In part two of the growth series, we arrived a place where we figured out that the buying signals customers (and prospects) send us are sometimes subtle, if not almost invisible.
One good example is the sometimes joyous, sometimes annoying as all get out process of buying a car.
Q: How does the salesperson know when their prospect has gotten past the point of no return when buying a car?
A: They take a test drive.
Every car salesperson knows this. They even have a litany of little sayings to remind themselves of it, like “The feel of the wheel seals the deal.” And that’s Ok, because that is one of the indicators they have to pay close attention to if they want to help their customer.
Remember, we don’t (mostly) visit car dealerships for our entertainment. We’re there to buy a car or at least, decide which one to buy. Their job is to make that process as frictionless as possible. In order to do that, they have to know customer behaviors.
The test drive is a great behavioral signal that you’ve moved beyond the financial questions and which model to get and so on. It isn’t some sales trick to “close more deals”, though I’m sure it has been used that way. It’s about knowing what your customers want and helping them get it.
Do you offer a test drive?
While a test drive’s value might be lower for other purchases (software, books, videos), it still might be worthwhile indicator. Do you offer your prospects and customers the ability to test drive what you sell? Even Amazon does this with their “Look Inside” feature. Software businesses have done this for decades.
Remember, the point isn’t the test drive itself, it’s the behavior that tells you “I’m ready!” In clinical terms, you might say “Behavior A is strongly indicative of a desired customer action”, but please don’t talk or write like that.
Depending on the behavior, “I’m ready” might say “I will be one of your best customers” or “I’m ready to move up to the next tier.”
That’s why you might look at purchase intervals in your sales data, at what your best customers buy that few others buy, and so on. A pattern of behavior will show itself eventually.
For example, if you look at your QuickBooks sales records and see that your best customers all bought within 30 days of being added to QB (what triggers them being added to QB for you?) and all your “worst” customers (bought the least amount, least often, whatever it is for you) average 90 days between whatever made you add them the QB and their first purchase….then the next person who buys within 30 days is…giving you (based on performance of everyone) an indicator that they might be one of those good customers.
As such, you might add them to a different email list. Maybe it’s the one that emails them weekly instead of monthly, talking about more sophisticated topics than your monthly emails.
In some ways, it’s not any different than looking for patterns in behavior in Olympic swimming, NASCAR or fantasy football. If you’re into those things, you know what winning behaviors are.
Why wouldn’t you also know what behaviors your best customers have? Not only does it help you figure out who the next one might be (sometimes long before they become one), in certain markets, it might also let you help others improve what they do.
Where the wild things are
Sometimes behavior is about location. Do you know where do your best customers come from?
Do they live in zip 59912? Do they call from area code 312? Do they find you because of an ad in a certain newspaper or magazine? Do they come to you from Facebook? Ever made a sale to someone who liked your business page on Facebook?
An ideal answer might be “We have 114 customers who live/work in 59912. Overall, 20% of our customers come to us ads in the NY Times Sunday Edition and 80% initially come to us from Facebook”.
Invest some time to find out where your customers come from and what behavior your best customers exhibit. Both are keys to growth if you take action on what you learn.