So yesterday I talked about sales cycle marketing and went over a little bit about how you need to make sure you find people who want to buy what you are selling early in the cycle and then carry that through to making the sale.
Today's post is a little more in depth about why it is SO important to make sure that you capture the attention of your buyers early! This is technically called CONVERGENCE and it is an amazing marketing concept taken from the world of mathematics.
What Is Convergence In Marketing?
Doing a search for convergence, I found that there were over 30 different definitions of convergence listed on wikipedia.com, but the one that matters to us is, “that some functions and sequences approach a limit under certain conditions”. Not sexy, but certainly true in math and marketing!
Doh, that seems hard so let's take a look at a picture of what this means…
In this graphic, you can see yellow (for low urgency, early in the cycle), orange (for medium urgency and a medium time to buy) with lastly, red (high urgency and a short time to buy).
As the buyer moves down the chart, the urgency gets greater. Think about something dire instead of sales. Say you get a tummy ache (yellow), you might think about taking some Tums and figuring out what you might have eaten that was bad. It gets worse (orange), most of us now hop on the internet and search our symptoms to see if there is something wrong. You are in abject pain (red), your next search is for your doctor's phone number or the location of the nearest hospital.
In this example, the “sale” is made when you go to your doctor to get fixed and the research you did will not actually change the outcome because you are already your doctor's patient. OR you will go to the hospital in the closest proximity to your current location even if the hospital across the state has a great marketing campaign.
A parable about purple databases (databases don't come in colors!)
Now let's talk about something that is not life threatening. Let's consider you want to get more customers. You do some research online and figure out that you need a database (yellow). You do some research and find out that there are three that will fit the bill, and then your best customer calls and you are back to work work.
The next day you think, hmmm better find out more about those darn databases and hop online to do some research or call your favorite marketing person to see what she thinks…:) WOW, they are not cheap but you know it is something you need so you compile more data to make sure you can make a good choice (orange).
Finally, after much contemplation, you KNOW which one you are going to get, call the company and throw down your credit card.
BUT, what if, in the middle of all this, you talk to a guy and he says that purple databases are better and, lo and behold, he just happens to sell purple databases. THIS IS A BAD thing for those companies you researched a few weeks ago. They fell out of the rotation and someone else swooped in and made the sale.
Convergence in the sales cycle
This is the important bit so pay attention….
As a company that needs to make sales, you want to get into the game in the yellow area, SUPER early in the sales cycle. Now, I know you are thinking to yourself, “but I only really need to be the swooper at the end”. That would be great if it worked in real life, but more often than not, sales is a process and you want to have LOTS of people in your process (pipeline).
But, we know those people are not ready to buy yet so we have to nurture them, building a relationship along the way so that they think of us when it is time to pull out a credit card.
I use InfusionSoft (a non-purple database) to grab people's contact info, then talk to them (send emails about our products), have someone call them and be nice (people like phone calls when they are relevant and helpful) and am there when they are ready to buy.
note – if you are considering a database and want to talk to someone who uses Infusionsoft, give me a jingle 727-415-9165
Why Coming Into The Sales Cycle Late Makes No Sense
Really, in a perfect world, we would all be able to prospect ONLY to people within days of making a buying decision and I am sure there are high tech or high cost ways to do this (think about those huge pages of car sales in the newspapers or buying $25 per click paid keywords). But since most of my readers are small business owners or entrepreneurs, we are not rolling in the big, big bucks so we need to grow a consistent system and pipeline of people who want to buy what we are selling.
The only way to do that is to consistently find people early in the sales cycle and then nurture them through the buying process. I choose to do this with technology, but you could do it with your Google calendar if you wanted, just setting up a 6 or 7 step program to stay in touch and scheduling each one individually.
Whether you go with a software system or a more manual system, the key is to keep talking to your prospects all throughout the sales cycle in order to make the sale!
PS – This is also called the sell until they buy or die system…:) I like that too but it is not as scientific!