Turn Prospects Into Customers
“How to grow your fan base and attract more followers!” The internet abounds with articles and infographics with titles like this. They promise to show you how to grow your mailing lists and increase the number of followers, tweets, and fans that you have on social media. Growing your list is wonderful. I’m all for it. It’s even better when you can convert some of those fans and followers into paying customers. As you begin to move your prospects from your social media sites through your sales funnel, you must remember that buying is a process. Understanding the process can help you turn prospects into customers
Remember when the iPod was first introduced? Did you know that you needed 1,000 songs in your pocket before Steve Jobs said you did? Then you had to have an iPod; nothing else would do. A great product launch can create a need. Most of us don’t have the advertising dollars that Apple had at their disposal. We have to find other ways to help prospects realize that they need what we have to offer.
The buying process is pretty straight forward. In fact, consumers don’t always recognize they are in a process because they sometimes make their decisions in rapid succession. The basic process typically follows this cycle:
The Buying Process
Let me give you an example. I have a friend with a food truck, Basil’s BBQ. Most days I don’t realize that I need a plate of BBQ chicken until I see is truck. One Sunday as I was walking out of church, Basil and his food truck was parked at the edge of the parking lot. Not only could I see the truck but the smell of ribs and chicken on his grill filled the air. Two of my five senses were fully engaged. I think about my options, I can purchase from Basil, go to a different restaurant or go home and cook. I quickly decided to walk across the parking lot and pick up Sunday dinner.
All buying decisions aren’t made this quickly. Typically, your prospect has to find a business to fill the need they have. On-line searches and word-of-mouth are common starting places. It’s important that you use the right keywords for your industry so that you show up in all the places where they are looking. Once a prospect finds you, they still must have a compelling reason to buy from you. What makes your product or service so special that I should give you some of my hard earned money? Answer that question and you are one step closer to a sale.
Once a prospect has finished gathering their information, they will do one of three things: buy, look for other options, or decide that they really don’t have to fill that need at this time. The reality of the buying process is no matter how compelling your message, prospects don’t always decide to buy from you right then. But if they have had a pleasant experience with you up to that point, they may keep you in mind when they do ultimately decide to fill that need.
If, however, the prospect makes a purchase, you are still not done. You have to deliver an awesome experience so they will become long term customers and raving fans. Every time I purchased BBQ from Basil, I’ve had a great experience. I hosted an event at my house and decided to serve chicken as one of the main meats. I didn’t look at any other options; I contacted Basil. He no longer has to advertise to me; I go looking for him. Wouldn’t it be great if all our customers were like that?
© 2015, Adrienne Jenkins Hunt, All Rights Reserved