How to succeed online? Be a butcher!

By Anders Björklund

How to succeed online? Be a butcher!

It's Friday afternoon, and I stand in the queue to my local butcher. As I approach the counter, I notice that the customer in front of me is greeted with a polite smile and the question "Should it be the usual?". "Yes please, and also some cold cuts since I have friends visiting this weekend". When it is my turn, I am greeted with a happy "Hi Anders!",  followed by a chat about my favourite football team.

This butcher never comes up with irrelevant topics or suggestions to his regular customers. Next Friday, he will ask me how the dinner turned out last week. We will talk about football and family, and again I will leave the shop with a smile. For him, it's easy to offer a great buying experience. Why? The answer is simple. This butcher knows who his regular customers are and what we expect.

As an "expert generalist" in B2B sales and digitalisation, I often get the question: "How should we do business in a digitalised world?". My answer is that it all starts by answering a couple of things. 

  • How should it feel to do business with us?
  • With whom are we doing business? And how do customers want to be treated?
  • How do we want to be perceived? What do we need to evolve?

The butcher, in my example, has decided how he wants to be perceived and follows this to the letter. Also, he has made an effort to get to know me and knows how I want to be treated. He has made it easy and pleasurable for me to be a customer.

By being more like the butcher, you will get ahead of a large proportion of the world's largest companies when it comes to treating customers. In many companies, enormous resources are wasted daily by solving other problems than the most basic: what does the customer want?

Do you think that there is a big difference between a small butcher shop in Gothenburg and global digital B2B sales? It's not. 

Because in the end, we are all just people, whether we have a screen between us or not. And, as humans, we want to be respected, feel prioritised, and get the help that makes our lives easier—regardless of whether it is artificial intelligence or a human being who is trying to satisfy us.

How you achieve business success in a digitalised world is determined by your capability to adapt to customer needs. So, if you want to succeed online—get to know your customers and offer them what they want and need. 

In other words, be like my butcher!

Take a quiz! Have fun and good luck.


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Anders Björklund
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B.
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