Don't ask them to marry you before the first date.

It's not just what you say, but also when you say it that turns prospects and leads into dreamy loyal customers.

The Customer Loyalty Journey

The Customer Loyalty Journey

Imagine for a moment you’re single and looking for that special someone to spend your life with. You’re at a coffee shop, bar, grocery store, or wherever else it is you go to meet people and from across the room you see someone who’s caught your eye.

You walk up to them and say ‘hi’. They give a smile and say ‘hi’ in return, and the fact that they didn’t shut you down immediately gives you a surge of confidence.

So you do the next logical thing. You launch into a five-minute monolog which gives this perspective mate the summary of Y-O-U. Your background, the traits you believe to be your biggest strengths, a list of former partners (with recommendations!), your goals and dreams for the future.

When you’ve finished talking about yourself, you get down on one knee and ask them to marry you.

You have it all planned out. The wedding date is set. You’ve picked out a house in a neighbourhood with a great school for your two future kids. Everything will be perfect.

Everything… except the fact that this charming person you’ve been pitching yourself to has run away screaming. You’re left standing there alone, wondering ‘Why didn’t they accept my proposal?’

Did reading that scenario make you cringe? I’m going to guess it probably did. This is just not how things are done in the dating world.

It’s also the reason why the thought of ‘selling’ your products or services makes you cringe. Selling is about identifying a lead, pitching them, and closing the deal. Or is it?

This, my friends, is why it is important to understand the Customer Loyalty Journey (CLJ).

The Customer Loyalty Journey (CLJ)

Just like there is a certain set of steps most married people go through between being complete strangers and growing old together, there is a set of steps you need to walk your customer through before they are loyal, raving fans. Your customer may go through these steps slowly or quickly depending on their problem and what you are selling, but you can’t skip ahead to loyalty without building a relationship first.

Over the next 7 weeks, I’m going to use the parallel of dating to explain this customer or client journey through a series of free weekly blog posts. Why dating? Well, most people understand the basic rules and concepts of dating (even if they haven’t done it in a while). And at its core, dating is selling. It’s selling someone a future life – with you!

Knowing the stage your prospect or customer is at is more than just a theoretical exercise. By mapping out the journey, you’ll know what key messaging to use on your website, in your emails, on social media, and in person so you don’t try to close the deal too early in the relationship.

You will also use this information to sell each product or service you offer. When built out into a complete system, this is what is known as a sales funnel.

Nice Businesses Use Funnels

Now, in the past you may have thought something like this:

Sales funnel? That sounds too clinical. 

Key messaging? That sounds so rehearsed and unnatural.

I don’t want to do any of that hard-selling. Shouldn’t I just let people know what I do and let them decide if it’s the right fit?

If you think ‘funnel’ is as bad as the other F word (as many heart-centered entrepreneurs do), I want to clarify something. Selling isn’t just about getting you what you want. It’s about you and your customer getting your problems solved and needs met in a way that benefits each of you.

By not using a funnel and nurturing that relationship through all of the necessary stages, you’re not being very kind to your potential customer.

You could have had an amazing life together with that person you scared away by asking for too big of a commitment too soon.

You didn’t take the time to find out anything about them. You didn’t give them a chance to want to know more about you. You didn’t meet them where they were at.

You were in a big of a rush to get the sale, and now not only have you lost the sale, the customer lost the chance to have you solve their problem. How nice was that?

You would never propose marriage before a first date because that’s just not how it’s done. It’s too far outside of what the other person expects to happen when they acknowledged your presence with a ‘hi’.

Be the Guide, Not the Salesperson

The customer loyalty journey is all about helping your customer make small, incremental commitments. Done properly, you will delight and surprise them along the way. Although the system is… well… a system, the journey will feel easy and right for your dream clients while sending the less-than-dreamy ones on their merry way.

In other words, if you know what product or service you’re selling, if you understand your brand, and if you have a dream client profile, then the next step in your business is to map out where your clients are, where you want them to be, and all of the stops they need to make along the way.

You’re the tour guide on this journey. Before you start your tour you need a map of where you will go and what you will say along the way.

Stay tuned for the upcoming posts in this series. You can keep checking back or join my mailing list to be notified when the posts go live. 

Other posts in this series:

Stage 1: Awareness

Stage 2: Research

What do you think?