Once you’ve nurtured your lead diligently through the sales funnel and closed the sale, you may think the process is over but it does not have to be. The initial sale can be just the beginning. You can build a relationship with each customer by looking to stay in contact with them. There is also an opportunity to convert customers into your advocates. What does this mean?
Every market can be viewed in layers. Effective marketing looks to move the individual from the bottom layer, up to the top. The triangle shape indicates that as we move from the bottom to the top layers, we will lose people along the way.
In the bottom layer, those people who are interested in buying your kind of product or service are termed the market. Once they become aware of your brand, and are considering it, they move up a level and become a suspect. Should they choose to engage with you, and request a quotation, we describe them as a prospect. Once they’ve made a purchase, they become customers. Repeat buyers are described as clients and then right at the top of the triangle find the advocates. These are the few people who are the most passionate about your brand and share their experiences with others. (They are not necessarily the ones that have spent a lot of money with you). Your advocates amplify your brand message by passing it onto others and because the message comes from customers, it has more authenticity. This marketing is also known as word-of-mouth.
How can you encourage your customer on the journey to becoming an advocate? More frequent interaction keeps your brand top of mind and so builds confidence. So here are examples of some questions to consider:
- How frequently can a customer purchase the same product from you?
- Is there a complementary product or service you offer they would enjoy ? If you made them aware of it, would they be likely to purchase it (this is known as cross-selling products)?
- Is there expert advice or educational resources which would be helpful to them which you could share, either as a once-off or regularly depending on the product type?
- Is there emotional encouragement or support you can offer?
Each of these post-sale engagement points shows your interest in a longer-term relationship with your customer, as opposed to being satisfied with just making the sale. It is an opportunity to increase your remarkability, and it creates the most highly valued customer: the brand advocate.