Every business owner’s ongoing challenge is to keep customers moving through their business. There are many ways to keep a business’s life line alive; here are 7 steps that have been proven to help bring about radical change within your business.
1. ‘Know’ & ‘Like’ Phase.
The ‘Know’ phase; customers need to know that you exist! The second phase is the ‘Like’ phase. “Do I like you?” This is a fairly intangible phase, no one knows exactly what this phase is comprised of due to the fact that people are bringing their own preconceived ideas. It could be that you share a culture or language, sports, a community, etc. Nevertheless, someone can determine in an instant whether they like you or not (Gut feeling).
2. ‘Trust’ Phase.
This is the phase where people open themselves up, becoming slightly vulnerable. In a commercial scene, customers give you their telephone number, email address or agreeing to a meeting. They are inviting you into their world and trusting you enough to say, “alright you can take a step closer.”
3. ‘Try’ Phase.
The most powerful phase is the ‘Try’ phase. At this stage prospective customers have the opportunity to try out whatever you are offering. An example, you could be a software company. You can have a light version/trial software that you can give to people to get a feel and understanding of what it is you offer. Encourage them to have a meeting with you where they get to see your coaching skills, resources or legal advice that you provide and determine whether it is up to scratch. Typically there is no money changing hands, it is a freebie, an investment in marketing.
If you have done the ‘Try’ phase correctly and that person has seen what you can offer and you have been communicating with them, they will have fallen in love with you. The buy phase becomes easy as it's simply a matter of getting the money to change hands. This means you are ensuring that the transaction will be seamless. The invoice is ready, credit card machine is working and you have a quote they can sign. Don’t stall at this level, it must be free flowing and simple.
In a marketing sense, the first 5 phases are the most powerful. Let’s not forget there are two more phases that are equally powerful and are often forgotten. The first of these two is the ‘Repeat’ phase. It is where a business has sold something to a consumer/customer and wants them to buy again. It could be what they purchased previously or it could be something else (more or less expensive). A repeat purchase from a customer indicates to the owner that they love what you do and are coming back for more.
The final phase, potentially the most powerful phase and most forgotten is the ‘Referral’ phase. In other words, you have customers who love what you do and they are eager to tell the world. Turn your loyal clientele into agents/ambassadors for your business while not having to pay them a cent.
7. Never skip a phase.
Those are the phases and often what people will do is they will often try to jump from the ‘Know’ phase and go straight to the ‘Buy’ phase. If you skip phases like that, you disconnect with your audience. You will only pick up those people who happen to be highly motivated to buy at that time and they’ve probably done some research on your business before meeting you. It’s seldom that people will skip phases. When these customers go through your business, the sales cycle varies. However if you're introducing someone to your business and try to go for the sale immediately, you are likely to fail. It’s better to get them to like you, once they like you, try and get them to trust you. Once they trust you, try and get them to try you and so on.
If you have a strategic step-by-step process, your ability to persuade people will ultimately increase your sales. Bare those steps in mind when you're writing an advert and always have the goal to move into the next one of those seven stages, not always going for the buy!