A Practical Guide to Putting Your Business on Autopilot – Natural Progression
NP – Stands for Natural Progression
Have you ever stepped back and thought through how people flow through a business? How people transition from being a prospect to a customer? Until you understand how people make these transitions, you really can’t optimize and leverage these transitions to your advantage.
Let’s look at how the transitions take place by using what I call the Natural Progression.
To help illustrate the Natural Progression, I’m going to use my business as an example.
Heather decides she needs a new website for her business. She sits down at her computer and types “website design company” into her search engine. Ugly Mug Marketing is listed in her results. So she thinks to herself, that’s a stupid name, but clicks the link anyway.
At this point she’s a prospect. At Ugly Mug Marketing, we don’t know she’s out there, but she’s still a prospect because she is looking for a website design company.
After spending a few minutes learning more about what we do, viewing our portfolio, and reading through the dozens of testimonials, she feels we may be a good choice. While reviewing our portfolio she realizes that we built a website for a restaurant owned by her cousin, and decides she’ll give him a call to get his feedback about working with us.
A few days later she connects with her cousin, and he does, in fact, recommend us. Finally, at this point, even though we still don’t know she exists, she now trusts that we can deliver her new website.
The key distinction between a Prospect and a Friend is that a Friend likes and trusts you. Without these two components people will not purchase your product or service.
Imagine that Heather clicked the link and completely hated the look and feel of our website. What would she have done? She would have left, without taking the time to learn more or develop trust in Ugly Mug Marketing. There is nothing wrong with that! It would be foolish of me to get upset that she didn’t hire us to build her new website, wouldn’t it? Of course it would!
Now let’s switch back to the assumption that Heather likes what she sees on our site and trusts that we can design a remarkable website for her. What’s next? Exactly! She hires us, and becomes a client.
Once she becomes a client, we build and deliver her new website. She’s happy! She has a beautiful new website. We’re happy! We got paid, and added another beautiful site to our portfolio.
It’s at this point that most entrepreneurs completely drop the ball. They quickly move on to selling and fulfilling the next order. And no, there’s technically nothing wrong with this, except for the fact that the entrepreneur is leaving so much on the table.
Once you deliver your product or service, and have a happy client/customer, now is the perfect time to up-sell and cross-sell them additional products and services. But there is another, even more important, step that entrepreneurs should take.
It’s at this point you should have a clear plan of action for converting your clients/customers into Evangelists.
Evangelists are those people go out and share your message with the world. It sounds simple, and it can be, but it certainly requires a concentrated effort on your part. There are three critical components for turning ordinary clients/customers into Evangelists:
- Make sure they are thrilled with the product or service you have delivered.
- Make sure they know what to tell others about you (What’s your USP?).
- Make sure they have the tools and resources to share you with others.
Take a look at the Natural Progression graphic above, and you’ll discover the power of creating Evangelists is that you completely bypass the prospect stage. It’s the same process for generating referrals.
Again, if freedom is important, then do you see how understanding and implementing the Natural Progression in your business can generate additional freedom? After all, if you don’t have to continually search for prospects, and try to convenience them to trust and like you, then you can be free to focus on other things–like mountain biking or planning your next trip!
NATURAL PROGRESSION EXERCISES
The first step in the process of turning customers into evangelists is to have a clear understanding of your current process for fulfilling customer orders. The first step is simply to write down everything that happens from the moment someone becomes a customer. Take a sheet of paper and go ahead and list out every single interaction that takes place after someone purchases from you.
Now it’s time to create a list of what is industry norm, or what is expected from your customers after a purchase. For example, if you sell shoes online, first your customers expect to receive an order receipt email with shipping information. Next, they receive a notification when the package is shipped. And finally, they receive their shoes via UPS. So, those three steps are considered industry norm, and it is what customers purchasing your type of product expect.
Now go back through your list (from Step 1) and ask, “What could we do differently, add or subtract, from what we currently do that would be remarkable to our customers?”
Using the shoe example from above, what if you decided to not only send an order confirmation email, but then when the package ships to send them a photo of their shoes being put into the package? What if in every package you inserted an extra pair of shoestrings? What if ten days after they receive the shoes someone from your customer service department called them to see how the shoes fit?
Go ahead and list out a few ways you can exceed your customer’s expectations and determine how you can insert these into your fulfillment process. They don’t have to be big, or expensive – just simple ways you can get your customer to say “wow”.
In Step 3 you figured out specific things you can do to impress your customers enough to want to tell others about you. Now in this step we need to figure out specifically how we can get our customers to share with others. Create a list of all the various ways that your customers can share your message with others.
Go back through the list you created in Step 4 and add specific ways you can help your customers share through formats listed. For example, in Step 4 you said you wanted your customers to tell their friends and neighbors in person about you. Maybe you would list: create a referral program that rewards customers when their friends make a purchase, or create custom coupons that your customers could give to their neighbors. Now list out all your ideas.
Here are a few of books that will help you transform ordinary customers into evangelists:
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
In the next post we’ll cover how the fulfillment model.
Want to learn more about the Freedom Formula? You can get exclusive videos and our step-by-step guide over at FreelancersFreedomFormula.com.
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