Research suggests that 5 – 10% of prospects are ready to buy right now. Some businesses focus on those ready to buy now and ignore the other 90 – 95%. The rest are waiting for something. Maybe they are waiting for the right time or for more information so that they are certain that they are making the best choice for them or to find the right information from the vast sea of information out in the world. Either way, that 90 – 95% are not ready to buy right now. Many businesses ignore these people to focus on the 5 – 10%. To ignore them is short-sighted when you can design a process for them to either remember your business when they are ready to buy or to speed up the timeframe in which they make a buying choice.
The first step is to understand what marketing is because many people think that marketing leads to sales. Some businesses make the mistake of pouring resources into marketing and end up disappointed or frustrated when their sales are largely unaffected. Marketing’s purpose is to:
- Let the market know who your business is (brand) and the value it provides (products and services).
- Establish a relationship, trust and credibility with the market.
- Give the market enough information so that prospects can make the best choice for themselves.
Therefore, marketing is really about building awareness in the marketplace, building a relationship with the market, and educating the market. That’s all. Marketing does not directly produce sales. Making sales offers produces sales.
What can you do with the 90 – 95% of prospects that are waiting to buy? Find out what they are waiting for and provide them with what they need. For prospects that are just looking around and are waiting for the right time to buy, keep in touch with them until they are ready to buy.
The rest feel that they don’t have enough information to make the right choice for them. They are worried about buying the wrong product or service and are waiting until they are certain of what is the best thing to buy. This is your opportunity to help them. As long as they don’t have the information that they feel that they need, they will delay buying. No one wins. Not your business, not your competitors, and certainly not the potential customer. You can help them buy sooner by providing them with the information that they feel that they need. When you do this, you are providing a helpful service of educating them so that they feel confident in their choice. Your business needs to be genuinely helpful because people can tell when there is a hidden agenda.
You are the expert in your category of products and services, not your average prospect. You have a wealth of knowledge that could be helpful to them. How can you provide your prospects with the information or education that they need to make the best choice for themselves? Would you give them brochures, information sheets, free trials, free samples, testimonials, demonstrations, educational videos or something else? Some prospects like to see how you make your products, others will want to see how your products compare to those of your competitors, and others want to get to know the key people behind the business. Speak to your prospects and find out what information they need and provide it to them.
When your prospects have the information that they need to make the best choice for themselves, they will be more likely to buy from your business. You helped them. You provided a service that saved them time and effort by doing the research for them. They may still not buy from you because they arrived at the conclusion that a different option was better for them. However, they will remember your business and may send referrals. At the very least, it improves the reputation of your business out there in the marketplace and who knows how that will come back to benefit your business.
So how can you keep in touch with your prospects until they are ready to buy? You will want to contact them on a regular basis, like a routine. The way you do this will depend on what’s appropriate for your business and your brand. It could be phone calls, email, in-person visits, monthly newsletters, greeting cards, contests, social media, sending them relevant content, inviting them to events or building a community that they and your business are a part of.
Become a farmer and nurture your prospects. Your business will reap the rewards in time.