Monday’s Power Keynote sessions included a hard-hitting and entertaining presentation by David Avrin, CSP, with Visibility International. Avrin, popularly known as The Visibility Coach, is the author of It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You! and Visibility Marketing!

Avrin’s presentation focused on what he says is the biggest source of lost revenue for sales organizations—the sales opportunities that no one ever knew about. Examples of sales that never happened included customers who may have clicked away from a website, failed to leave a voice message or, after visiting a storefront, left without engaging with an employee.

With his characteristic humor and irreverence, Avrin discussed the cultural shift that is under way from a selling culture to a buying culture. He explained that the age of the salesperson describing features and benefits to prospective customers is over; clients are now accustomed to educating themselves online. In fact, individuals have become so used to buying products without a salesperson, some industries, such as real estate and car sales, have experienced a backlash against salespeople, who are often viewed as unnecessary intermediaries.

To adapt in this environment, Avrin says that it is critical for businesses to create a brand identity that communicates that the organization is the best choice for something or someone. Avrin explains, “Your brand is simply the way you want to be thought of. It doesn’t have to be a complex methodology.”

Taking it a step further, Avrin says that businesses must deliver the brand through customer experiences that are worth sharing. As he put it, it used to be that customers who had a positive experience would tell three people and that those who had a negative experience would tell 10 people. With the power of social media and online reviews, both positive and negative experiences are shared with thousands of people. He joked that he tells his children, “What is the difference between love and the internet? The internet lasts forever.”

According to Avrin, the most critical step in creating customer experiences—not to be confused with customer service—is to analyze every touchpoint to make sure that your organization is easy to do business with. The key is to ensure that processes are tailored to the clients’ needs, not the needs of the business or its employees. He says, “Ask yourself, ‘Is that the way we should be doing it? Is it special? Can it be expedited?’”

In addition, Avrin encouraged the audience to frame all marketing initiatives around the parameters of the customer experience, using social media to amplify, not replace, traditional marketing. “But you have to be interesting,” he warns. “Following a business online is not exciting, so you have to give customers a reason and incentives to share your story to create ambassadors for your brand.”

“The real opportunity going forward is in video,” says Avrin. “YouTube is the No. 2 search engine behind Google. Share content and case stories, ask for referrals and give them something to remember. Anonymity is your biggest competitor.”