“Do you come here often?”
It’s an old line, but we suspect one that still raises a smile. It’s a bit like, “Hello, can we help?” on a website chat box.
The whole sales and marketing process, when done well, can mean the difference between a failing and a successful business. But go gently. It’s all about relationships. People will be more keen to buy from you when you not only have a system, but a series of products or services and steps to take them through.
It’s all about commitment, trust, and knowing when the right time is to ask for that sale.
Too soon and you risk scaring them away. They need to know exactly why they should buy from you first, and the value you offer.
Too late (or never) and you’ll be wasting a lot of time looking for your potential clients but never actually winning them over.
You’ve heard of a sales funnel. Well, we like to think of it more as a sales ladder. You get them on one step, one rung of the ladder, and then gently walk them up it to your core products and services until they become your best referral partner – they rave about you to others.
Build it and they will buy…
What you need to build into your business is a scale, a ladder, or a funnel.
But where do you start if this is new to you?
Start small. Better still, start FREE. Then gently guide them up your ladder to the core products and services you offer, nurturing them all the way.
We’re going to describe one potential process for a small business who makes and sells cakes. This covers it all, from free to core product, to the larger sales.
Let’s take you up their ladder and see how they thrill their leads and customers.
Step 1. Free offering – Tasting – blogs – Facebook Live cooking
Firstly, you need to get them interested in you. You need to get noticed, and offer something to encourage them to trust you. This is pretty simple to do by using social media and paid advertising.
Yes, paying to give people something for free might seem crazy at first – but you need to get noticed and build your list of leads. Targeted ads will generate warm leads and that’s the beginning of a wonderful journey for them and you if you do it right.
Remember, you’re not trying to flog dodgy DVDs on a market stall. You have something valuable and helpful. You’re trying to serve your clients and customers in the best possible way and for the greater good.
Our cake maker has a few free options. One of them is a real life freebie – a tasting. People can taste her cakes for free at events and in her shop on a Thursday afternoon at her ‘Thursday Taster’. All they need to do is wander in, sample the tasty cakes of the week and say hello. It’s very low commitment and it’s posted on social media and of course shouted about by the event organisers at the events she attends.
At this event or in the shop people are offered a 25% off discount voucher too. There’s no commitment at this point. That’s it. They can leave their email address to be sent information and offers, and they can enter her monthly competition to win a box of cupcakes.
Free content. No commitment. Data capture. Free offer.
Step 2. Commitment – Email subscription for free content and newsletter with recipes
Another way for individuals to get some free content (aside from subscribing for the monthly cupcake competition) is by signing up to her weekly email with recipes, stories, and cake ideas. This content is totally free and available to anyone who opts-in to the email list.
This is the first level of commitment. By just giving an email address the person opting in has now shown a small amount of interest. The emails will now give weekly updates to educate and amuse the subscriber and move them closer to the sale. But it’s all softly, softly at this stage.
In the background there are a few (automated) welcome emails with the first one offering 25% off their first order and then a second email that mentions the Facebook community for cake lovers.
Getting them onto Facebook helps to build them into a mini community. There’s no obligation or hard sales tactics, but some rather tempting offers and interesting updates.
Free content. Commitment. Possible first sale.
Converting to a small purchase – Buying cupcakes in the post
Getting your leads to part with cash is the next step, but you don’t need to aim too high. Many marketers will offer a freebie in the post and request that you just pay for postage. The idea here is that you still get a small transaction and get them on board with the idea of buying from you.
The cake shop has a ‘Cupcakes in the Post’ option, which is just £4.99 and a very simple way to get a small commitment. Anyone who orders this option goes into a new email series to upsell them to the next product. They also become a customer in the email list with a simple segmentation.
Small purchase – Bespoke email conversation – segmented in emails as a customer
Upselling them to a larger option – Cooking class “Bake Me a Cupcake Workshop”
It’s now fair to say that anyone who buys the £4.99 cupcakes in the post is clearly interested in cupcakes. So those people may well be interested in making some for themselves. So now the cake maker has a specific series of marketing emails and follow up sales calls for anyone who’s bought them.
Obviously it’s far easier to sell the course to these customers as they have no doubt enjoyed the cakes and have literally sampled the results. The timing is key here, so the emails and calls are staggered. This is all automated in her CRM for two weeks after the first sale.
Upselling from small sale – bespoke emails – time delay generated via CRM
Converting the key people to the flagship option – monthly cake club
Now you have people buying not just the small option but the middle one too. You can look to cross-sell or move them onto the next option. One of the core products at the cake shop is the monthly cake club. For £39 a month for a minimum of 6 months people get recipes, ideas, cakes, ingredients, and kit to become a better baker. There are also some club events and all this is included in the price.
It’s more expensive than cupcakes and of course adds in some residual income for our baker in a one-to-many style.
The other option customers have is a series of cake cooking courses, and an online cupcake baking mastery class which she can offer if they don’t go for this first option.
The key here is to spot the best route and move them towards that direction. You can do this automatically or manually. The club and the other courses are linked more to the first and second purchase.
The cake maker chooses to automate interest from the emails to a new funnel of emails and also uses a member of her team to call people from the first and second purchase and then decide which route to send them on to next.
Upsell – monthly subscription
Nurturing them all to be raving fans – building on the orders to gain more reach
Now you’ve got sales, what next? It’s a lot easier to market to your existing customers than find new ones. Plus it’s more cost effective to get sales from them too. It’s also a great way to build a community of fans.
Anyone who buys from the cake maker gets an invitation to the cake club group on Facebook and is sent a cupcake fridge magnet with their second order. Building community is key in marketing and business.
Then she can market courses, new cakes, and of course keep up the conversation and share the tips and advice from the emails in case they missed them. This has been a nurturing phase for her customers to turn them from customers to bigger customers and now into fans who refer.
One of the ways she does this is offering anyone who sends a 25% off voucher on email that converts to a sale, 25% off their next order too. The cake maker knows that only raving fans will refer and this is likely to carry more authority and weight than any offer she can give.
She’ll also encourage people to bring friends to the group and of course drop in links to her email list and free tastings in the group to grab people and bring them to the bottom of her ladder for it all to start again.
The new leads start right at the bottom or on the second or third rung, depending on when and where they join.
… it’s a relationship on a ladder – don’t rush it!
All sales and marketing is about relationship building. Each time you start a new one, you start at the bottom of the ladder. Each new lead needs to move from awareness through to a small free commitment and then a small sale, a larger sale, becoming a member of your tribe, and then an advocate. Advocates bring in more people… who start at the bottom of the ladder.
Times this process by 100 and you have a lot of conversation and systems to run. That’s a whole lot of cake!
It’s easy to see how a system like this could work for your business, too.
The best way?
Build and automate your marketing with a CRM like SalesRadar. Every time you drop someone into your system, you can send out specific emails, set reminders for calls and mail outs, and make sure you never try to push someone up the ladder too fast and cause them to fall off it!
Relationships take time. Don’t rush them – nurture them!