Do your customers really need you?

In today’s fast paced world, the customer is more powerful than ever. Information is easily accessible, and customers have a multitude of choices. So what makes your business so different? It’s all too easy to get caught up in your own world, whether it’s the quality of your product or your service, the customer is none the wiser if you’re not on their shopping list.

Today, customers are almost 70% through their buying process before they are ready to engage with a salesperson. That means, they’ve just about decided what they want, who they want it from and for what price – all that’s left to do is validate those decisions – touch and feel the product, speak to a salesperson about the service, and make the final commitment.

In this age of customer power, how do you make it on the short list? Quite simply, you have to create a need. A very visible example of this is Apple with their iPhone and iPad - they are expert in creating a need that once didn’t exist.

On a smaller scale, this technique is equally as powerful. To stand out from the crowd and make yourself or your business utterly essential, you must engage with your audience. Give them the information they are searching for. Start with unbiased, valuable content that will help them. Suggest resources they will value. Update them on features and services they’ll appreciate.  Open their world to new ideas. Make the unknown, known. And occasionally, make them an offer too good to refuse. Maybe one day they’ll accept.

Whatever your channel - email, social media or web - when someone from your target market gives you permission to communicate with them, through an opt-in of sorts, make the communication count. Don’t immediately pounce with sales messages; instead prepare the lead to the point that it is sales-ready – that’s the 70%.

In the trade, this is called lead nurturing. But really it’s just good business sense.

 

I'd love to know your thoughts on this, so please share your nurturing strategies. How do you identify when a lead is sales-ready? Do you use any tools to help?

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