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Andrea Hill

Wow More Customers by Traveling The Customer Journey Map

This exercise will help you turn buyers into fans.

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WE SPEND A lot of time thinking about what we offer and how we sell. We know our product and service details, how our offering compares to our competitors, and our prices. We pay attention to what we offer our customers when they enter (a greeting, coffee), when to pull something special out of the vault, and how to speak to two buyers who aren’t quite on the same page.

But sometimes, in the midst of all the professional development, planning and training, we lose sight of the customer perspective. This leads to slowly eroding sales. That’s why you need to make (and regularly update) your Customer Journey Maps.

A Customer Journey Map illustrates how customers experience the purchase cycle. Creating one forces you to view the entire process from your ideal customer’s perspective. This helps you become aware of things you can do to turn prospects into buyers and buyers into fans.

By now, you’re familiar with sales funnels. At the wide-mouth top of the funnel are all the prospects, just becoming aware of their need and your brand. Some of those prospects drop down to the next level, engaging with your brand and trying to decide if they can trust you. A smaller subset drops down further, where they seriously consider purchasing from you. An even smaller subset makes a purchase, and of those, some become repeat buyers and loyal referrers.

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A Customer Journey Map turns that vertical funnel on its side. On the left is where your prospects begin their journey: with a need. What are they doing when they become aware of that need? Did they just decide to propose marriage? Are they trying to find an important gift? Are they celebrating a success? And now that they are aware of this need, what are they doing to explore it?

For each phase of the customer journey — Awareness/Discovery, Evaluation, Intent, Purchase and Loyalty — write down what your customer is doing, their touchpoints (search engine? walk-in?), and their pain points. Get as deep into the customer perspective as you can. Then, at the bottom of each phase, with the insights you’ve gained, consider what you could do to make that phase of their purchase journey easier.

No matter how well you think you know your customers, engaging in this simple yet profound exercise yields insights that will influence the way you merchandise, market, sell and provide service. Don’t be surprised if it turns into your most powerful sales and marketing training activity.

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