The Three Steps of the Customer Buying Cycle

A common misconception with a lot of people is that business transactions are simple affairs: customers express interest in something, they buy, and then they leave.

This is a vast oversimplification of what is actually at work. Business majors and entrepreneurs have spent decades plotting out and exploiting every step of a customer’s buying process so as to better attract and retain their business. There are three sequential steps that customers take when they show an interest in purchasing something, and a lot of business owners are unaware of how to best target each of these phases. Each phase reflects a different stage of their mentality, meaning that the ideal strategy to exploit each phase will differ. So what are these three phases of the customer buying cycle?

Three Main Phases

These three phases are awareness, interest, and purchase. Awareness is the phase where they first become aware of the product or service that you are offering. Interest reflects the period of time where they show that they might want to buy your product – a customer that inquires about specific details relating to what you sell would be a good example. Targeted sales pitches are usually made in this phase. Lastly, purchase is the period of time where they make their final evaluation and the decision to purchase from you. Understanding how to address the needs of each phase will go a long way towards boosting your sales and securing long-term business from your customers.

1. Awareness

This is the incipient phase of a customer’s awareness of who you are and what you are all about. This phase of the customer buying cycle is where customers make their first judgement of you, which is why a lot of marketing and advertising departments spend so much time and money polishing the image of their business. This phase is important because it is where you can craft your message to appeal to the desired market segment. Another important tool that is commonly used during this phase is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This refers to the practice of tailoring your website to the demographic that you wish to market yourself towards. Businesses will commonly insert relevant keywords into their indexed pages with the intention of leading searching customers to their website.

2. Interest

This phase of the customer buying cycle is when customers come to you. The awareness phase is where you grab their attention, and this phase is where you have a chance to build upon it. Customers are typically non-committal during this phase; they are likely still doing plenty of research and shopping around. Targeting buyers during this phase means that you need to give your potential customer a compelling reason to purchase from you instead of your competitors. The responsibility here is two-fold: first, you need to market yourself as the solution to the customer’s unique problem. Second, you need to address the customer’s needs and perspectives. Businesses will frequently offer positive reviews and testimonials of their products to convince these potential customers that they offer the solution to their needs. Offering a persuasive sales pitch is only half of the solution: make sure that the customer feels that you are concerned with what they want.

3. Purchase

This phase of the customer buying cycle includes not only the actual purchase of the good or service itself, but also the final evaluation. A customer might still be reviewing their options in this phase, but what differs from the interest phase is that they have shown a distinct desire to purchase the good or service in question. This gives you an opportunity to give the customer a more comprehensive overview of what it is that they wish to purchase, and it is also the appropriate time to upsell additional products or features. Car dealerships are especially fond of this point in the cycle. Once the customer sits down and begins negotiating the price of their future vehicle, the sales team moves in and does everything they can to get that person to buy the car. Whether they slash the price, throw in extra bonuses or offer them rebates, they will do whatever it takes to turn that expressed interest into an actual sale. This is where you want the sales team to take over: the amount of persuasiveness and personal magnetism they exhibit are every bit as important as their receptiveness and concern for the customer’s needs.

Write Your 2019 Business Plan Today

As the year begins, businesses all over the world have renewed (or established) the goals that they are aiming to achieve. Whether you want to increase yearly profits by 20%, open a new location, hire an additional person, or even find a way to take more time off, you’ll have to chart out a road map that will ultimately get you to your desired destination.

Like Mark Twain, a famous American writer once stated, “To live a fulfilled life, we need to keep creating the “what is next”, of our lives. Without dreams and goals there is no living, only merely existing, and that is not why we are here.”

A well-written business plan serves as a road map to profitability and should be used as a guide for structuring and operating your business.

Write down your 2019 goal for your business. Where do you envision your business by the end of 2019? Be very clear and concise. Clarity brings a sense of direction. A detailed business plan should include a market analysis, details of your product and target audience, sales and marketing strategies, funding requirements and most important, revenue projections.

Being successful doesn’t necessarily require you to do something completely radical and untested. In many cases, applying existing models in a way that you haven’t yet tried is enough to make your dream a reality. For example, if you aren’t making much use of social media, now might be the time to open up a new Instagram account. This, and many other methods, will go a long way towards accomplishing every goal you set out to meet well before the year ends!

Need help writing a business plan? Call us today! 408-899-6737

Achieve Better Management of Business Operations

Here are seven suggestions to apply personal discipline within the context of achieving better management of business operations and the more effective utilization of your personal time:

Delegate: Delegate activities to the staff with the appropriate skills. Manage this approach through an organizational structure and individual Positional Agreements appropriate to the size of the organization.

Prioritize: Prioritize your daily work by reviewing the next day’s important activities in a ‘to do list’ at the end of each day. You can maximize personal productivity by focusing on this list the next day. And don’t do what’s not on the list – resist the urge to be distracted and to do things that you enjoy more.

Handle each piece of paper only once and never more than twice: Don’t set aside anything without taking action.

Clean up: Clean up your desk and office shelves once per month. Categorize everything into four groups: ‘Do it’, ‘Delegate it’, ‘Defer it’, and ‘Dump it”. Before getting rid of anything, just ask the question, “What is the worst that can happen if the item was gone?” If the answer is “nothing”, then dump it.

Put personal interruptions on hold: Put your calls and personal interruptions on hold for one hour, two hours or whatever is appropriate to your task at hand. It is amazing how much work that can be achieved by using this simple technique and not being distracted by a phone call or personal interruption – and most of these potential interruptions will not meet the definition of ‘important’.

Learn to say “No”: This may be the most effective way to maximize your personal utilization of time and is often the hardest word to use in business. Make sure that if you don’t say “No,” it is because the activity is important in context of your own role in the business.

Make sure you set aside personal relaxation time during every workday. Don’t work during lunch. It is neither nutritional nor noble to skip important stress-relieving time or important energy input. Take vacations, particularly mini-vacations. The harder you work, the more you need to balance your leisure and exercise time.

As a business owner, the key to time-management is to build your personal and business life around your individual needs and desired outcomes through planned and measured activities. Time management is, in fact, the ultimate in self-improvement because it is the foundation for achieving your goals in every aspect of your life.

 

How to Avoid Uncertainty, Always Being on the Job, and Burnout – the Top 3 challenges of Small Business Owners

 

It’s not easy being a business owner. Overwork and burnout are two especially common problems with entrepreneurs, and it’s not hard to see why. 

One survey from New York Enterprise Report found that small business owners work twice as much as regular employees. It also found that 33% of small business owners reported working more than 50 hours per week, and 25% said they work more than 60 hours a week.

That’s hardly the only study reporting those kinds of hours, either. Gallup found that 39% of the owners they surveyed worked over 60 hours a week.

It’s not just about the hours.  Small business owners work more, sure. But they’re also under more pressure. This is true whether they have employees or not.

Hard work is an admirable trait, but work for the sake of work is a waste. There are ways to reduce your workload while still putting in the time and effort your business needs to succeed, and implementing these methods will preserve your physical and mental health in the long run. These are some of the ways in which you can reduce your workload and restore your personal time to a healthy level.

1) Delegate

Good business owners understand the value of hiring people smarter than themselves to do a job right. An excellent manager, a well-trained crew and a virtual assistant can do wonders for your bottom line. You can’t do it all yourself. So, don’t. 

Delegate tasks that are time-consuming, such as social media marketing, CRM management, newsletters, blogging and customer support services.  If you train your workers correctly, you won’t have to do the jobs of four different people.

2) Work smarter, not harder

The law of diminishing returns hits us especially hard. Don’t believe the hype when somebody brags of “working” 80 hours a week. If you were to follow them in their day-to-day life, you’d probably find that their productivity was exceedingly low, and that they were classifying a lot of non-work activities as work. If you are sitting at a desk but you’re not doing much, that means nothing. but if you find ways to squeeze more work in the time you have, you won’t have to put in as many hours to get things done. If you’re using old software, upgrade to something newer. If your store’s layout is inefficient, change it. If your business is drowning in paperwork, streamline it.

As an added note, the GDP per hour worked tends to have an inverse correlation with the number of hours worked overall. Put another way, countries in which people work more hours per year generally have lower levels of productivity. As an example, South Koreans work an average of about 2,100 hours a year and produce about 32 dollars of GDP per hour worked. The French work about 1,500 hours a year and produce twice that per hour worked. Smarter work means you don’t have to put in as many hours to produce the same number of goods and services.

3) Manage as much as you need, not as much as you want

A lot of new supervisors and managers run into this problem, but some business owners are this way as well. Your business is your baby – you want people to treat it with the same care and attention that you do! the problem is, some business owners don’t let a person do what it is that they hired them to do. If you believe that you made the right decision in hiring a person, back off and let them do your job. Not only will it be easier on you, but your team will not resent you as much. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep an eye on things, but if you are micromanaging your team on a daily basis, you screwed up somewhere. Whether you are being overly controlling or you didn’t hire the right people, the fault still comes back to you.

You’ll never be able to control everything all of the time. If you learn to let the small details go, you can focus in on the things that really matter.

Need help setting up a plan to leverage your time to maximize efficiency and profits?  Schedule a complimentary session with us!

 

 

 

What makes you special?

 

 

 

 

 

One of the first lessons in building a business is really a lesson that has to be continuously examined and almost relearned: what makes you special? How are you unique?

You need to work out what is special about you, and then make a big deal about it. And don’t just say ‘price’ or ‘quality’ – these are empty terms. Make it very specific, and meaningful.

How is that possible you ask? Well here’s an idea: every person and every individual is unique – you are unique, you are different, so focus not only on your product or service, but the unique aspects of your personality, who you are, what you stand for, and what you value.

Better yet – focus on the unique positive difference your product or service will make in the lives of your unique set of ideal clientele.

Need help defining what is unique about your business? Schedule a complimentary session with us!

Small Business Calendaring System

You have a small business, but you have NO TIME? No time for yourself. No time for your family. No time for your friends. Someone asks you to do something and what do you say? “I have NO TIME. I’m too busy.

Elisa Yu, one of the top business coaches in the Silicon Valley, can help you gain 8 hours back into your workweek so you can spend more time with the ones you love. Attend her workshop on September 12th. Elisa will lead you to new levels of productivity by teaching you the 5 aspects of your business that you must dedicate time to and how to effectively distribute your time.

You will discover the most powerful  “Calendaring System” for managing 5 important aspects of your business:  

  1. Operations
  2. Marketing
  3. Sales
  4. CFO/ Financials
  5. CEO Activities

Can you imagine what getting 8 hours back into your workweek would mean to you, your business and your family? It’s time you gain back control of your life, your financials and your most valuable asset: YOUR TIME! Register today.  Seating is limited. 

HOST NAME

ELISA YU

EVENT DATE /TIME

September 12th 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM PDT

VENUE

ActionCOACH of Santa Clara

4340 Stevens Creek Boulevard, #161

San Jose, CA 95129

 

About ActionCOACH: 

ActionCOACH of Santa Clara is a well-positioned coaching firm that helps business owners improve their lives and business. Elisa Yu and Joe Siecinski are top business coaches in the Silicon Valley, with a passion for helping small business owners get more customers, make more money, and have more time. 

Thousands of small business owners in the Silicon Valley have experienced first-hand, Joe’s and Elisa’s generosity of spirit and high energy, which has contributed to the thriving success in their business and personal lives.

For more information about our Action Coaching Programs
call 408-899- 6737

Self-sabotage: 7 Signs You Are Getting in the Way of your Sales Success

You can stop self-sabotaging yourself and begin to reach your sales goals. The first step is to simply become aware of what’s getting in your way. When you become aware of how you are getting in your own way, THEN, and only THEN, do you have the power to change it. Here are 7 things to consider:

  1. You are following your agenda rather than theirs. Take their lead, if answers to your questions go in another direction, follow it.
  2. You are getting objections. Objections mean you didn’t let them bring up an important point during the conversation, or you didn’t listen when they tried to get more details about an area.
  3. You are talking people OUT of buying. STOP talking, start listening, it can’t be any simpler than that.
  4. You are being asked for a resume or testimonials. This means you are selling yourself rather than solving their problems.
  5. You have a closing rate of less than 50% after they talk to you in person. Example: If they agree to see you after completing a questionnaire, a half hour on the phone and so much more, in their head they are at the VERY LEAST 50% of the way to having bought your service or product. All you have to do is let them show you why.
  6. You are losing clients within the first 3 to 6 months. There can be many reasons for this, but ultimately, it’s because they are NOT getting the results they THOUGHT they would. Dang, if they just read the books, came up with their own ideas and you insisted they worked harder every week, they would get results.
  7. You think your HEAD TRASH is real . I have to know more, I don’t have enough experience. I have to BE more. Goodness me, you don’t win a marathon by BE’ing more, you win by training more, running more and doing the hard work. Business success is about hard work- your hard work, your team’s hard work and your client’s hard work.

True, sometimes business is slow. That’s a time when self-sabotage can easily creep in. Don’t let it! Do yourself a favor and use this list in the most productive way… to STOP sabotaging your own sales success!

 

What Does a Business Coach Do?

Business coaches are experts in their field, so with their experience and hands-on knowledge, they know what it takes to set up a business for success. When your business coach understands the business that you are in, one-on-one coaching can be really effective. Having spent years in their line of work, they have a lot of connections that will be of great use to you, which they can leverage to assist you in growing your business too.

As a business owner, it can sometimes be difficult to see the forest for the trees. You are deeply involved in the minute day-to-day details of running your business, and while this is necessary to ensure that your business holds itself together, it can also make you lose sight of the bigger picture. Remember – your customers and clients aren’t going to know or care what went on your latest spreadsheets.

A number of leaders who are starting up a business get so preoccupied in the daily grind that they have trouble envisioning new possibilities for themselves. They may dream big, but oftentimes, they do not believe that they can attain them. Business owners who have defeated themselves mentally will never succeed, and it is these people that need a business coach more than anybody.  Elisa and Joe, two of the top business coaches in the Silicon Valley can help you devise a plan of action to help you transform your dreams into reality.

Joe  Siecinski and Elisa Yu are part of ActionCoach,  a business coaching firm in the Santa Clara and San Jose Bay area.  Their proven systems, tools, and processes that have contributed to the success of over 2000 companies worldwide. 

We often have fears, cynicism and apprehensions, and they block us from seeing our potential and from achieving excellence. A coach is capable of cutting through the miasma of self-doubt and unleashing the full potential that each one of their clients possesses. They help clarify your goals and guide you along the way, celebrating with you when you succeed and guiding you when you don’t. A business coach has your best interests at heart. And as Joe Siecinski states,  “As your business coach, I will plan and execute the tactics to reach your goals. Our businesses support our lives; they are not our lives. I have the passion, vision, and tenacity to help business owners spend less time working IN their business and more time working ON their business. Guaranteed!” 

For more information on our business coaching programs in the Silicon Valley and the South Bay area visit our website at www.actioncoachsc.com or call 408-899-6737.