Monday, May 23, 2016

Customer Acquisition: 6 steps to converting a "suspect" or is it "prospect" into a customer

By Virginia Mburu

First things first……

A clarification on the terms suspect, prospect, lead, opportunity and customer.

Suspect: Anyone in your potential (target) market

Prospect: A suspect who have expressly shown interest in your solution. They may have at one time visited your business be it your outlets or your website, blog or participated in your social media.  But then you are not sure why they interacted with you. 

Lead: A prospect that fits in with your qualifying criteria 

Opportunity: A  lead that has shown more than a passing interest in your product or service. They have actively engaged  with your marketing messaging. They are eager, willing, and able to buy.

Customer: one who has already purchased

Now we can move on to our case study that takes us through a practical experience of the six steps towards converting suspects to customers… Conversion of the first disciples of Jesus

Step 1: Go for 'spot on' Marketing
From the aforementioned  terms, all male Jews  were  suspects – all could be  “apostles”. Jesus went  ‘fishing’ for prospects amongst the suspects.  He was a good marketer and he  ‘spot on’ knew that the  best prospects were certainly those who had heard about him and had an interest in teachings similar to his. 

He did not have to look far-where better than within the disciples of John the Baptist who was his forerunner!   John 5: 41 records that when John introduced two of his disciples to Jesus, they immediately followed him, got to know his residence and spent the day with him.

One of the two -Andrew must have been thoroughly impressed that he not only immediately shared the good news with his brother Peter but personally brought him to Jesus!

Step 2: Qualify the prospect and you have a lead
Having identified the prospect the next thing was to understand his prospect. This would ease the conversion process.

 He needed to understand their profession, why they do it, where they do it, when they do it, their needs, what challenges they face etc.  Is it any wonder that we see him in Luke 5 preaching next to a lake and close by were two boats whose owners (Peter & Co.) were busy washing their nets!  

He also needed to test if their personal attributes fitted the qualities he wanted in an “ideal apostle”.  These qualities that would come in handy when Peter was left to lead the Church. And Jesus put every quality to test as under;
  • A genuinely friendly person who was always  desired to help others. Peter must have  been tired and frustrated after working the whole night but he  still accommodated Jesus' request to allow him use his boat and continue his preaching until he finished.
  • Someone who is self-motivated and pro-active—think of this person who is working all night possibly in bad weather, catches nothing and then washes his nets- to get them ready for the next expedition!
  • Good Communicator who could articulate who they are as a person,  their mutual interests/ vision. Despite knowing their frustration, Jesus threw a spanner in the works by asking them to ready and engage their fishing boats and Peter did not hesitate to let him know what his reservations were as a professional fisherman!
  • A team player who  could lead, be trusted, patient, flexible, reliable, caring and who respected authority. Peter followed the instructions Jesus gave and involved his partners as seen in verse  7- “So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink”
  • Someone who could embrace change and value the opportunities it brings.  One who could quickly adapt to different circumstances, positions, people etc.. Peter did not disappoint! With such a miraculous fish catch never witnessed before, he without hesitation left everything and followed Jesus. Peter knew when a good opportunity should give way to a bigger and better opportunity. Think of how he allowed Paul- the very same man  who was renowned for persecuting Christians before his conversion to shine despite his background!

Step 3: Always make a great first impression
I had a boss who  used to remind me that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. What about Jesus? On this occasion “the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God.” 

Who would mind commanding such a willing crowd? No wonder Peter did not object when Jesus got into his boat and asked him to put out   a little from the shore. And he continued teaching, explaining who he was and who he represented. 

At this juncture, the lead was converted to an opportunity. Now to the business of converting the opportunity into a customer…..

Step 4: Relate your prospect’s needs to your solution
Peter & Co. were fishermen who relied on fish for their upkeep. On this day they had toiled all night and caught nothing-Zero fish!

 In Luke 4:18-19 Jesus had outlined his mission - “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

What better time to show the Lords favor  than now by satisfying their most pressing need. In Luke 4:4  we are told that  When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

 Note- He  did not just explain how he could get them  loads of fish. He is a master salesperson- he knew  he needed to show proof, to demonstrate his ability to sort out one of their problems. But  not before  he had to……

Step 5: Overcome  objections…..
Hate them, like them, accommodate them, activate them…. Whichever way you view them, you will only move your opportunity to a customer by happily accommodating and overcoming obstacles. 

Peter objected in Luke 4:5, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”  

Possibly your first impression was pretty impressionable if you invoke a “if you say so, I will let down the nets” response to what Peter must have seen as a “professionally most inappropriate request”.

Jesus went ahead to stamp/ prove his authority. In verse 6,-7 we are told that   When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.” At this juncture, quickly…..

Step 6: Ask for the order
 Call them to action! Sign them up! Immediately get that signature on the paper, ask for the cheque, whatever… NOW!!!!  Summarise what is expected of them and bingo! You have a customer! In Mark 1: 17, Jesus told them - “Come, follow me, I will make you fishers of men”.

 This is what happened in verse 11 - So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him”. What about your solution will make the customer “fishers of their customers”?

Over to You Passionate Entrepreneur,
  • How do you qualify your  prospects
  • Which steps are you following on the journey  of converting your suspects to customers?
Share your experiences, suggestions or questions in the comments section below.

Whatever you do, make sure it results in less work, more money and positive impact.

Update


Virginia Mburu
The Work Less, Make More Money Passionate Entrepreneurs Coach

Virginia empowers and motivates Passionate Entrepreneurs to realize their purpose and pursue it. She then assists the entrepreneurs to clarify, prioritise and focus on management and marketing strategies and action plans that will get them to work less, make more money and positively impact within one year.  Download some of her gifts- absolutely free lessons on www.biasharacoach.blogspot.co.ke