OK Kids, I’m back. Sorry about my erratic posting lately. You see, my wife is a teacher and those of you who either are teachers or know them, understand how crazy life gets at the end of summer. Anyway, I’m back on schedule now, so let’s continue with our discussion about Sales Funnels.
In my last post, I explained why you need a sales funnel. Today, I’m going to explain a little buyer psychology and how to overcome the one obstacle that stands between you and a sale.
We call these sales funnels (and because we’re marketers that’s how we most often use them), but the process actually works for many things. This is because it’s rooted in what I like to call Buyer Psychology. Anytime someone decides to pert with something valuable in exchange for something else, there is a process that takes place. It looks like this:
- Curiosity – This phase marks the beginning of the process. Something catches the customer’s eye and captures his or her attention. This could be an ad, an email, a story, or a referral from a friend. Whatever it is, it has worked it’s magic and now the customer wants to know more. One of the most powerful triggers of curiosity is a gift. By giving someone something for free, you break through the noise of all the other ads and offers. Noise is your main obstacle in the curiosity phase – overcome that, and you get to move on.
- Consideration – This is the second phase of the buying process. If you’ve successfully broken through the noise and attracted your buyer’s attention, he or she will now begin to consider what else you have to offer. Now it’s time to educate your customer about why your product is a good value and a good fit for him or her. One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is trying to start here. You can educate your customer until her or she is ready to listen. The other big mistake marketers make is trying to rush through (or worse yet, skip) this phase. The obstacle here is Objection. Your plan for the consideration phase must anticipate and overcome your customer’s objections.
- Commitment – Once you’ve attracted your customer’s curiosity and satisfied his or her consideration, it’s time to secure a commitment. This is where the buying happens and those of you who sell things know all too well that people will consider all day long without buying. You’ll often hear this phase referred to as “closing the deal.” I prefer to see it as gaining a commitment. Closing a deal sounds too much like a one-and-done transaction. You can almost hear Steve Miller singing “Take the Money and Run” in the background. I never intend to have just one transaction with any of my customers. I view every one as a building block of a relationship that will lead to many transactions. This is especially important since the obstacle in this phase is Risk. It’s why sales letters always end with a guarantee. Lowering the customer’s risk is the key to securing a commitment. And nothing lowers risk like a history of successful transactions from a long-term, trusting relationship.
The Buying Hump
There is a curious phenomenon that occurs at some point in the buying process. I call it the Buying Hump. Sales is an uphill process until money changes hands and then a magical transformation takes place. Studies have shown that, once a person buys something from you, he or she is 76% more likely to buy something else. This means that the key to establishing a long-term, trusting relationship is getting over the buying hump.
Traditionally, the buying hump is cleared in the commitment phase after all of the curiosity and consideration. The problem with this is that it’s hard to hold people’s attention through the first two phases against all the noise. It’s also inefficient for the salesperson, because you can put in all the hard work of attracting and educating people only to have them bail on you right before the commitment phase.
This is why I encourage you to get over the hump as early as possible and do it in the Curiosity phase. Make your gift something that is clearly of great value to your customer. Offer it for free and ask him to pay shipping or sell it for pocket change (I’m talking a total payout of less than $5.00). Remember that it doesn’t matter how small the first purchase is. Any purchase make the customer 76% more likely to purchase again.
Alright, I can already hear you saying, “I’ll lose money on that.” Whether or not you lose money depends on how good your sales funnel is. Besides, you’re likely to lose more than money by just giving things away and waiting to get over the hump later in the process without a funnel. The key to making this work is crafting a strong funnel and trusting that it will work. Then tweak it gently along the way to increase its efficiency.
How do you get customers over the Buying Hump? Share a comment and let’s talk about it.