Monday, June 13, 2016

May I introduce you to customer type AH4RJ?

AH4RJ defines a customer who appreciates help for rational justification.  As a seller, you can add value to this customer if you help with this rational justification. However, this help is only appreciated if it is given from an attitude of service and contribution.

I discovered this customer type AH4RJ while reflecting whether the statement: « B2B decisions are rational and B2C  decisions are emotional » is true.  I came to the conclusion that this statement is false and here is why.

Your decision dynamics as a Consumer
Just think how you as a consumer take decisions. Some of them are simply rational. For example, I cannot see much emotion in the decision that you have to buy gas for your car. Other decisions are simply emotional. You buy something on impulse with no further reflection as long as the purchase fits well in your budget of discretionary spending. For these two simple cases, you do not need the help of a seller.

Then there is a third type of decision which is initially emotional but then needs rational justification.
You make this type of decision when there is a perception of risk or fear. Before making a major investment like buying a house, you will need answers to questions such as:
·         Can I afford to pay the mortgage?
·         Is my job situation stable enough?
If family members are affected by the buying decision, you also might need a rational justification to gain a consensus. Here a seller can add value by helping the consumer going through this rational thought process.

Your decision dynamics as a Buyer in a business context
If you buy on behalf of a business, there are simple rational decisions.  Routine or replacement purchases can be made without further justification; unless there are doubts about the initially made principal decision. For these simple decisions, it is hard to imagine that a seller can add any value to the decision-making

However also in the business context, there are more decisions which are initially emotional and then need a rational justification. Complex buying can be understood as a change management process.  This process usually starts with frustration (emotion) about the status quo. The purchasing decision can only be made with a rational justification. We might think this justification is imposed by business rules. Also in this context, the basic need for a rational justification is founded on perceived risk and fear. The purchaser wants to minimize the risk of ever being accused of having made a bad purchasing decision. Sellers can add value to the buyer as a person by facilitating the thought process leading to the rational justification.

 Sellers need not bother whether they sell in a B2B or B2C context. In both environments, they have to look out for the AH4RJ customer who appreciates help for rational justification.  To these customers, they can provide value if help is given with a mindset of service and contribution.  Dealing with customers not appreciating or needing this help for rational justification is a waste of time.  Many of them are anyway no longer accessible to sellers. These customers buy from automates and e-shops.  

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