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When people buy from you, they go through five stages. You can think of this as the customer journey. Where is your current focus, within the five stages? If you feel that you could be doing better, this straightforward model may help.

1. Awareness: they know that you exist

Awareness building is a central aspect of marketing activity. What are you doing to raise brand awareness? If you are marketing products, advertising is the traditional way of creating awareness. PR works for both products and services. Most enterprises use digital marketing, however, are you reaching new people or just the same old list?

2. Prospect: they understand what you do and how you can serve their needs

Someone who is going through the sales qualification process. As Sales Managers know, enterprises must have a pipeline of potential customers that they have identified, talked to and qualified.

3. Customer: they make their first purchase

Someone who has bought from you once (or made a donation, if you are a charity). Money has changed hands on a single occasion. Therefore, this is a transaction, nothing more. There isn’t a deep relationship yet or brand loyalty.

4. Client: they start to buy from you regularly

The next stage is to turn customers into clients, through repeat business. You can achieve this by delivering a first class service. React to questions quickly. Listen carefully. Share interesting, useful and helpful information.

5. Advocacy: they spread the love

A handful of customers, a larger percentage of clients and some of your (non-client) friends will become advocates. These are the people who recommend you. Everyone loves referrals. The question is: do you have a referral system in place?

Are you devoting your sales and marketing efforts to a single stage?

This can happen with sales focused enterprises that are only interested in winning new customers.

Once they have you as a customer, it would appear that they could not care less about you.

The best approach is to balance your resources across the five stages.

PS If you have been in business for some time, you may have a significant number of dormant customers. Go back and start communicating with them again. It is typically five times less expensive to sell to a customer, as it is to a stranger.

Nigel Temple

Author Nigel Temple

Nigel Temple is a marketing consultant, speaker, trainer and writer. Topics include: AI / ChatGPT, Marketing strategy, Digital marketing, SEO, Copywriting, Mailchimp. Nigel is available to hire for a consultancy meeting, training workshop, speaking event or marketing project. Email: Or call Nigel on: 01628 773128

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