When people buy from you, they go through 5 stages:
If they have never heard of your name / your brand, they won’t come to you. Awareness building is what a great deal of marketing activity is really about.
Someone who is going through the qualification process. As all Sales Managers know, businesses must have a ‘pipeline’ of potential customers that they have identified, talked to and qualified.
Someone who has bought from you once. Money has changed hands on a single occasion. Therefore this is ‘transactionally based’. This means that there probably won’t be a deep relationship (yet). If you have been in business for some time – you may well have a significant number of ‘dormant customers’. Recommendation: go back and start communicating with them again. Remember: It’s five times less expensive to sell to a customer, as it is to a stranger.
The next stage is to turn customers into clients – through repeat business. This may include up-selling (i.e. increasing the size of the sale) and cross-selling (i.e. selling them something else).
A handful of customers, a larger percentage of clients and some of your (non-client) friends will become Advocates. These are the people who recommend you. Everyone loves referrals. The question is: do you have a referral system in place?
Written by small business marketing consultant Nigel Temple.