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             23 January, 2021

Category:  Articles » Business » Sales


Increase Sales Coaching Tip - Know the 4 Stages of Customer Development

         Views: 1473
2008-04-23 05:09:33     
Article by Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Customer development is critical to achieve the goal to increase sales. To be able to achieve this goal begins by understanding this simple word - development.

The word develop has both Old French and Latin origins. Develop combines the root words that mean apart and to wrap. From these words, the definition has evolved "to cause to become gradually fuller, larger, better."

Now imagine your customers becoming fuller, larger and better. What does that picture look like to you? How would developing your customers affect your bottom line?

Customers do not start as customers, but as suspects because you do not know if they meet any of the 4 criteria necessary to be a qualified prospect. These four criteria are:

-Have a need or needs
-Have a budget
-Are the decision maker
-Have urgency to solve their need or needs

Suspects are the first stage of Customer Development. They do not know you. To have them gradually become better, you must get them to cross the Bridge of Awareness by meeting them at business networking events, through your marketing efforts and sometimes via third party referrals. During these encounters, you learn if they have any of the four criteria.

Upon crossing the Bridge of Awareness, they become prospects and this is the second stage of Customer Development. At this time, you know that they have at least 3 of the four criteria. To gradually turn them into a customer requires that the both of you cross the Buying Bridge where you walk the planks of a proven sales process, strong marketing and selling skills and relationship building. Now you have the opportunity to identify all 4 criteria and transition the qualified prospect into a for real customer, the third stage of customer development.

A customer buys from you at least one time however the long-term relationship has yet to be established. To transform this client into a loyal customer demands crossing the Bridge of Communication. While crossing this bridge, the customer and you make contact at least 2 to 3 times each month, the relationship becomes firmly established and you become a trusted advisor.

Now you have taken the client into the fourth stage of being a loyal customer. However, there does exist a final bridge that only you as the vendor can walk. This is the Bridge of Denial. When you begin to walk over this bridge, your actions are more focused on finding new customers, your beliefs now assume that the customers will always stay loyal and "if it ain't broke why fix it?" If you walk this entire Bridge of Denial, you will turn your loyal customers once again into suspects.

Understanding the 4 stages of Customer Development is necessary to be able to increase sales. Take this sales coaching tip and apply it to your existing suspects to customers. What stages are these folks in and how are you going to get them all to that final fourth stage?

What other actions have you taken to increase sales? Take free sales skills audit to help you crystallize the what of your sales skills.

Do you need some additional sales coaching tips but cannot afford a sales coach? Then visit the sales coaching gym.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith helps individuals & organizations through business coaching training services (locations near Chicago & Indianapolis) to increasing productivity and profitability. Her clients quickly double results in 30 to 90 days. Call 219.759.5601 to schedule a free business coaching consultation.

Specialized in: Sales Skill Assessment - Sales Skill - Sales Assessment - Sales Training - Sales Process - Business Sales - Sales Professional - Solo Profesional - Real Estate Agent - Financial Advisor - Small Business Owner - Executive Coach - Sales Coaching - Increase Sales - Sales Success
URL: http://www.processspecialist.com
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