We all know it is important to feed the pipeline of future orders regularly, and that we should do some kind of marketing every day. Since many of us do not regard ourselves as marketers, that can be a daunting prospect, but here’s a way to keep it short and sweet and perhaps increasingly interesting.
The Huthwaite company notes a typical buying cycle in which the client returns to buy again. It is the salesperson’s job to move the client up through the stages.
- Recognition of needs
- Evaluation of options (including your product/service)
- Resolution of concerns (and an explicit recognition of their need for you)
- Decision to buy
- Changes over time
- Recognition of needs …
If we, as reluctant marketers, make it our business to spot the stage our contacts are in as they talk to us, we can give them a single prod towards the next stage. Recognizing the stages, and developing an arsenal of prodding strategies can become an absorbing game whose outcome is sufficiently delayed to remove the pressure.
For example, questions like, how is that working for you? prompt people to notice that something could be better. Comments like, tell me about that … would X help? prompt them to notice that you offer a possible resolution to their needs. Questions like, what’s stopping you from dealing with this? can remind them to make a buying decision.
By spreading these questions over time, you make the approach habitual and increasingly comfortable. Not only will this relieve the pressure all round, it will genuinely feed client relationships, making it more likely they will turn to you sooner next time.
So stay alert: where in the cycle is the next person you speak to?