fundamentally lies in aligning with the target audience, understanding their needs and expectations.


The storied rise and dominance of Japanese carmakers against American, British, and German is a classic example of aligning with the target audience.


Today, 6 out of 10 leading carmakers in the world are Japanese.


Where 3-ton Cadillacs once dominated the automotive world, the Japanese have made light and tough cars with smaller engines the industry standard today.


It is imperative that companies and their sales and marketing teams understand and influence how people spend their money.


This is the subject of consumer behavior.


It is only through an understanding of why consumers make the purchasing decisions they do and what influences those decisions that we can better market and sell to them.


Consumer purchasing decisions are influenced by four major factors: situational, personal, psychological, and social

Social Influences on Consumer Decisions


Although an intricate subject, it is well understood that consumer purchasing decisions are influenced by four major factors: situational, personal, psychological, and social.


Among the social factors, “reference groups” are increasingly influencing purchasing patterns.


Reference groups are formal or informal groups that a person comes into contact with, directly or indirectly. Direct contact is commonly through friendship and face-to-face interactions.


We are talking about groups such as churches, clubs, schools, online social networks, playgroups, professional groups, and even a group of friends and acquaintances.


Reference groups also include “aspirational groups” that a person hopes to belong to one day. For example, young boys hoping to grow up and join soccer championship leagues such as the EPL.


An interesting characteristic of reference groups is that they are led by “opinion leaders” who influence the others in the group.


Opinion leaders need not be of higher income or better educated. Group members may view them as experts or more experienced.


Ultimately, opinion leaders set the trend and others conform to the expressed behavior.


Influencer marketing is emerging into a space unto itself as reference groups and opinion leaders find increasing prominence in digital marketing.

The Rise of Influencer Marketing


Marketers identify the opinion leaders for groups in their target market and direct efforts towards attracting these people.


To this end, businesses have successfully been using celebrities and iconic figures to promote their products.


This type of marketing is emerging into a space unto itself called influencer marketing as reference groups and opinion leaders find increasing prominence in digital marketing.


With consumers tapping into a variety of social networks and online communities, digital marketers are focusing on winning over the “digital” opinion leaders such as:

  • Bloggers

  • Individuals with many followers who post frequently on various social media

  • People who write lots of online reviews


Marketers try to get these opinion leaders in their target segments to “like” their product, “follow” their brand, tweet about their news, and publish favorable reviews or comments on their blogs.


Prospects are more likely to be influenced by their circle of influencers than they are by salespeople.

The Need for Echo Selling


With the growing dominance of the social factor of reference groups and opinion leaders in how buyers decide, marketing is adapting itself and evolving the discipline of influencer marketing.


What about sales?


A sales leader and author, Steve Bookbinder, identifies this emerging need for sales to adapt in his new, yet-to-be-published book Echo Selling.


Source: Digital Media Training, Inc.

According to him, Echo Selling is new but “Echo Buying” is how customers always bought. Only now, it’s the primary way B2B and B2C customers buy.


Your prospects are more likely to be influenced by their circle of influencers than they are by salespeople. Therefore, salespeople need to learn how to get to that circle when prospecting.


Steve identifies the notion of an “echo chamber” between buyers and their circle of influencers.


The echo chamber between buyers and their circle of influencers makes or breaks every sale, whether the seller realizes it or not.


It’s why a buyer decides to engage with your emails, take your phone calls, and agree to meetings.


The classic sales skills have less to do with sales success than this communication between the buyer and their circle.


Why?


Because the number one reason people don’t buy is lack of reassurance, followed closely by fear (of change and of missing out).


The echo solves both issues.


In his new book, Steve teaches how to sell to a new generation of buyers who lean on influencers and avoid salespeople.


The book describes a new kind of skill that sellers will need to remain relevant in today’s world.


“I work with clients all over the world and find echo buying is everywhere and so is the need for Echo Selling. How do I know?


When I see salespeople unable to reach benchmarks for meeting and activity, despite lead generation resources and marketing efforts, I know that the answer isn’t more activity.


It is getting the right people to open the email, take the call, and agree to the meeting,” says Steve.


Echo selling done right would have reached that buyer and their circle in a way that got them to respond to your email and take your call.


Echo Selling addresses how to sell to a new generation of buyers who are especially influenced by personal and social factors.

In Conclusion


Buyers are getting bombarded by more sellers than ever but spending less of their time actually speaking to salespeople.


They are leaning instead on reference groups and opinion leaders -- their circle of influencers.


This is why every seller needs a new skill: how to get their sales pitch to echo between buyers and their influencers when they are thinking about their goals and challenges to improving.


With Steve Bookbinder’s new book Echo Selling, salespeople will acquire this new skill and get their sales pitch into meetings they are not invited to.


Steve’s book is now available through pre-order on https://publishizer.com/echo-selling/.

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