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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Customer Orbits

A previous post, Target Markets, finished, Mastery is having your finite resources satisfy the entire market...

Let’s define that market.

Seth Godin has already debunked the myth of prospects. Nobody wants to be a prospect. It’s a code between the salesperson and the sales mangler to identify who they intend to commit sales upon. Seth thinks a better term is “citizens.”

We have a good model for how sales professionals spend their time to maximize sales taking advantage of social media advantages.

Today we’ll define not from what our citizens think, but what sellers can observe. Otherwise it’s fiction and suspection.

Think of electrons orbiting around the nucleus of an atom. There are many orbits, extending outward, and the electrons don’t spiral toward the center, they jump to a different orbit in reaction to stimuli.

That’s a good model for observing people in a buying process.

The farthest orbit would be Awareness, when they notice you.

Next in would be Potential, when they are aware that you might provide something they need.

Then Benefit, when they harness how you might help them.

After that, Observation, because seeing is believing.

Inside that would be Acquisition, the area where old time salesmen spend all their time.

Getting closer is Installation, where they get access to use it.

A further step is Adaptation, where they change their work processes to gain advantages from it.

Then comes Belief, based on internal stories of value.

With luck we get Expansion, where your offering spreads to more of the customer organization.

Then the fantasy, where your customer begins to Refer new citizens, who want to repeat your customer’s experience.

Finally there are the Zealots, who decide they would rather work with your product than theirs, and come over to you.

I think we’ve all seen isolated instances of each to these orbits. Applying the opening definition - Mastery is having your finite resources satisfy the entire market... how would you change your focus to accomplish this?

My experience is as you broaden your focus to strengthen the before the transaction, and apply resources after the “love ’em and leave ’em stage, total cost of sales is greatly reduced, on the order of 50% or more. The pitfall is maintaining your expanded process over time and new managers who see the value of the check writing part of the relationship.

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