Picture the scene. You’ve been set up on a blind date by a close, trusted friend. Your date is doing and saying all of the right things and they seem to be articulate and intelligent. Everything is going well – but then, something funny happens. You’re browsing the dessert menu, and they ask you “So, are you staying at mine, or am I staying at yours?”.
Um, what? Where did that assumption come from!? Now you’re offended. This person clearly has no respect for you and is not the kind of person you could have a meaningful relationship with.
Don’t panic – I’m not getting intimate!
Would you believe this is actually an analogy about the prospect to customer journey?
We’ve all heard that old adage “wine, dine, 69”, but have you ever wondered whether – in business terms – you’re the kind of cheap date that jumps into bed on the first night or one who waits until you know whether you’re a true match for your suitor before you let them seduce you?
Let me share an experience with you. Recently I was invited by one of my Mastermind group members to join a Facebook run by a professional providing online marketing services. I never underestimate the value of a referral from a trusted contact – 75% of the work in terms of gauging credibility is done for me, and that really counts. So I joined immediately.
Having joined the group, things went well. The organiser provided valuable online marketing tools, offered free sessions and came across as genuine and transparent. I decided to get in touch and find out more – and this is where things went south.
In answer to my request for a chat, the reply back was “let me ask you some questions first so I know what kind of package will suit you.” Woah! That feels like me saying “Let’s have a coffee so we can find out more about each other” and you replying “How flexible are you? It’ll help me work out what sexual positions we’ll be doing later!”
I persevered and – along with some very relevant and appropriate questions – there was one that really threw me: “How much do you earn?” Hmmm. Why do you need to know? Are you trying to find out whether as a date I’m “worth” it? How much you’re willing to spend on the meal? How hard you’re prepared to work to seduce me?
But the next remark was the straw that broke the camel’s back. When I commented “This is a few too many questions for me”, I received the reply “I’m doing this to avoid wasting everyone’s time.” So now we’ve bypassed the courting stage entirely and we’re on a speed date and guess what? I’m feeling like we are definitely not a match.
I’m not a cheap date, a cheap prospect, or a cheap customer.
don’t appreciate being treated as one. The red flag for me is, the kind of professional that treats prospects like this might also be the kind of person who kicks a date out of bed when they’ve got what they want. And I have too much self-respect for that.
It’s also useful to think about this analogy from the perspective of the seducer, not just the “seducee”. What kind of customers do you want? The kind that get naked straight away? A one-night stand who you never see again?
There are many ways of defining the prospect to customer journey, but in this tale of courtship there are three simple stages:
Become aware of each other
Consider whether you’re interested
Make the decision to take it further
I prefer getting to know my prospect on a qualitative basis because I want to enter into a solid and fruitful relationship – for both of us – in the long term. I’m not into the wham, bam, thank you ma’am methodology.
Now, this doesn’t mean pouring time into every prospect – including ones that simply aren’t appropriate!
It is perfectly possible to establish whether you and a prospect are simpatico through clear, transparent – and respectful – qualification, and be firm about the kind of clientele you want to serve.
So if you feel like someone is trying to get into your business knickers before they can prove that you’re right for each other, show them the door. You have way too much self-respect for that!