Every relationship a business has with a current customer began first with some form of initial introduction and pre-purchase interaction. For a restaurant this could simply be the wait-staff person introducing himself/herself, mentioning the specials and asking for the customers’ orders. For a Certified Financial Planner, there would be the first meeting likely followed by several in-person and phone meetings with a prospective customer before an agreement and payment comes together. All of this pre-purchase interaction between a business and a customer is the Courting Phase.
The Courting Phase includes all forms of interaction with potential and prospective customers. The most important consideration for your business when thinking about this phase is what type of first impressions are you making on different prospective customer segments. For a business with a retail storefront, the most important first impression you will make may be the signage right outside your location. What does it say? Is it clear what your store offers? Does it grab attention and lure prospective customers inside? Once someone walks into your store, what or who do they first encounter? The answers to these questions drive the behavior of potential customers in important ways. Make sure that your business is making a great first impression.
If your business is based in your home or a non-retail office, then the first impression you may make on your potential customers will likely be through some form of digital engagement. The increasing online advertising opportunities, your expanding digital presences through your company website and social media platforms, search engine optimization techniques and the ever expanding online industry directories are all making it easier and easier for potential customers to find your products and services. Granted all of this “making the world smaller” digital stuff is also making it easier for your potential customers to find your competitors. It is for that reason that you need to pay special attention to the customer that encounters you through a digital avenue and makes the effort to reach out. They likely waded through other competitors’ websites and did a little (or a lot) of research and decided to put some of their hard earned money on your “counter” to give your product and/or service a try. Most importantly, make sure your digital presence is updated regularly and reflects your current products, services, branding and overall messaging.
1. First Impressions Matter.
2.Pay attention to a prospective/potential customer that makes a special effort to find your business.
3. Keep your business’s digital presence up-to-date.
All of your efforts to connect with potential and prospective customers should always be focused on one goal – get them to the Active Relationship Phase.
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