The Buyer’s Journey

Buying-cycleWhether you are a business to consumer retail store or a business to business professional services company, customers buy from you for a reason. How do you help a potential buyer on their journey from awareness to purchase?

Establishing relationships and rapport to generate trust in a product or service is the first step in the sales cycle. Once that trust is earned, you must work hard to keep that customer. They become your cheerleaders in telling others why to use your services.

How often do you see on Facebook or other social media channels – “hey I need a good _____, can anyone recommend someone?” You want that recommendation to be your business or service. Those recommendations come from not only satisfied customers, but also from loyal customers and there is a difference.

Loyal customers visit your store often or rely on your expertise for professional service delivery and/or advice. Do you offer those loyal customers something special? We see it in restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores and retail chains. VIP status, free beverage with a purchase, special coupons. What are you doing to keep your loyal customers happy? How are you making them feel special?

Buying Cycle Steps

There are three steps to the buying cycle – awareness, consideration and purchase. These are things to keep in mind as you seek new customers. People need to know about your product or service before they can consider purchasing from you. So how are you putting your business out there? Are you advertising in the right place? Do you network with potential clients? Are you hanging out where your customers are? This includes social media. If you want to attract a younger audience, you might consider using Snap Chat. A business service may focus on LinkedIn.

What’s the hold up in your customers’ buying decision? Maybe they need to see your offerings in a different light. Perhaps they need to justify the financial investment you’re asking them to make or better understand how others have benefited from using your offerings.

Here are some things that may help move from new customers through the sales cycle.

  • Send them articles, case studies or interviews with industry experts that are relevant to them. This helps to demonstrate your knowledge in the industry or vertical trends.
  • Offer to provide an assessment or a one hour consultation. This allows for some face-to-face interaction to uncover what the potential customer’s pain points are that exist.
  • Provide them with a payback analysis tool. Show them how to use an ROI calculator to determine the $$ they will make/save using your offering.

Understanding why your business is different that someone down the street offering similar services and creating a brand that conveys that message will be key to leveraging your unique selling proposition and closing the sale.

Sometimes the timing just isn’t quite right in the purchase cycle, but those regular touches with potential customers will help to keep your product or service top of mind when it’s time for the purchase to occur. Patience and persistence with targeted messaging is key to business growth.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business growth.