Hey Rainmaker, there’s one thing I do that almost always sets me apart in terms of copywriting and marketing strategy…
And this is, admittedly, a very simple concept to grasp. But not always easy for the average person to practice, unless they’ve — well — practiced it!
I do something called “stepping into the shoes of the other.”
Or, in simpler terms, I try to get inside my customer or client or reader’s head. I try to ignore any of my own biases or viewpoints or beliefs… And try to see the world from their perspective.
What do I know?
What do I believe?
How do I feel?
Those are just the start of the questions. The more you can put yourself into the mind of your prospect or customer, the better a marketer you can become.
All the way back to The Robert Collier Letter Book, the first edition of which was written almost a century ago… One of the primary directives for creating effective advertising has been to “enter the conversation already taking place in your customer’s head.”
In a moment, I’m going to to show you how this applies to mapping out your customer’s lifetime of relationship with your business, in order to identify multiple leverage points to accelerate profits…
First though, I just want to underscore how important this is in everything you do.
One of the things that jumped out at me from the very top copywriters on stage at AWAI was how many mentioned the difference between SYMPATHY and EMPATHY. And how important it is in marketing to have EMPATHY, not sympathy.
This is really important.
And it’s part of the message about customer relationships, so bear with me a moment.
To have sympathy for someone means that you have compassion for them. You care about how they are feeling. If they are sad, you are sorry they are feeling sad. If they are happy, you are happy to see them happy. When you are feeling sympathy, you are in the position of outside observer of their feelings.
Empathy is a totally different experience. To have or practice empathy means you actually crawl into the feelings of another, and experience them as if they were your own. You’re not an outside observer — you’re an inside observer.
Example. A close friend of yours has a loved one pass away.
To feel sympathy for that person is to look at them feeling sad, and feel sad that your friend is sad.
To feel empathy is to really set aside all your personal thoughts and feelings and step into their perspective and their emotions and feel that loss of a loved one as if it were your own.
Sympathy can be done fairly passively. Empathy is an active process, and requires much more energy and commitment.
If you want to put together marketing that really gets inside your reader and moves them, it starts with empathy…
Now let’s talk about how this process of getting inside your reader’s mind and feelings can help inform how you treat them at every step of your relationship with them — and lead to much greater profits!
Here’s the thing. Your customer has feelings about you, too. About your market, about your business, about your products, about your service. About the problems your products solve, and yours and others’ solutions to that problem.
The more you can get inside your customer’s head at every step of the relationship, the more powerfully you can serve them. And the more powerfully you serve them, the more profits they will give back to your business in exchange.
With this in mind, it pays to know the typical customer lifecycle or relationship path through your business.
And once you have that path down, it pays to know not only what you want to do at each step to keep the customer moving forward, but what the customer thinks and how they feel about what they need to move forward.
Because ultimately it doesn’t matter what you want — if you don’t motivate the customer to move forward by their own will, your business will underperform.
So, let’s dive into what is a pretty universal description of the customer lifecycle, and what your customer is thinking every step of the way.
A customer starts with no knowledge of your business, products, or services…
At this point they may have a problem, need, want, or challenge. They want a solution, or something that fulfills their need.
But they don’t know who you are, and may not even know that a business like yours exists.
As they start to sense or recognize or gain clarity on the change or outcome they want, they are starting down the purchase path.
They may not even recognize this yet, though. At this point, they’re mostly looking for information.
Before they even really want a solution to the problem, they want clarity. They want to understand the problem, its implications, its nature, how it can be overcome, and so on.
To capture their attention at this point, you don’t make an offer — at least not to make the sale. Rather, you reach them by pointing them to ways to answer their questions, alleviate their pains, or understand the challenge they want to overcome, and start to understand that it can be overcome.
Then the customer gets their first exposure to you…
Again, at this point they are not in “buying mode.”
They’re still in information gathering mode. They want a helper, not a salesperson. They want to be led, not sold.
At this point you stand out through education. Following Jay Abraham’s Strategy of Preeminence is a smart move here.
You want to come across as the foremost authority and expert on the problem they have, and its solutions.
Here you’re gaining credibility, trust, and confidence.
When you’re introducing the customer to the solutions to their problem, you’re in a unique position to set their buying criteria.
As they are gaining clarity on the problem and its solutions, start to point them to how they can make the decision as to what solution will be a best fit for them.
This doesn’t necessarily always point to your solution (a product shouldn’t be a perfect fit for every buyer), but overwhelmingly your solution should both look like and be the best choice for the core target market you’ve chosen.
This is the direct you start to send them through education as they start to get to know you.
Then the customer reaches a crossroads — will they follow you or not?
Much of what has happened up until this point can take place within a single ad. The process is nuanced and sometimes complex, but it can also happen fast and with a very little amount of marketing.
The customer, once first exposed to your educational content and presented solutions, has to make a decision.
Are they willing to give you their contact information, so you can stay in touch with more helpful info?
This is known as “lead capture.” It’s where they opt-in for your emails, fill out a contact form on your website, send in a reply card for more info, call your sales line, or whatever other way they raise their hand and express interest.
They believe you might have more info that will help them solve their problem or fulfill their need. You’ve made a compelling offer for that information, for helping them move closer to their desired outcome. And they perceive the risk, effort, and cost of giving you their information as much smaller than the reward they get in return.
Once you’ve promised this value that gets them to agree to start following you…
Your customer wants you to nurture the relationship and make them feel like they’re making the right decision to follow you…
This is the traditional “lead nurture” process. It can happen with automated marketing, such as email autoresponders. Or it can happen with a good sales follow-up system, using your CRM to stay in touch and build the relationship. Or, through multiple approaches and multiple media.
Your customer wants to believe you at this point.
They want to know that you have the solution to their problem, and you’re going to make their life easier. They want to trust that they can buy from you, and it will make their problem go away.
But they’ve been burned before. They’ve had their trust broken and abused. They’ve been jilted at the altar, just as they’ve expected to have problems solved before.
And they don’t want to feel that pain again.
And so they’re cautious. They want to know that you are who you say you are. That you’ll do what you say you do. And that at the very least, you’ll fulfill the promises you make, or do right by them if your solution doesn’t work out.
For some folks, this nurturing can be very quick. They give trust easier, they believe you more, they’re in more urgent need of a solution, whatever. They move fast.
For others, the nurturing can take months or years. They need you to stay in touch and keep delivering value for a long time before they’ll finally move. Maybe they’ve been waiting for the problem to become pressing. Maybe they’re just slow to move. But there are many who will move, eventually, if you keep in touch and keep building trust.
Once a customer reaches the point of commitment, they’re ready to convert…
Conversion is an interesting word, with roots in religion. It used to mean “turning of sinners to God” and still does in some contexts.
But in marketing it means moving from being not a customer, to being a customer. Coming over to your side.
To parallel the religious meanings, it happens because they now believe that you can provide them salvation from the problem that plagues them.
This recognition or change of opinion may have happened fast. But it often happens slow, and the best marketers make it happen through that process of attracting and nurturing followers.
This is a critical step in the customer’s journey into relationship with you. All the trust and credibility you’ve built with the person up until now is on the line when they finally convert and give you money.
You must be ready to fulfill on your promises, with a product that does actually provide realistic and useful solution to their problem.
Assuming you have that…
The customer needs to be encouraged to consume your product…
Many marketers and businesses forget this step. But it is of critical importance in ensuring the health of the relationship going forward.
Your goal for your customer must be to get them to actually use your products or services, to get the benefits you promised.
How can you help them get the most of the product?
What can you do to ensure their success?
Especially when it comes to their first purchase, it must be your goal to ensure that they get their investment’s worth, and then some.
They should be ecstatic to have bought from you, and ecstatic with the results it gave them.
When your customer is happy, they will come back for more…
Once you’ve established trust in their initial purchase, the relationship really begins.
In fact the second transaction with them is arguably more important with the first. Because the second transaction shows real commitment to their relationship with you.
If you do a good job delivering on your promises in the consumption phase of that first purchase, the customer moves into a space where they are receptive of future offers.
Maybe the needs fulfilled by the first product sets up a new set of needs. Maybe one solution sets up another.
Or, if your product shows them how their problem is solved, some customers will be interested not in solving it themselves, but in you solving it for them. This is a very common progression in how-to information products.
Sometimes, the customer will be ready to take a big leap forward with a big purchase.
Other times, they simply have established a trust in you that they want to cement an ongoing relationship with you in the form of a membership or subscription to whatever it is you offer.
The idea here is that once you’ve established that trust with a customer, they are suddenly more open to following through on other recommendations you make, for other offers or products or services you present to them.
This is a trust you must honor with only the best recommendations and offers, but if you do so you can maintain a mutually-beneficial and highly profitable relationship for years and sometimes even decades.
And when satisfied at a high enough level, the customer will send you referrals and become a brand advocate…
We, as customers, recommend businesses we trust and like to do business with for selfish reasons.
We want to be seen as the person that shows our friends and loved ones where to shop to get treated nicely.
And your customer is the same way.
If you treat them with the utmost respect, if you solve their problems in ways others simply can’t touch, they will want to share you with others.
This is an important part of the customer relationship. Because this is when they become an evangelist for your brand.
You can stimulate this behavior by recommending it, but it won’t happen unless you’ve built the highest level of trust into the relationship from the beginning.
This is the customer side of the customer relationship… There are also strategic and tactical recommendations I have for the business side…
When you get into your customer’s head PLUS implement the right offers and systems and procedures on your side, your customers will move naturally through every step of this customer relationship path.
This is something you must map out for your business if you want it to achieve maximum profits for you.
And what you’ll find when you look at how you actively move the customer through each point in the customer relationship is that there are points of leverage.
Little things you can change to move just a few more customers through each step.
There will always be fall-off, yes.
But right now there are specific areas that could be improved 10%, 25%, 50% or more. And any one of those would have a positive impact on your business and profits.
Yet together, they add up to tremendous geometric growth.
I walked you through 8 steps above. If you were to improve just one of those by 10%, that’s 10% total improvement. But it compounds. Improve 3 and it’s actually 33.1% improvement. Improve 5 and it’s 61.1% improvement. Get just 10% better in all 8 areas, and your profits go up 114.4%!
When we get on the phone for four hours and dive into YOUR business, I’ll be looking for these tiny improvements that can geometrically increase profits by 114.4% — or more!
The time is running out on my offer for $700 instant savings on a half-day consultation.
It’s normally $3,500… But through midnight on Halloween — October 31st — it’s just $2,800.
Once your fee has been submitted, I’ll send you the necessary prep work plus a link to schedule your consultation before the end of the year.
I’ve found myself inundated with new business recently so I don’t expect to offer this kind of deal again any time soon. In fact, this may be your last chance EVER to get in at this $2,800 rate.
Might as well grab it while you can!
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets
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