Knowing how the stages each customer goes through, until they decide to use your products and services, is key for the success of your business.
This will give you a great advantage against your competition and increase your sales profitability, because you will be able to lead your customer to a specific direction: buying from you.
There are 4 basic stages of a customer’s journey.
Stage 1: Awareness
This is the very first experience a customer has with your brand. At this stage, they become aware of you as a business through a specific product or service they found out about.
This can happen through many different channels like a promotion, offer, advert, social media post, word of mouth, etc. They realise that you exist as a business which offers this specific product. This is the case for a new potential customer who has never used your business before.
Usually, most people believe that awareness applied to new customers only. This is half true; this stage is equally significant for existing customers as well.
Your current customers already know about you, so you need to use this stage to make them aware of products and services you offer that they haven’t used or heard before. This is usually neglected from most business owners as they believe that their existing customers will discover themselves about any additional products and services they offer.
Unfortunately, most of the existing customers in a business, 8 out of 10 times they don’t really know about all the products and services this business offers, even if the use it on a daily basis.
There are many reasons behind this, but what you need to understand and focus is that this is a great opportunity for your sales. Think about how many missed sales you had because your customers had no idea that you actually sell these specific products or services in your business.
Keep your customers informed all times. Let them know about products and services you offer that they haven’t used before and they match their customer profile.
This will keep them engaged with your brand, increase customer satisfaction, create great opportunities with deeper connections with them and will definitely improve your sales. And of course, it leads to more loyal customers.
Stage 2: Interest
You have made your customer aware of a specific product or service you offer. Now the customer goes through the interest phase, which consists of a number of questions they are asking themselves.
- Do I need this?
- What value will it bring to me?
- Is the price right?
- Is the quality right for this price?
- How can I use it?
- What it goes well with?
- Will my partner/wife/husband/kids/mother/ father/pet/friends/neighbour like it?
- Will my partner/wife/husband/kids/mother/ father/pet/friends/neighbour be able to use it and get the most value out of it?
- Is it better/cheaper than the one I saw in the store down the road/internet?
And probably many more…
This in an internal journey the customers are taking, trying to identify their need for the product. All these questions above are trying to get some answers. They might be also discussing them with other people to reach a decision. They will evaluate all aspects before they proceed.
You can help them by offering a description and some details about the product, rather than just throwing a product title or image to their face. This might answer a number of their questions and help them realise if they are moving to the right decision.
It will save them time and frustration, and shows care from your side. It is also a good discussion starter as they might need to ask a few further questions after they found out that this product ticks some boxes but not all of them yet.
Do your best to get your customer to the next stage!
Stage 3: Desire
Well done! Your customer is just a step away from buying your product. They are almost ready to use your services.
At this stage, the customer has found the answers to all the questions they had in the previous stage and guess what; the answers were positive for the product. It’s the right fit for them and now they want it. They have a desire your product.
As you realise, getting your customer to this stage is not done automatically. You need to follow the previous 2 stages for all your products and services.
Now you might think that sometimes the customers had already the desire for a specific product or service you offer, before they even enter your business. Which means that you don’t have to follow the first 2 stages with every customer.
Even if the customer does not make evident to you that they go through the stage of awareness and interest, it does happen in their head and that why they get to the third stage of desire. If they happen away from your store it does not mean that they do not happen.
What I am trying to say is that you need to do your best to ensure that the every customer has the best possible opportunities to go through the awareness and interest stage for your products and services, if you want them to reach the third and critical stage: the desire.
Stage 4: Action
You did it! The customer is buying your product, they will use your service. They will put their hands in their pocket or use their card to buy form you. Happy days!
This is the final and conclusive stage where the customer journey reach its final destination: the sale of your product or service. All the previous stages built the foundation for this quite exciting stage.
Please treat your customer with respect and show them your appreciation for reaching this stage, as you realise how fragile and unpredictable the whole process to get to this point can be.
Do the same with your staff; they need to know all this information in order to show appreciation for each customer who buys form you and not from your competitors.
Remember: every time, every customer goes through the 4 stages of the journey for every product and service.