Last week a friend of mine’s husband had six hours of dental work.
Deathly afraid of the dentist, he put his visit off so long that he needed a lot of work done.
In fact, it took six years of poking and prodding the guy to finally get him to go.
Now that might be a little on the long side of the buying cycle, but today I want you to think about when, why and how you buy stuff.
To start, do me a favor and answer the following questions:
Have you been to the dentist recently? If not, will you need to go within the next six months?
Will you go out to eat one or more times this month? What about this week?
Could you see yourself buying a new electronic device—a computer, TV, stereo, or phone for example in the next 6 months to one year?
For some reading this, you might be looking to buy a new computer right now, others might be thinking in the next year they want to upgrade.
You most likely will eat out at least once this month. And go to the dentist in the next six months to get your teeth cleaned and checked (unless, of course, you are like my friend’s husband.)
The point is everyone is at different places in life’s continuous array of buying cycles.
And so are your customers. Some are looking for your products or services right now. Some don’t need them right now, but down the line, in six months to a year for example, they will need what you offer.
It’s difficult to exactly pinpoint when necessity, your marketing or some other force is going to push them into buying mode.
Now let me ask you a question…
Let’s say your car breaks down today. Who would you be more likely to choose to repair your car?
Would you choose:
a) The dealer you bought your car from that you haven’t heard from?
b) An auto-repair shop you’ve driven past a few times?
c) The auto-repair shop that sent you a free report on how to keep your auto repair costs down and has been sending you tips to keep your car running better for the past several months?
d) The auto-repair shop that you found by doing a search on the Internet?
Chances are you would pick “c”, the repair shop sending you tips because you’ve started to get to know them. Maybe you even used a tip or two that helped you, which makes you trust them a bit more.
In other words, you are starting to build a relationship with them.
Understanding that buyers are continually in different places in the buying cycle will help you understand the importance of having a lead generation system in place. And understanding that if they have a relationship with you, then they are more likely to do business with you when they are ready to buy will help you capture more leads, sell more product and keep you booked solid.
Here are five things we do at GKIC that you can do in your business to continually introduce people to our business, establish a relationship with them and be ready when they are ready to buy.
1) Always have something to invite people to. This can be a webinar, an open house, a tele-seminar, a live event…and so on. Pick a topic or idea that relates to your product or service and get started. This helps you connect with many potential clients all at one time.
2) Build a community. Communities are powerful because they give people a sense of belonging to something and that they are not alone. From a business standpoint, communities build credibility by establishing that other people like you and trust you. Holding an event , creating a forum or getting them to “like” your Facebook page allows people to connect and engage with you.
3) Keep your name in front of your prospects by providing valuable content. Once a lead is in your system, your objective is to create content that will keep your products, services and brand in front of them. The key here is to give away something that your prospects perceive as having value–something that will benefit them or solve their problems.
4) Have multiple points of entry. Create multiple ways to introduce people to your products and services. One point of entry might be through your website. You can also use free reports, books, events, referral strategies, speaking engagements, articles written for publications in your niche or industry as points of entry.
5) Use a variety of media formats. Once you have figured out different points of entry, send content in a variety of formats so that you are sure to hit your customers’ communication preference.
Let me explain. When I’m communicating with different friends and business associates, some are more likely to pick up the phone when I call, while others prefer a text message. Dan Kennedy, he prefers something by fax. Others will be more likely to answer my email. And some respond best when I mail them a personal note.
Your customers are like that too. They will be more likely to respond to different types of media than others. For example, one customer might be more likely to download a free report from an email while another will be more likely to respond to the free report if the offer is sent through the mail. That said, this doesn’t mean you pick one media that you think they are most likely to respond to—otherwise you will miss a whole segment of your audience.
Remember to get more clients and make more sales, you need to have a lead generation system in place that will continually supply you with potential buyers in different stages of the buying process. Create a system that starts the conversation and makes a connection, and when it’s time for them to buy, you will be the only logical choice.
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