My cousin lives abroad.
She rang to say she was coming for a visit with hubby…
We always had a great time when we were in our teens, so I was excited to see her.
She wanted to stay with me for the second of a 4-week visit.
Week one was for visiting her mum; week two my house; week three her brother’s; then a week at the coast, on their own, before returning home.
So what did I know about her journey?
1. That they were flying to our country.
2. That they were visiting her mum’s when they first arrived.
3. That she would be travelling by train (4hrs) to get to me.
4. That they would be spending 7 days with me and my family
5. That they would take another train (2hrs) to her brother’s after they leave us.
6. That they would stay with her brother for a week.
7. That they would borrow her brother’s car to travel to the coast for a week on their own.
8. That they would be flying home from the airport nearest to her brother’s home.
You can see there were 8 distinct phases to their visit. I wasn’t actively involved until stage 4 when they planned to stay at my house.
BUT...does that mean I didn’t get involved until she arrived at mine?
NO way…she’s my cousin and I want her to have a great time while she’s here and have loads of fab memories of her visit to take back with her! So what did I do?
I’m sure you’ve already got a good idea…
I called her to chat about her plans, I asked her if she had something particular she’d like to do when she stayed with me?
I checked what she planned to be up to when she would be with other family members.
I tried to find to find out about her travel arrangements. What time her train would be arriving at our local station. I arranged to be there to pick her up.
After a 4 hour train ride she’s bound to be hungry so I thought about what meal to make her. (and checked that steak was still her favourite)
I decided which bedroom she would stay in and I made a supreme effort on the housework and changed the bedding for my best set.
I thought I would contact her while she was at her mum’s…just to check she arrived safely.
I think I called her the day before or the morning she left her mum’s and was on her way to me.
I laid on entertainment, visits and meals while she was with us and asked her if she would like me to drive her to her brother’s.
quite a lot of this happened before her week with us.
I checked she arrived at her brother’s okay
I checked again before she flew home, that she had a great time.(she did btw)
Once she got back home I rang her for a chat and some feedback about her trip.
You get the picture, right?
So although her journey stated long before she spent time with me, I was actually involved on the fringes of that journey, offering help and support to make her trip easier. Then it was full on delivery in the week she was with me and then afterwards I was still involved trying to ensure all was going as planned and nothing more was needed. I didn’t stop there because I wanted to know how she had felt about the trip ( I know…nosy!)
I am sure you have family or friends visiting and you do all the same things as me. We don’t consider it to be intrusive or pushy, we are just being friendly, caring and supportive.
But why have I rambled on about a family visit?
How can my cousin’s visit help us with our sales?
Let’s think of our customers as our cousins. Customers want to be supported, they love a friendly person who is willing to give that little bit more, so let’s treat them like our friends and family and be with them on their journey.
Now, let’s talk about Customer Journeys…
All your customers travel on a sales journey and you need to be their travel companion for that journey, if you are going to be successful with sales.
There are several sections or phases of a customer’s sales journey. This journey starts long before they have become your customer and continues even after any transactions they have with you.
There are lots of milestones or ‘touchpoints’ along the journey and every one of these is an interaction between you and your potential customer. This means every one of these touchpoints is an opportunity for you to ‘sell’ to a customer.
Awareness…of your existence and that you have on offer which potentially matches something they need.
Consideration/Lead conversion…this is the start of your relationship with the customer when they are both aware of you and are considering using your service.
Booking/Onboarding/Purchase…this is when the decision has been made and they are starting the process of working with you. It’s a transition from not being a customer to becoming one.
Delivery/ Experience…this section is when the customer is experiencing your service, they are now a customer and are in the process of having the service delivered.
Loyalty/advocacy…this last part is a key area as it can turn a one-time customer into a repeat customer and also someone who can sell on your behalf by recommending and referring others.
Just as all types of businesses have customers, all customers have some kind of sales journey. The trick is to work out what your customer’s journey looks like so you can make it fantastic for them.
Product businesses selling direct to the consumer (B2C), might be selling only online or only in a ‘bricks and mortar’ shop or they may be doing both. The journey needs to be reviewed for each element. So if it’s online, check every stage to ensure the customer is getting a great experience.
Service businesses fall into 2 main categories – Personal Services (B2C) and Business/Professional Services (B2B). These business types can also be selling both services and products as part of their offering.
Some examples of Product Businesses – Gifts, Clothing, Food, Stationary, Hardware, Furniture.
Some examples of Personal Service Businesses – Hairdresser, Gardener, Interior Designer, Plumber, Electrician.
Some examples of Business Services – Consultant, Virtual Assistant, Accountant, Solicitor.
My challenge to you is to critically analyse and review the steps in your customer’s journey and detail out all the things you do which help them to feel good at each stage. Actions which encourage them to move along to the next stage with you. Remember my cousin and what I did to help her journey and experience!
Try to think of every potential customer as a potentially loyal customer…what do you need to do for them to become loyal and want to give you their custom again and again?
What can you do to turn them into advocates of your business?…helping you to gain new customers. ( I bet my cousin told all her friends back home what a great time she had when she stayed with me & showed all the pics)
These areas must be reviewed regularly as part of your sales planning. Don’t leave sales to chance, give yourself and your business a head start by planning your actions around your customers…just like you would with your cousin!