How long does it take to buy from you?
This sounds like an easy question. But, it actually has 3 different answers depending on what you want to do with the information.
You might be talking about elapsed time, accrued time or your welcome window. Here's the meaning of each time-period and when you should use it in your marketing strategy.
This is the period from a person first coming across your business to them buying from you for the first time.
For my business this can sometimes be a year or more! People need to be in the right position to want marketing consultancy and sometimes they meet me when the timing isn't right. For many other businesses it isn't so long. And I've worked with clients that have even longer "elapsed time" timescales than me.
This is the amount of time that a customer needs to spend actively considering their decision before they buy. "Accrued time" might include time spent in the following ways...
This timescale is often more difficult to put a number on than accrued time because customers might spend time doing the above without you knowing. But it is important to know roughly what this timescale is. For example, you might discover that a customer is unlikely to buy from you until they've spent about two hours thinking about their decision. Now you can create a sales process that invites and enables prospects to spend that long with you.
In her book "Watertight Marketing", Bryony Thomas describes the welcome window as the period between a person handing over money and them feeling like a customer.
I like to use the example of when I buy a piece of clothing. The shop might consider me a customer when I pay for the item. But I don't consider myself to have "bought" it until I cut out the tag or the returns period expires. That's when I know I'm going to keep it. Up until that point I might choose to "undo" my purchase.
For considered purchases especially, the welcome window is a crucial time-period. This is your opportunity to build a strong emotional connection with your customer, so give them a big hug!
Slowing customers down increases sales
A lot of people think that marketing is about speeding people up in their buying decision – it's not. It's about understanding how people want to buy from you and supporting them throughout their buying process.
This is the philosophy that Watertight Marketing teaches, and it's proven.
Karen Meager at Monkey Puzzle Training and Consultancy directly attributes slowing down the sales process to winning new business. She said:
“Some of the biggest successes we’ve had from [the Watertight Marketing Masterplan programme] are about working with businesses, slowing it down, taking people through each of the stages, rather than getting them to sign up for a proposal. That’s won us some really major contracts we wouldn’t have been able to land 2 years ago.”
If you understand your customers' natural buying timescales you can support their decision much better. This way you end up with more happy, loyal customers.
If you'd like some help to put a strategy like this in place in your business, give me a call. And you can rest assured I won't try to rush you into buying anything from me. After writing this I have to practice what I preach. After all, even if you're my ideal customer you might still need another year or more to decide, so I'll look forward to supporting you however long it takes!
This blog draws on key concepts, frameworks and illustrations that form part of the Watertight Marketing™ methodology. These remain the intellectual property of Watertight Marketing Ltd and are used with permission and under license.
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