Think about all of the various interactions your company has with customers and prospects before the sale is ever made. The big, obvious ones and those that seem minor and insignificant.

Got ’em all?

You probably identified touch points like your advertising programs, trade shows, public relations efforts, email programs, direct mailings, newsletter, the web site, sales materials, in-store displays and demos, product packaging, etc.

How about some of the less obvious touch points like your voice mail greeting, sales personnel, company-branded vehicles and drivers, your facility, the receptionist, your phone system IVR and on-hold messaging, online customer reviews, and product features and benefits? There are likely hundreds of these for your brand, each playing a role in whether or not that prospect will become a customer, and that customer will ever do business with you again.

The simple concept is this: the ways in which you engage customers and prospects before they decide to buy will determine if they buy… from you.

Strangely, though, many brand stewards don’t really think through the selling process in this way. They don’t identify all of their pre-purchase brand touch points and then prioritize them in the order of importance in driving the sale.

They don’t define a standard for how those interactions should be delivered, and they don’t systematically assess their actual delivery against this standard.

Without this process, brand managers can’t focus on delivering those critical brand touch points consistently and in alignment with the brand identity (brand identity = the strategic platform developed for the brand that essentially defines how you want your audiences to perceive and experience your brand. Establishing this helps to ensure the brand is presented consistently and with one voice).

So, how are you doing with all of this? If most managers don’t take the time to think through the pre-purchase process with this touch point mindset, doesn’t it make sense that those who do will gain a distinct business advantage? And isn’t that what you’re looking for every business day? If you need help, let us know here at 34 North.