When you are marketing a product, it is a journey. The first step is "unaware". The client may be unaware of your product, or they may be unaware of your solution to a problem that they have, or they may even be unaware they have a problem, to begin with. This stage is what most marketing programs focus on using social media, advertising, meetings, etc., on making the client aware that you exist and why they need your help.
You have succeeded in step one. Your prospect understands the nature of their problem, and they understand that you can help solve it. Now, they have to think about it. They have entered the contemplation stage. Are they going to use you to solve their problem, or will they ignore their problem and hope it goes away?
At this stage, you want to provide them with information, so they not only understand more about their problem but why they should trust you to solve it. Your goal is to get them so excited about your solution that they are ready to buy in the next six months. That stage in the journey is what this guide is about. It is about bringing your client with you on a shared vision of the problem, so they will be ready to spend money on a solution. You need to get the client emotionally aroused.
Why do we avoid salespeople?
You look for information to solve your problem on the internet, so you can avoid talking to a salesperson. Why? What's wrong with a salesperson. There's an idea that the salesperson only cares about their own needs. They don't care about your needs, and they aren't interested in your problem. So, naturally, you don't want to talk to them. They aren't going to give you a solution. Instead, they're going to convince you to spend money on something that conforms to their goals but not yours. That's the challenge. Letting them know you care and that you have a shared problem and a shared goal.
Why do so many people go to the internet for information?
While your client is in this contemplation mode, they don't want to be bothered by salespeople. They crave anonymity. The power to download or read information about a problem or a solution without any indication that they'd like to buy. They want to sit with the data and contemplate a solution to their problem. Your goal is to provide enough information to your client to get them interested and excited about your solution but not so much that they can begin to move forward with the process without talking to someone.
How do you get past the choke point that is the internet?
Essentially there's a choke point, the client has the information available to them, and they can act on that information. This is a vulnerable time in the process. They've admitted they have a problem and need help solving it, but they haven't decided you are the solution. If you start becoming too aggressive, either in person or by sending spam emails on the internet, the customer will not want to use you to help them. So instead of shifting them over to the sales team, this is the time to keep the marketing team working to convince the client that you are the solution they want.
What is the next step after contemplation?
Customers can stay in the contemplation stage for years. The goal is to use your markets to get them so emotionally aroused at your solution that they move from contemplation to planning. In the planning stage, the customer is planning on buying now. It takes a steady hand to ensure that they believe you are in this together, that you share a vision and that you are as excited as they are about delivering a solution to whatever their pain point is.
How do you know when they're ready to move to planning?
The planning stage means that they are ready to begin actively spending money to solve their problem in the next six months. This isn't the time for your sales team quite yet. The client is vulnerable. When they are ready to move to planning, they signal it by revealing themselves to you. This can happen in a variety of ways. They might call you and give you their name, they may text, or they may contact you through social media.
The goal now is to move them to the next stage by showing you understand their problem, and you're willing to work with them to solve it. There's a temptation to send your sales team in to close the sale, but they're not ready for that yet. That's what emotional arousal is about. It connects the second and third stages and makes the customer ready to spend money and be happy to spend it with you. It's a way of developing trust and a relationship with that client.
How do you emotionally arouse your client?
There's no magic answer here, but you need not to scare off your customer. We've all been in a situation where we gave our email to a company, and we are suddenly flooded with emails. That's not what we want to do. We want to let our client keep their power. Let them keep their control and slowly use your marketers to convince them that you're the right people to give them a solution. The internet has turned sales on its head, and the consumer has the bulk of the power. Let them keep it and slowly show that you can be trusted to give them the solution they need.
What next? How do I set up my prospect for success?
We're glad you asked! Check out our other blog posts to learn more about cognitive marketing.