Wooing your customer is a complicated and lengthy process. You can’t and shouldn’t do it overnight.
I’m going to be using the example of dating here to show an analogy between customer sales-cycle and the dating to marriage relationship cycle.
When you meet someone, as men, we are often tempted to race for the finish line. To get them into bed as fast as possible.
For purposes of this article, we will use men as the “Marketer” and we’ll use women as the “Customer”.
Ask any woman (or most women) and they will tell you that sleeping with somebody on the first date often ruins the chances of hearing from them ever again.
That is, unless the woman has a higher social status than the man… then…she will probably have just as much trouble getting rid of him as she would any other guy she’s not interested in for the long-term.
But in this article we’re not going to talk exceptions…more in generalities.
The process of acquiring a new customer and selling them products or services is called a sale cycle. As marketers, we’re constantly trying to shorten the sales cycle in a world where the sales cycle is ever lengthening.
This article should probably be called, “Why you shouldn’t propose on the first date”…but that’s a little more obvious, isn’t it?
Plus this headline has more click juice.
The online sales cycle that you take people through is very similar to the courtship of dating.
I’d like to illustrate the analogy between the two using this table…
|Waving Hi!||>>||The PPC or Facebook Ad|
|Asking for a phone number||>>||AutoResponder Call to Action|
|The first phone call||>>||The VSL or Sales Letter|
|The date request||>>||VSL Call to Action|
|The first date||>>||The First Sale|
|The second date||>>||The Upsell or 2nd Purchase|
|The 3rd date and sex||>>||The Core Offer|
|Proposal||>>||High End Offer VSL|
|Engagement||>>||High End Offer Purchase|
|Marriage||>>||High End Offer Delivery|
|Children||>>||Product Testimonial / Evangelist|
So how do you get customers to fall in like with you, to be ready to buy from you? That’s what this is all about, right?
You wouldn’t walk up to someone and say, “Nice to meet you, Let’s get married!”
Aside from some crazy reality TV show, that would be completely awkward and not get you the results you’re looking for.
So what should you do? One by one, let’s break down the sales cycle using the dating analogy.
I’ll tell you in advance I had a little fun with this…
So let’s get into it.
The first step in courtship is making contact. When it comes to waving hi, online this is what you would do with Pay-Per-Click Google or Facebook ads.
Your prospect sees the ad and finds it interesting so they click through to see what it’s all about.
When saying hello, this is the same as asking permission to continue with the conversation.
In marketing, this would be asking for their email. Just like in dating, if the person is not 100% physically attracted or ready for the offer…a small bribe can be used to obtain this permission.
This is called a lead magnet and it will often deliver on the promise of the Google or Facebook ad.
Now it’s time for some casual conversation, before you ask for the phone number.
In marketing, this would be the autoresponder or the drip feed emails that go out daily, weekly or on a sporadic basis.
These emails are designed to educate, entertain and demonstrate credibility.
Asking For The Phone Number
Okay, so now some casual conversation has happened… it’s time to go for the number close.
This is when someone (usually the guy) asks for a phone number.
With regard to marketing, this is a call to action either in an email or on your blog… but it usually signals that there’s a sales presentation or product offer on the other side.
Or in the words of Chris rock… Want some d**k?
Again, that’s going to be too direct… but if you’ve seen his act, you were probably thinking it too… and I just wanted to say it.
The First Phone Call
So here it is, the first phone call or in marketing, that would be your first sales presentation.
Up until now you really haven’t had any risk of rejection. What you say or do in that first presentation will determine whether or not the person goes forward or sends you back to loser-ville.
Your job is to put your best foot forward, show them why you are the best solution for their their need, problem or desire.
The Date Request
The date request is you finally asking for something from the other person.
Up until now every move other than them giving you the email has been initiated by you, now you are asking for the for sale.
This is that awkward moment where the date requester says… I’m going to be out with some friends on Friday night… you should come meet up with us, it will be fun.
And then that long awkward pause where are you really don’t know what’s going to happen and what the answer will be.
In marketing, often times people just aren’t ready yet. And really, the word “yet” is key here.
Because let’s face it, meeting someone for a beer is less commitment than breaking out your credit card for a monthly subscription.
Notice how I framed the date request in this case. Instead of saying, “would you like to go to dinner with me?”I crafted the invite to make it almost rejection proof.
First, I demonstrated social proof in that I have friends. Second, I made it light hearted and noncommittal when I said, meet up with us.
Truth be told, when I met my wife I was so busy partying as a single guy in Miami that most of this happened naturally. I was just out and about all the time.
With marketing, you want to do the same thing. You want to make your offer noncommittal without them ever really having a chance to say no. Instead of no, The answer is more like, not now.
If the person does buy from you the first time around, GREAT! But if they don’t, you want to present your offer in such way that the door is always open in the future.
Think about it this way… what if you asked the woman of your dreams out on a date and she said, “I can’t tonight I’m meeting my parents for dinner” and you said, “WELL SCREW YOU THEN!” You wouldn’t do that (hopefully) because that would ruin your chances of a future date.
The same goes for marketing. You aren’t going to call someone a loser or tell them they will never ever succeeded at anything in their life, just because they didn’t buy your product on the first go round.
As someone who has had this happen to him, not so directly, but the emotion was there, it totally ruined my relationship with the person and all I had said was that I wanted to wait for two months before committing to a $15k program with them.
Back to Casual Conversation?
So now, this is where gets a little tricky. You’ve asked for the first date or the first sale… and the person hasn’t responded. Here, you have two choices.
When a new interaction is required, like with dating, you maybe tempted to never contact them again.
But luckily in the marketing world, you can simply let your autoresponder continue to contact them and bring them back to your blog for additional content…all the while getting them more and more ready for the initial purchase.
It’s important here not to simply send them nine emails offering them the exact same thing they said no to.
That would be the equivalent of calling one time per week and saying, “Hi Judy… Ready for that date yet? No, Okay, talk to you next week!”.
Just as that wouldn’t work in the dating scenario, It’s not going to work with marketing either.
It’s very possible that your solution just doesn’t match up with your prospects need.
In the same way you are not going to be the perfect mate for every woman that you meet.
So show them your solution a different light.
Using your list of common problems, use your autoresponder emails to to bring them to your blog where you demonstrate how your solution IS the best solution for their problem.
This may take time or it may never happen.
The same goes for dating… your girlfriend or wife most definitely was not the very first woman you ever talk to.
In marketing, you need to have several prospects in the pipeline at all times.
It’s just the nature of the beast that a few will buy but most won’t.
The Second Date
Now comes the second date or the second sale or the upsell.
Let’s say that this person is now your customer. They have purchased from you once and they like what bought.
Now they want to know what else do you have?
First, it’s key that whatever they’ve purchased from you the first time was of high quality and they came back for more because they liked it.
So the upsell should just be more of what they liked the first time around. Make sense?
When selling a product or service, tests have shown that simply offering more of the same product or service is the best way to upsell.
But there’s a catch… Instead of offering the exact same thing, you offer bulk discount to buy more.
In dating, maybe your first date was an hour over beer or coffee and then a kiss on the cheek good night.
The second date could be tickets to a rock concert that is sure to be a longer more pleasurable experience and will likely end with more than a kiss on the cheek.
The Third Date and S-E-X (Yeah Baby!)
When it comes to the third date, this is you making your core offer… this is usually one of your higher-priced offers that has your most profit in it.
In dating, this is the dinner at the Space Needle or the romantic overnight at Snoqualmie Falls.
Both parties are making a significant investment in the evening. You both know each other by now.
There have been several phone calls and a few dates. Generally your core offer is between $497 and $1497 based on the current economy.
Your customer has already purchased from you on a lower level, say at a $47 one-time purchase and a $27/month subscription.
Now they are ready for the $497-$1497 sale. This will be your whole enchilada.
This is the “send it in the mail” big box that contains everything valuable that you put out to market.
This is arguably the best part of relationship. Everyone is happy and things are continuing forward as status quo.
Of course like any relationship, there will be problems. These can best be handled by having a community.
In this community, people will actually be able to get support not only from your staff but also from the other members of your program.
Just like dating, this status can go on for years and years without too much variation.
Unless you choose the wrong person…then, this period of time can be an absolute roller coaster both emotionally and physically.
We had a particular customer just recently that used our livechat service more than 70 times in one month and then asked for all of his money back.
That is an example of a bad relationship.
With your online business, you want as few bad relationships as possible.
We’ve had customers that buy everything we offer and never write in for any kind of support…other than to tell us what a great job we’re doing and how thrilled they are they’re finally making money online.
The Proposal, Engagement and Marriage
The proposal, engagement and marriage all kind of go together and are usually wrapped around a high-end offer such as a done for you implementation, specific business consulting, high-end coaching, a mastermind program or other high-priced offers.
Just like in the dating world, this is a delicate process because the stakes are very high.
A high-end offer might be anywhere from $2K to $30K in price. For many, this can be the equivalent of their entire life savings.
Just like the proposal and marriage, having children is another high-stakes venture.
If you currently have children you know that in marketing, the stakes are not as high, but, this is your reputation we are talking about.
If your customer’s happy, they will write you a testimonial and become an evangelist for your product.
Think about when you have really enjoyed a product or service. What do you do?
You tell everybody about it in hopes that they use it too.
It’s important that your customers think highly of you and respect you.
The very best way you can achieve this is to one, deliver on all of your promises.
And two, help them solve their problem be it more money, a better love life, greener vegetables, etc.
Essentially you are bringing them more of whatever they were looking for in their life.
So as you can see, having sex on the first date really gets in the way of creating a long-term relationship, both in business and in the world of relationships.
Now there are people out there that specifically target the quick-turn dollar.
I would sincerely urge you to instead create lasting relationships with your customers.
Here at NicheBuilder, we are happy to help you construct this type of business. Let us know where you are at right now, what’s holding you back and how we can help.
Until next time…stay awesome, keep learning and go forth and be fruitful!