Usually, I get puzzled looks as a reaction. A question that they percieved to be simple, was just uncovered as more complicated than they thought.
There is a principle that's taught in business school - one satisfied customer can yield up to 10 more customers in less time than you could build them one by one, all by yourself. Let's explore the "Why":
There are 5 stages to building a satisfied customer. They range from some one having no-awareness of your business to having a full blown evangelist that sings your praises from the roof tops. If Branding is done correctly, you'll only have to go through the initial stages of marketing once or twice to build the initial base of satisfied customers.
This is a foundational principal behind Straight Line Marketing. It helps ensure that you have the strategies necessary to take a potential customer through each stage of the customer satisfaction/buying process.
People MUST be aware of your product/service category, your business and its capability. They buy from you if they don't know you exist. It takes seeing something 7 times seeing or hearing something before the majority of humans will remember it. You must put your company out there it ways that the public will see or hear of you often and repetitively. That's not an opinion, it's science. However, if you accomplish this, many potential targets may still be largely indifferent as they may not see a need for your product or service.
Something happens in a potential customer's life or business for them to move from the awareness phase to the interest phase. You must have raised their interest proactively. To raise their interest, you have to push their buttons... to do that efficiently, you must know them. To recap - a potential customers cannot get to the interest phase if you haven't raised awareness of your brand and/or offering and when doing that, you have to raise their interest by targeting your message to their lifestyle, preferences, needs, etc. This is the point of a process where we would qualify a target as a warm lead and nurture them carefully to build their interest into hungry desire.
This is the hottest and most volatile point of the marketing and sales process - if you can take a customer through this journey and then identify when they have clearly made it into the "desire" phase of the sales process, then all you have to do is close the deal. But be warned, at this point you have done all of the hard work to build a client's awareness and interest in your product or service BUT if your product or service is not desireable enough (or your competiton is more convincing at this point) then you will lose the sale to someone else and all your effort will be wasted. You must be able to deliver on what you've promised in the first two stages.
This is the point of the sales process where a customer parts with their money. At this point the decision has already made. Here's a good example of this stage in action: you've heard how men don't "window shop" - - well, when men, traditionally, go into a store, they already know what they are going to buy and how much they are willing to pay for it. If you have built awareness of your top-notch product or service and managed to hold on throughout the process constantly nurturing your lead with care, I would hope that you would be closing your sale here. The trick here is to make this stage of the process as easy as possible. You already have them, don't lose them.
Now this part is most important, once you've gotten a customer through to this point, from a marketing stand point. The reason businesses strive for satisfied customers and not just paying customers is that a satisfied customer is more likely to take the initial step of raising awareness out of your equation for the next round of customers. A satisfied customer will sits around with their connections and makes a recommendation to their peer at a time when their peer is interested and has a need thereby cutting the time investment of the first three stages down substantially. Meaning that they can multiple customers quicker than the natural cycle starting with stage #1.
The sales cycle is intrinsic to every business. You won't invest in marketing and be rewarded overnight, but if you understand the process you are investing in, it can be a much more rewarding journey, as you wont be tempted to give up half way there. Know that it takes time because you are having to lead potential customers on this journey. But if you are proactive and use a proven process like Straight Line Marketing, you can be assured that it will be the quickest that it can be, the most efficient, and the most effective because you are investing in doing it the right way.... scientifically.
Let Reformation Productions help you through the marketing process as a local business. Call Rachel Bennett, Director of New Business, at 404.862.8814.