In Part 1 we discussed The Universal Marketing Message, which is 'I Sell X! Call me,' and why that marketing message is so weak and ineffective.
In Part 2 we shared the concept of distinct stages in everyone's buying process, and how you must match your message with the buying stage your prospects are in.
We told you what your prospects are searching for in Stage 1, and what you should offer them to get their attention and response.
Today we'll cover the remaining stages. Once you have a firm understanding of this multi-stage buying concept, you'll clearly understand why the Universal Marketing Message almost always fails. You'll also have much greater opportunities for marketing success.
Stage 2: Information about your specific solutions
Now that you have attracted your prospects by offering them information about their problem, and possibly some information about general solutions, it's time for you to provide information about your particular solution.
This is the stage where they want to know why they should buy your solution instead of someone elses. What makes your solution better, easier, less expensive, more convenient, etc.?
Remember, they need information in order to make a buying decision.
You do this in your follow-ups, which is why it so important for you to get your prospects follow-up information in the first stage.
You can provide printed information about your product or service in the form of a brochure, spec sheets, info-pak, presentation, etc.
But sampling is another important form of information about your product or service. Your prospects want to know how good your product or service is, and sampling or a free trial is often one of the best ways to communicate this to them. Let them experience it and see for themselves.
I'm sure you've seen vendors in food stores offering free samples of their products to shoppers. Very often those shoppers will be so impressed with the product that they will purchase it right then and there -- especially if the vendor has provided an additional incentive for doing so, like a coupon, which we'll cover in the next stage.
Can you ever skip Stage 1 (Problem Information), and go directly to Stage 2 (Specific Solution Information)?
Great question. Yes, in some situations you can.
If your prospects are already very familiar with all the general types of solutions available to them, then they may very well skip Stage 1 and begin searching for information about specific solutions.
If that describes your prospects, then you may be able to attract them just as well with free samples or trials, rather than information about their problem and general solutions.
Some examples of businesses that would fall into that category would be, a restaurant (they could offer a complementary meal to new customers), a candy store could offer a complementary box of candy, a magazine publisher could offer a free trial subscription, etc. Only people who are interested in those products or services would respond.
As always, only testing will tell you which way will be best for your business.
Stage 3: Information about your specific offers
Now that your prospects have been attracted to your business with information about their problem, general solutions available and/or specific information about your solution, now it's time for them to consider which business is making the most appealing offer.
Now that they feel educated about what is available, they want to make sure that they get the best deal.
Now, that doesn't always mean the lowest price. It means the best overall value.
They'll want to know if they can they get more value for their money by buying from you.
Do you have better quality, customer service, convenience, speed, variety, etc.? Is it easier to buy from you? Are their other benefits to buying from you, like a continuity program (buy 9 get the 10th one free), etc.
This is where you make your specific offer to them.
You can offer a special discount for new customers, or you can include a bonus or bonuses with their first purchase.
You can offer coupons, gift certificates, buy one get one free, get a free gift with purchase, etc.
There are many options when it comes to offers--more than can be covered in this article.
The bottom line is, if you have done a good job in attracting new prospects to your business with Stage 1 and 2 methods, then you must do a good job in Stage 3 by presenting them with effective offers.
As with everything in our Give to Get approach the foundation of each stage is based on what your prospects are searching for at that point in their buying process.
Give it to them, and they will respond, If you don't give them what they are searching for, they won't respond. It's as simple as that.
Stage 4: Confirmation
Once you have gotten the first sale, you are not done yet.
At this stage, your new customers will evaluate their buying experience with you to determine if they will buy from you again or continue in their search for a better supplier.
Did you fulfill everything you promised -- and then some?
Did you treat your prospects and customers like they want to be treated?
If your new customers were unhappy with their purchase, or have a problem that needs to be resolved, did you do that in a positive, friendly and professional manner?
In most types of businesses, the real profit comes from the additional sales in the future, not from the initial sale. So, it's important that your relationship is strengthened at this point, not weakened.
It's amazing how many businesses fall down at this point.
You should know what percentage of your new customers come back again and again, as well as the percent that never come back after the first sale. Those are your current benchmarks to beat.
The name of the game is then 'Beat the Benchmarks.'
Survey your customers to get their first-hand experience in buying from your business. Try to make the survey process anonymous, or you may not get very truthful information.
Then, once you find out what areas your new customers feel you need to improve, start improving your systems and you will begin to get improved results.
As you've now learned, The Universal Marketing Message is not something you want to use in your marketing plan.
Your prospects have a multi-stage buying process and they are looking for different information at each stage.
The key to an effective marketing strategy is to design your marketing efforts to provide your prospects with exactly the right kind of information they are searching for.
Offering them Stage 3 information when they are in Stage 1, will result in them ignoring your marketing altogether.
Match the information you offer to their searching stage and you will make a strong connection. They'll get what they want, and you'll get what you want. That's what Give to Get is all about.
By Joe Gracia
Copyright 2000-2016 by Joe Gracia - All Rights Reserved.