You have a great product at a no-brainer price. Your sales copy is excellent. Traffic is coming to your website at reasonably consistent rates.
And yet: almost no one is biting.
This can be so frustrating because we know our product or service will help prospects solve their problems. We’ve spent so much time and energy making our product/service into the best solution out there.
It can feel like we’re one of those sign spinners—pointing the way, sweating in the hot sun, and dancing until our muscles ache—and no one’s making the turn.
The fact is, only 1% of prospective customers are ready to buy right now. The other 99% still have to go on a journey before they’ll be ready to buy.
Think of the customer relationship like a romantic courtship. While maybe 1% of people are ready to fly to Vegas to tie the knot then and there, most need to go through a few key steps before they’re ready to settle down.
By recognizing the buyer’s journey, you can better understand where your prospects are along that path, what they’re thinking about, and what they need from you at each stage.
1. Future Buyers
For most buyers, the journey starts when the prospect is still a “future buyer.”
These prospects aren’t comparing companies, weighing options, or picking out which color product they like. Prospects at this stage likely don’t even know that they want a product or service to begin with.
The question they’re asking (and the question you need to answer) is “why should I buy?”
Not “why should I buy from you” but “why should I buy anything in the first place?”
How do you answer this question? By highlighting the benefits of a purchase. They need to know what problem your product or service solves and why they want a solution.
This is a very different question from what most small-business owners try to answer on their websites. Their content most often focuses on choosing a vendor once the buying decision is made—but that marketing content is skipping crucial steps.
For example, if I’m selling air conditioners, at this stage I’m not talking about my appliance’s features but about the benefits of having an air conditioner. I’m talking about the discomfort of hot rooms and unsightly pit stains. I’m talking about the comfort of cool air after working in the garden all day.
If I’m an accountant, the future buyer doesn’t need to know my expertise and qualifications. They need to understand what a relief it is to let someone else manage their books and completely remove any concern about taxes.
2. Soon-to-be Buyers
The next stage is the “soon-to-be buyer.” These prospects understand the benefits of buying a product or service to solve their problems.
The question they’re grappling with at this stage is “why shouldn’t I buy?”
This is the stage when all the objections come out of the woodwork: Is it worth it? Will it be too expensive? Is it time-consuming to implement? Sure it works for some people, but will it work for me?
The information you provide at this stage should work to overcome those objections. Soon-to-be buyers need to know that the solution you’ve presented (a) will work, and (b) will work for them.
Soon-to-be buyers of air conditioners, for instance, might be concerned about how an AC unit will affect their electric bill. Effective marketing, then, would address the importance of energy efficiency, or how energy-efficient appliances can save money on electric bills in the long run.
An accountant’s soon-to-be buyers might be wondering if they actually need to pay for a professional: “Couldn’t I just have my nephew keep track of my books?” Marketing in this stage, then, could address “return on investment” and how professional management of cashflow can actually add to a business’s bottom line.
3. Now Buyers
The “now buyer” is that 1% we talked about earlier: prospects who are ready to make a purchase right now.
Their main concern is vendor selection. Now that they know they want to buy, they’re asking “who should I buy from?”
Now buyers are ready to hear what separates your product from the competition. Why my air conditioners are more energy efficient than other brands. What expertise and certifications make my accounting services first rate.
The issue is most marketing starts with this step.
While setting yourself apart from competition is important, most prospects aren’t going to care about this until they’re ready to buy.
By nurturing your prospects with the valuable information you have provided through every stage of the journey, they already trust you more than your competition by the time they make it to this stage.
The answer is simple
Why aren’t prospects buying? Short answer: They don’t know you.
A slightly longer answer: They don’t know you—yet.
The goal, then, is not to sell to the prospect right away. (You wouldn’t propose on a first date, after all!) Instead, the goal is to nurture the prospect along their journey so that when they are ready to buy, you’ve given them all the information they need every step of the way. This builds trust and makes them naturally want to buy from you.
To learn more about how to nurture your prospects, check out my ebook, Mind Your Profits.