Have you ever had an amazing idea and literally stopped what you’re doing to write it down?
This blog is the result of one of those ideas.
As soon as I heard about it, I knew how incredibly valuable it would be for anyone who works in a service-based business and had to share it with you.
If you run, or are an employee of a service based business and want to generate more leads, sales and revenue, read on (this will blow your mind).
The hierarchy of buying looks at the 6 stages a customer goes through when looking for a company to provide any kind of service.
As a service based business, if you understand these stages, you can make better decisions about where and how you spend your time marketing to your potential clients.
Let’s take a look at the hierarchy of buying.
Source: Safari Books Online
Once you understand the process your customers go through to buy, you can start to look at what you are doing at each stage to encourage potential customers to choose you as a supplier.
Below, under each stage, I’ve outlined some actionable things you can do to get more potential customers to choose you as their supplier.
If someone is looking for a service, the first place they will look is a company they are already a satisfied customer of.
This makes sense as it offers a solution with the least risk.
A great way to encourage current customers to spend more is to let them know about the additional services you could offer them (simple but not done enough). You should also do unexpected nice things for them to maintain your relationship and remind them where you are if they need you.
Here are some ideas;
📨 Send your current customers an email letting them know of the other services you provide.
🔨 When meeting current customers, tell them about the other services you provide.
🎅 Send customers customised Christmas gifts (to remind them you care).
🎁 Send customers ‘customer anniversary’ gifts (the more effort you put in the better).
Here’s an example for you. One of our clients is passionate about locally sourced food. So, this Christmas we found one of the top Kent-based producers (Mighty Fine Things) and bought them a customised food hamper.
If your potential customer can’t find anyone via the method above, they’ll look to people they trust for referrals.
Again, a very logical route to take as it is a very low-risk strategy to find a supplier.
The best ways to get more referrals are to provide incentives and also directly ask current customers if they know anyone who they can refer you to.
🙋 Set up a referral scheme where customers receive benefits for referring you.
💸 Set up an affiliate scheme where customers receive a % of any income generated by them.
🤔 Directly ask your customers if they know of anyone who may need your services.
👌Proactively refer your customers and let them know when you do.
👴 Ask your friends and family if they know anyone who may need your services.
One referral scheme which really sticks out for me is Dropbox. They got 4 million users in 15 months from the scheme.
Next option, they’ll look to go with a company they have a relationship with but have yet to purchase from. This option is a bit riskier, but, a lot less risky than going with someone they have no current relationship with.
To build more quality relationships, you need to proactively go out and network as well as providing value for the people you are networking with.
✅ Go to networking events and build authentic relationships (Tips: How not to act when networking).
✅ Go to industry events and build authentic relationships.
✅ Do nice things for potential customers (share their content, sign up to their email list etc.)
✅ Send personalised Christmas, birthday and other holiday gifts to potential customers who you have a relationship with but have never converted into a customer.
Ensure you don’t make any of the common networking mistakes shared in the video below.
If they have no luck with the above, then they’ll go to a recognised expert. The ‘recognised expert’ is someone who has built up a good reputation as the ‘go-to guy or gal’ (or company) in the marketplace.
To become a recognized expert, you need to do all the stuff we preach about in terms of building up your personal brand across social media, video, speaking at events and more.
👌 Use these 9 tactics to grow your influence in your industry.
🎯 Have a top-notch social media content strategy (Here are 20 results-driven social media content ideas).
💡Share your most valuable knowledge for free (demonstrate you know your stuff).
Steve Bartlett does an incredible job of demonstrating his expertise via his video content. You’ve got to check him out for some inspiration.
This is where the potential customer starts to scrape the bottom of the barrel. If they can’t find a service supplier via any of the routes above, then they’ll use a search engine, newspaper or magazine ad to find one.
I personally think that your focus should be on improving in areas higher up (I’m also no SEO expert).
However, if you did want to improve your SEO, I know some great resources for you outlined below.
This is a video I recently found from Brian Dean and it’s amazingly useful, super actionable and entertaining in parts!
Finally, if they still can’t find a suitable supplier via the options above, the very last thing they may do is to go with a cold caller. Who even buys stuff from cold-callers nowadays?
Please, please don’t do anything to try and improve the number of leads and sales you generate from cold calling.
Instead, focus your time on improving performance higher up in the hierarchy.
Now that you know the process your customers go through to choose who they work with, how will you change up what you’re doing?
Let me know in the comments below.