Seven Steps to Heaven
No matter what business you’re in, in some sense you’re in the relationship business. This becomes especially critical when you do business online, where you don’t necessarily have much face-to-face contact. Your ultimate job description—whether you realize it or not—is about cultivating and transforming relationships with your customers. In this piece, we will be zooming into this process to see it up close and in person.
Is “transformation” too woo-woo of a word? I don’t think so. Not when we’re talking about going from relating to someone as a stranger in step one, to a client-for-life in step seven. No matter what you call it, that’s a big shift. You’re basically going from no-trust to trust, from no-belief to belief, from not-knowing to knowing, from suspicion to faith. This kind of major change can be called transformation.
The seven steps are a series of conversions. At each step, there is increased understanding, trust, and loyalty. The conversions are in the quality of your relationship with your prospects, moving them along toward becoming clients.
The process begins in complete unawareness. Most people in the world will probably remain unaware of who you are, unfortunately!
In the first step, your customer avatar becomes aware of you, but still sees you as a stranger.
Once they become Intrigued–which needs to happen at the outset or very early on–they begin thinking about you and how you might be able to help them.
Through Attraction, they decide to visit—either in person or online.
Next, you Give them something. This first act of generosity helps them feel some good will toward you and gives them a chance to assess whether what you have has any value for them.
Converting them into a Customer changes your relationship from one based around free giving (and taking) to money exchange. Making the first thing they buy from you both extremely valuable and low-priced helps this process along. It’s important to understand they still may not trust you very much and see what you’re selling as a commodity.
Customers become Clients when they begin to trust you more and when they begin to see what you do as uniquely valuable. This is where an upsell (often immediately after their first conversion) can work.
Your Client becomes a Client-for-Life when she or he prefers your products and services, continues to buy from you again and again, and often in larger amounts.
The best way to get through these conversions is as fast as possible—but no faster. Trying to “rush things” may leave them feeling pursued and then they want to run away. It’s like dating. Don’t ask them to marry you on the first date. Instead, every step must be an attraction, where they continue increasing their interest in you and what you offer, always feeling that they are in control of the process. This is not a process (in their mind) of you selling to them. When they are ready, they will buy from you.
The better your relationship with them and the more valuable they see what you offer, the more they will buy and more frequently they will buy.