Let me set the scene: It’s 8pm on a Thursday evening and you make your way to a row of tables set up at the back of a local bar. After plunking down three $20 bills, you grab a name tag and take a seat. Over the next 90 minutes you will go on 30 “dates,” each lasting three minutes each.
For some of your “competitors,” the goal is simply to meet someone interesting and schedule a more meaningful second date – but for you, you have a plan and a purpose: to leave the bar with a new fiancé. I mean, a 3% conversion rate seems possible right, and with a cost-per-date of $2, you can definitely afford to cast your net wide.
Can you say “reeks of desperation?” Seriously do you think anyone would try and find a marriage partner this way? And if they did, do you think they would be happy with the result?
So tell me this – Why do so many businesses use EXACTLY the same method, the “I know we just met, but I’d like to get in your pants, err I mean I like to have your credit card number please?”
A Better Approach
As I was thinking about this article, I came across an excellent post from Lee Odden called Is a Rush to Revenue Hurting Your Marketing Innovation & Domination? I especially like the diagram that Lee put together (shown below) which outlines a solid approach to customer acquisition.
Does this mean that each of these steps is a necessary checkmark before moving along to the next? Absolutely not; however it does suggest that there is a process of earning trust before a business should think about a selling proposition.
John Jantsch (a frequent contributor to the Spring Metrics Blog) seems to be singing from a similar hymnal when he talks about “The Marketing Hourglass” in his new, free eBook called “How to Build a Remarkable Business by Focusing on the Total Customer Experience.” In the book, John outlines a process of Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer.
If you are selling cheap widgets, the speed dating approach might be right for you. But if your business has a higher value proposition, be patient and appropriate with each individual prospect.