Water Slide

What’s better than a horse? Part 2

Part 2: Understand your sales funnel and own it, from top to bottom

In case you’re not familiar with the concept of customer journey, any customer (/potential customer) can be said to go through a number of awareness stages before they complete their purchase. This is the case whether it’s a long-researched drawn out purchase decision (my latest running headphones) or an instant even whimsical purchase decision (my cup of tea on the way to the train station this morning). It just happens with the latter that it all happens much quicker. This is one view on these stages:

  1. Unaware: The customer has no idea they have a problem (or a need or an opportunity), so they’re not interested in finding a solution either.
  2. Pain/Problem-aware: A customer enters this stage once they realise they have a pain/problem — for example, if you’re selling a cough medicine, then your potential customer is in this stage when they notice they cough a lot. They may or may not be looking for solutions though, so it may still not be the best time to make them an offer, but it is a good time to start educating them on, for example, the risks of leaving that cough untreated.
  3. Solution-aware: Once your potential customer realises that they should fix the problem / take care of the pain, they start looking for solutions. At this stage, they are probably waging all the different solutions they can find, and yours may or may not be one of them.
  4. Your Solution-aware: Now, your potential customer is aware of you and your solution too, they’re just unsure whether it’s the right one for them.
  5. Most aware: Your customer knows all they need to know, they want your solution, they’re ready to buy, they just need to know what the deal is.

Obviously, with an innovative offer that satisfies a need that your customers aren’t aware of yet, you can’t simply jump in at any stage and hope to ‘take over’ and complete a sale. You need to start from the top, either at unaware or pain/problem-aware stages, and educate them all the way down to the point of buying.

But the problem there is, you invest all this time in educating them, they come out of that education and inevitably a portion of them will say: “I love that, thank you so much for telling me about this new concept (motor car, cough syrup, peer board…). I’m going to google it now and see where I can find the best one.”

Basically, what they’re telling you is: “Now I know about it and I know you sell it, but I don’t know that you sell the best one. You sold me on the concept, now I’m going to do my own research.”

As it happens, that’s exactly the challenge we’re facing with the peer boards we run. Most people don’t know what a peer board is, what a mastermind group is, so part of our sales process is getting them to come to a free taster session. Once they come along, they finish with: “Well that was amazing, I really enjoyed it”, and then some will sign up, some will say: “I just wanted to look around”, and inevitably some will drift away.

That’s the nature of it when you’re selling ‘the new’; you won’t end up signing up everyone who gets to learn about your product/service, but that doesn’t entirely mean there’s nothing you can do about it.

Out of all those who would normally drift away, there’s a portion of people who are just reluctant to commit because they need some sort of reassurance — and your job then is to give them that reassurance and make it as easy for them as possible to decide to sign up and close the cycle.

You could tell them, for example: “Well you could go shop around, or I can tell you right now we’re competitive. I can give you a price guarantee, or service guarantee; or, we don’t lock you in; or, I’ll give you an extra month (or a free pencil case or something, as long as it makes sense for both you and them) if you sign up on the spot now”.

What exactly you will tell them depends on how pushy you want to be with sales, but the point is, it’s your responsibility to come up with a way to help them make the decision right away. Whenever I hear someone telling me that what we do is fantastic, that they definitely know they want to join in but they just need a little bit of time to get their head around it — I know that’s me failing at my job of making it easy for them.

The thing is, these challenges are real and it takes quite a lot of preparation and planning to make it through to the other side. But once you do, you will have a horde of well educated customers who ‘get it’, and not only need, but also consciously want what you offer — and if you’re good at what you do, they will continue to want it and to recommend it.

I am genuinely interested to know what are your challenges with educating your target market on your offer, and if you’ve overcome them, how you do it.

Don’t be shy to share your story. If one business had a certain challenge, chances are there’s at least one other business owner struggling with the same thing and we can all grow faster and in a more steady way if we all helped each other. (This by the way is the fundamental concept behind the whole Boardroom!).

Or perhaps think about coming to one of our free board taster sessions, finding out more about our innovative peer boards, and sharing your own stories and experiences in person?

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