Do you remember your first car?
Lately I find myself dreaming about a new car. While I have fully enjoyed the functionality of my mini-van, my inner self is screaming to be shown in something stylish that hugs the road. You don’t have to tell me, I already know the sigh and judgmental look that comes the minute I confess my ride is a mini-van. It’s okay, I have embraced this phase of my life but it’s time to move on to some sporty style.
My first car was a red Camaro, she was used but had kept all her good looks, could still take every curve and when I drove her off the parking lot she was 100% mine. Do you remember your first car? I bet you didn’t find that car on your own. A good car buying story always includes some buddies, a dad, maybe your network of trusted friends and family or even co-workers. I would guess you could think of many purchases you have made that included any one of these key people.
The first car I wanted was a SAAB. It was pretty and had shapely curves, it just looked classy, but of course I had not met my Camaro yet. Do you know I would have never met my Camaro, if not for the input from my dad. He knew a lot about cars and I trusted him. Dad knew just what to say so I would walk away from the only used SAAB left on the lot, and keep moving toward a car that would be a better fit for me. I have come to rely on those I trust when I want to make a purchase.
Major purchases require major input
I have noticed how others do the same. Like my good friend trying to buy a house. Do you know how she found her mortgage lender? Well silly, me, of course! I referred her to him, because I too just bought my first house and he guided me through that process with a level of customer service that is rare to find any more. It happens that I also referred her to my fabulous real estate agent, by my girlfriend was already excited about the one she already knew. That’s okay, it is good when you have choices but oh the influence of your friends, family and those in your network when you are looking to buy! Priceless.
I have had such good luck with referrals when making large purchases, I have expanded my influencers to include those in my local community. Those bats I can hear in my rafters, yeah, those creepy things really need to go but I don’t want to just grab a name out of the yellow pages or off Yelp. I asked for referrals on my hometown FB page, like so many others do on a daily basis. When I see those referrals by my local community I start saving their names, so I know who to call when my insurance is up for renewal or when I need a new internet provider or when I want to rid my yard of pesky ticks and mosquitos. In truth, I can see how people influence buying decisions in my professional network as well.
Referrals at work
Professionally I have experienced high level Executives requesting referrals when making buying decisions. For instance, when Healthcare Directors and CTO’s are deciding on high level IT solutions, they invest many hours in understanding what others are doing in their industry. With tight budgets and more work then staff, understanding what solutions make the most sense for business and what is working for others is critical. I could always count on the buying process to potential customers including a call to my current customer as a reference about what solutions were working best and the service levels we were providing. My current customers served as vital influences on what future business I could close.
Are you missing out on the valuable influencers all around you or do you do the same when making a purchase? You can answer, but I already know you do. The proof is all around me, but if you’re more of an analytics person the supporting statistics can easily be found. I prefer what experience shows me. Someone should really figure out a way to capitalize on all of our experience, don’t you agree!
I would love to hear about your stories, if you would dare to share. When have you counted on those in your network to be a part of your buying process? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org