Customer value optimization is the process of creating a sales funnel that allows you to acquire and keep more customers.
And, believe it or not, it’s a lot like dating.
The act of pursuing a love interest or romantic partner can be both exhilarating and frustrating, regardless of gender, nationality, sexuality, or age.
Although the details may vary, oftentimes, the act of dating follows a designated sequence of steps.
From getting to know someone…
To asking him or her out…
And, if things go well, growing the relationship over time.
Whether you’re currently in or out of the dating game or if you’re a business owner, you could benefit from applying the same steps of successful relationship-building to your customer value optimization strategy.
And no–I don’t mean literally asking a customer out on a date.
Downloading Tinder or asking your friends to set you up on blind dates is a better bet if romance really is what you’re seeking.
When it comes to customer value optimization, there is more than one lesson to be gleaned from the practice of healthy human relationship development.
Because the foundation of customer acquisition is just that–developing a relationship.
Most people know trying to kiss a complete stranger or asking someone to marry you on a first date typically doesn’t end in success.
In the same sense, skipping over more than one step in the process and convincing someone to buy your products or services won’t provide you successful results.
If you want to avoid giving prospective customers a reason to run for the hills, I suggest you read the rest of this post.
Read on to discover the eight stages of the customer value journey, which you’ll find is, in many ways, similar to the practice of dating.
#1: Build Awareness
The awareness stage is where a prospect first hears about you, typically via an ad, Google search, or referral.
In the dating world, the comparison could be walking into a party and making eye contact with a man or woman sitting across the room. They know you’re there, and they know you’ve come out to mingle.
In this stage, you’re not going to walk straight up to the man or woman and ask them for a kiss. In the same sense, you’re not going to create an ad that’s trying to make a high-dollar sale off the bat.
The key is to build interest and intrigue–catch their attention and flirt with them a bit.
The engagement phase of the customer value journey is when a glance become a stare.
You’ve captivated a prospect’s attention, and they are committed to learning more.
Perhaps your prospect has clicked through to your website from an ad, and decides to read a blog post featured on your landing page. Or, he or she watches a video you’ve posted on Facebook or Instagram featuring customer testimonials.
You’ve increased the prospect’s level of interest and commitment to learn more about what you have to offer.
If a prospect reaches the subscribe stage in the customer value optimization process, it means they’ve decided to opt in to gated content–such as a lead magnet.
In simple terms, the prospect is willing to give you his or her contact information with the permission to follow up.
Sound familiar? It’s not unlike a man or woman giving you his or her phone number after you meet for the first time at a party.
In this phase, it’s important that your offering and the associated copy are deemed valuable enough to the prospect that he or she will give up a little privacy in order to receive your offering.
Once your prospect has subscribed to your business, you will have a direct channel to access the prospect and continue to develop and grow the relationship…so don’t blow it!
In the dating world, if you want a partner, something has to happen to begin to transform your love interest into more than just an interest.
Essentially, the time has come to ask him or her out on your first date.
Likewise, in the business world, if you’re looking for customers–your prospects can’t remain prospects forever.
It’s time to turn the dial up and encourage your prospect to make a first purchase or commitment of time.
That said, I’m not telling you to sell a prospect on a high-dollar product.
You’ll want to take baby steps–therefore, encouraging a low-dollar purchase or commitment (such as signing up for a demo) is your goal at this stage.
Getting someone to say “yes” to a first date is only half the battle. You’ve actually got to impress them on the first date–or you won’t be hearing from them again.
In this phase, the emphasis is on getting your new customer excited about the purchase he or she made.
This is why post-purchase email sequences and other forms of engagement with a new customer are so important.
The more positively your customer feels about the buying experience with your business, the more likely he or she is to ascend.
Which brings me to my next point…
In the ascension phase, you have the opportunity to move your customers through a series of upsells, resulting in the purchase of higher-dollar products and services.
These are the real profit-generating sells, so getting to this stage is terrific.
However, all too often, businesses will try to jump the gun and take prospects from awareness to ascension.
What they don’t realize is that all of the steps I’ve listed between awareness and ascension are necessary to make ascension even possible.
Again–you wouldn’t propose to someone on the first date (hey, not saying it’s not possible, but most people won’t react well to that), so don’t do the same in business.
A happy customer is one of your greatest assets in securing more customers, and inevitably growing your business.
Utilize customer testimonials and case studies as a way to get more prospects’ interest, which you can transform into buying customers through the customer value optimization journey.
Similar to the advocacy stage, you can try to convince someone of how amazing you are, but at the end of the day, others’ opinions can weigh more heavily in the decision-making process.
You know how effective it can be for your friends to pull someone you’re dating to the side in order to explain what a great person you are.
The same is true when it comes to marketing your products and services.
Reaching the promotion stage is incredibly valuable.
You’re receiving free and effective promotion from past customers to new customers.
If you’ve reached this stage–you’re in great shape.
If you consciously and successfully employ these eight stages to your customer value optimization journey, you will begin to see your numbers rise and your revenue grow.
Although dating and sales can both be complex and arduous processes, if you’re successful, the pay-off (whether it be finding a partner or growing a business) will be extremely rewarding.
Feature image source.