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The 7 Steps to a Marketing Gold Mine
by Joe Gracia

No one starts off as a full blown customer of your company. Customers go through a specific sequence as they get to know, like and trust you and your business.

The higher up in the sequence they travel, the more profitable they are to you.

At each level they are looking for something different. Give them exactly what they are looking for, and your business will explode with growth.

1. Strangers:

Strangers are people who don't know about you or your business, and most of them have no interest in buying your products or services.

Most of the small One-Step ads you see in your local papers are trying to sell directly to strangers. You'll go broke trying to do the same thing.

However, hidden within the vast world of strangers are prospects who may have a strong interest in your products or services.

2. Prospects:

Prospects have indicated an interest in the solution your company provides.

Some may be ready to buy right now. Some may be ready in a few weeks or a few months.

While many business owners only contact their prospects once and then give up, the smart ones contact them up to 7 times to maximize their sales.

From your prospects come the next level -- samplers.

3. Samplers:

These prospects may be close to buying, but are still not quite sure if you offer the best solution. They want to be sure they will make the best decision.

By sampling your product or service, they can now judge for themselves, whether your solution is for them.

Some variations on sampling are: free samples, discount coupons, free demos, free first visit, free workshops, etc.

From samplers come first-time customers.

4. First-Time Customers:

At last, they have become your customers. But, you're not home free yet. You want them to come back and buy from you again and again.

Your first-time customer still has a decision to make. Should they continue buying from you in the future, or should they continue searching for a better solution?

Let them know that they have made the right decision by treating them right, and they'll move up to the next level; repeat customers.

5. Repeat Customers:

This is the level that makes your profits soar.

Make your good, repeat customers feel important. Show them special attention, and send them special Perferred Customer offers.

Let them know that you really appreciate their business and they'll move up to the next level; frequent customers.

6. Frequent Customers:

It doesn't get much better than this. Not only are they happy with your products or services, but they buy from you frequently.

Offer them frequent buyer discounts. Show your appreciation at the holidays.

Don't neglect this golden group of frequent customers and many of them will advance to the highest level--they'll become advocates for your business.

7. Advocates:

This is what you are striving for. Happy customers who buy frequently and rave about your business to their family, friends and neighbors.

Treat these customers like gold, because that's what they are worth to you and your business.

You may even want to reward them for referring new customers to your business. Strive to motivate all of your customers to reach this level, and you'll have more business than you can handle.

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