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The Lie of 7 Touches

A business owner I was talking with the other day mentioned that it takes seven touches to get a sale, and that is the common wisdom on it. And while there may be research to back that up, it completely misses the point! To get a sale, you need three things to come together. And that can happen after one touch (more than once I have gotten a new client via a referral that required just one interaction for them to say “yes”) or it may take 100 or more. So what are the three things? 1) A Need or Strong Desire Your potential customer must recognize that they have a need. This “need” can be created through advertising, but they still must accept that they have a need. For example, we would like to redo our kitchen. However, it is a much lower priority than many other things that we want to do, such as a trip to Europe. So, the only way I am going to engage someone to redo our kitchen is if we decide that it has moved from a want to a need. 2) Know About the Solution Even if a need is identified, a potential customer must know that a solution exists. And, they need to know that the solution exists in a price range they are willing to pay. For example, you may want to get your teeth whitened. If your dentist offers to do it for $500 and that is not in the range you are willing to pay for that service, you are not interested. However, if you learn about a do-it-yourself kit that only costs $50, then you are ready to go.

This is where having multiple touches can help, although it is not always necessary. Potential customers have to trust that the solution will work for them. And if you are a service provider, they need to trust you will deliver on your promises. There are lots of ways to build trust with referrals being one of the best ways. However, without a referral, you can build trust by showing up regularly and providing useful information. Once you know the three components necessary to close a sale, what can you do about it? Build your marketing and sales plan around it:

  • Be sure you are touching on a need that potential customers recognize. Selling a freezer to Eskimos is not a good use of your time.

  • Make sure potential customers understand how your product or service is a solution for them. Focus on the benefits and not the features.

  • Be trustworthy and helpful in all of your communications. Keep the best interests of your potential customers in mind.

  • Keep showing up. If they are interested in your product or service, and not ready to buy now, keep showing up (in a helpful way) so that they remember you when their want turns into a need.

So, a sale can require multiple touches. However, it is important to understand why and make sure you leverage that knowledge to be more effective.

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