It all seems so simple. Bait the hook with a tasty ad, cast your line into a stream of eager buyers, and reel in the sales. What could be easier?
So you try it and guess what... you don't land a single sale, not even a nibble.
Well somebody's to blame. Must be where you placed your ad... "guess nobody reads that rag." Or maybe it was the ad... "time to get a new ad guy." You've got to blame somebody, right? Actually, no.
I can't tell you how many times I've lived through this exact scenario. Yes, this exact scenario. Fact is, prior to that first "tasty" ad placement, those "eager buyers" had probably never heard of the company in our example.
So what's the secret to achieving strong results from your marketing efforts? It's not really a secret, rather more of a process we call the Psychology of Buying.
Whether you're selling aircraft carriers or toothbrushes, the phases of the Psychology of Buying process are always present. More importantly, though, the length of buying cycle varies between different products and situations. You can't jump from unawareness to action and cheat the system. Try it and you won't even get a nibble when you cast your line into the stream. It just doesn't work that way. Prospects always proceed through these phases in a linear (1..2..3..4..5) way.
Phase 1: UNAWARENESS
Prospective customers are totally unaware of your company, your products and/or services, and potentially may not even know that the solutions you offer are even available.
Phase 2: AWARENESS
Here the prospect is aware that your company exists within the marketplace but still has no concept of the solutions you offer and how they compare to competitors in the market space.
Phase 3: COMPREHENSION
By this time your prospect now understands your company, products and/or services. He/she is actively comparing your offerings to those of your competitors in order to determine which is most suitable for his/her needs.
Phase 4: CONVICTION
At this level the prospect is sold on your brand, your company, products and/or services. Though maybe not in the market at the moment they have made the determination that your company is on a short list of firms he/she will contact the next time a need arises.
Phase 5: ACTION
The prospect has a well-defined need and is actively looking to make a purchasing decision, and if you've done a good job of communicating your value proposition to that prospect, you're busily vying for the sale. How you properly navigate through that stream of buyers to land the big fish is a topic for another post.
For now, familiarize yourself with the five Psychology of Buying phases. Then, think about the markets you serve, the frequency and quality of your communication efforts in those markets, and determine which of the five phases best defines how prospective customers perceive your products within each market.
We can work from there to help you push your prospects to the phase that really matters... ACTION!