Awareness of Problem

It all starts with the prospect realizing they have a problem or an aspiration.   

This realization may come from an expert, like yourself describing their symptoms or experience and telling them what their problem is called. 

The seed has been planted.    Your messaging needs to be able speak the language going on in the mind of the prospect at this stage.  Ideally you are using the words they are using to describe their problem

Then, before your prospect begins to evaluate the options in the marketplace, they must believe the problem can be solved.   Your job as their guide is to begin to share with them the benefits of pursuing the solution.  

Awareness of a Solution

When you’ve helped your prospect name their problem, you must quickly inform them of the existence of a solution.  Then, before your prospect begins to evaluate the options in the marketplace, they must believe the problem can be solved.

This entitles you to become their  guide as they move forward.  A prospect at this stage must believe the solution exists, is available to them personally  and is affordable.

This is the beginning of your process of establishing and improving the relationship with the prospect.  Look for opportunities to share your operating principles and beliefs early on.  When it’s between you and a nearly-identical alternative, the vendor with the best relationship will win.

Exploration of Available Options

Your prospect wants to make the best possible decision from the available options.

In this stage prospects are using search terms related to understanding comparison points between those options.  Advance the relationship by revealing the understand the critical comparison factors and why they are important.

Purchase Decision

When the comparison process has been completed, a prospect is left with a couple of options which are very similar.  Your prospect may still lack the sophistication to choose one from another.  At this stage they are most likely to make a choice based on a gut feeling, or some point of relatedness or affinity.  They might make a decision based on the professionalism of your content or their experience with your sales people so far.  The impression you make across your entire marketing process will make or break the sale at the finish line, when the race is close.

Creating an Ideal Client Profile 

Trying to market to everyone, to create a message that resonates with everyone or trying to connect with everyone is expensive, exhausting and ineffective.

If you want great clients, clients you love who love you right back, you first need to get crystal clear on exactly who those clients are. You need to know everything you can about them so you can clearly communicate who you best serve not only to your audience but also to your referral partners.  

When you know who you’re trying to attract as a client or customer, your marketing gets easier. Having this clear vision allows you to tailor your marketing message so it speaks right to them. Then you can start to understanding their special challenges, their aspirations and their needs.  From this insight you can clearly express how your particular service, product or solution fits into this picture.

You “Ideal Client Profile” can be built from data you already have at your fingertips.  Go back over your customer list and analyze it carefully. This should yield some interesting insights as you try to answer the questions that follow.  Work to identify distinct groups within your existing client list who could be targeted with a single message. The best indication of whether you are identifying the right kinds of correlations will be your ability to develop a coherent and compelling message to that group

Identify a benefit that is meaningful to your prospect

Customers make buying decisions based on emotion, not logic. They may rationally evaluate the qualities and characteristics of a product or service but, ultimately, they will most likely make a decision based on how the product makes them feel or how they EXPECT the product or service to make them feel.

The qualities and characteristics of a product or service are its features, while the emotional content of these features  the feelings that the features evoke  are the benefits of the product or service.

Knowing how to identify the benefits that your product or service offers your target market is key to marketing your business. Often we are so familiar with our products that we confuse benefits with the characteristics of the product.

Try this:  First list the key qualities and characteristics of your product or service. Then identify the benefits of each of them by asking “Why is that important?”

For example, a dry cleaning service may offer its customers home pickup and delivery of their clothes. Home pickup and delivery is a feature 
 a characteristic  of this business. The dry cleaning service may also have these features: same day cleaning, dry cleaning by the weight, open 7 days a week and eco-friendly cleaning fluids.

We’ll take one of the features of the dry cleaning business and use a drill down exercise to identify the benefits it provides. With this feature, we’ll ask the question, “Why is that important?” The answer to that question identifies a benefit.

Then we’ll ask, “Why is that benefit important?” When we get that answer, we’ll ask again “Why is that benefit important?” This process helps us drill down to benefits that we may not think of at first. And it helps us get to the core benefit.