Consumers have access to more information than ever before. They're doing their research before they make decisions, and they're paying more attention to price and value. Studies show that 82% of consumers research a product before they buy.*

Perception of value plays a vital role in purchase decisions. Savvy small business owners know that the experiences and interactions that consumers have with brands shape their decisions to buy (or keep looking). Often times, these experiences begin before a consumer even realizes that they have a need. One of the most effective things small business owners can do is develop a promotional strategy that positions their products or services as the obvious choice when customers are ready to buy.

*North American Technographics® Consumer Deep Dive survey

  • Getting Started with Your Sell Strategy

    Sell, the second phase in Lifecycle Marketing, involves three unique stages:

    • Educate
    • Offer
    • Close
  • Educate

    Consumers pay attention to brands when motivated to do so. The best way to earn their attention is through exceptional interactions and valuable education. To create valuable educational materials, you need to understand the needs and wants of your target consumers, outlined in the Attract phase.

    As you build out a content strategy, consider how your product or service serves your target customer’s basic, psychological or self-fulfillment needs. Then, build foundational content on your website, blog, social networks or other communication platforms to address those needs.

  • Offer

    When you understand your target customer’s buying process, you can identify the optimal time for a special offer. By observing past customers’ actions, you’ll be able to create a buying process funnel. Then you can match your sales process to their buying process.

    If you have a sales team, or if you are the entire sales team, optimize your resources so that you spend time with potential customers that are the most ready to purchase. Lead scoring allows you to assign a score to your lead based on the actions they’ve taken. This tactic places the leads that are the most likely to convert at the top of your list to contact. With your buying process funnel aligned with your sales process, you can see the best time to introduce a sales promotion to a consumer—when they’re evaluating options.

  • Close

    Closing the sale involves more than just an exchange of money or signed documents. In a direct sales conversation, the close involves clear communication, good presence and written documentation. In an e-commerce business, the close involves ensuring that there is a mechanism for payment collection and order processing. Regardless of your business type, the close is the signal that the deal has been negotiated and you can now begin the process of delivery.

    • Make procedures easy: Implement clear and effective procedures for closing the sale. Train your sales staff on closing procedures.
    • Create clear documentation: Sales Documents convey how "together" you are as an organization - did you throw something together, or take the time to understand, customize, and prioritize the relationship?
    • Streamline the payment process: Have a clear and effective mechanism for collecting payments and processing orders. Automate the payment process whenever you can.

Find out how you can attract, sell and wow customers with the free Small Business Sales and Marketing Scorecard

Sample Scorecard