In 2008, at a sales training for water treatment, a mentor of mine told me that the best way to earn the sale before I ever set foot in someone’s home was to close my eyes and imagine all that my prospect was going through up to the point they contacted our office. 

He encouraged me to think about their process of research, pain points, and what information they may find along the way. The goal was to better understand their lives so we could tailor our marketing and sales to fit their experience.

This process served our customers and dealership very well.

Today, in this virtual and rapidly changing world, it’s more important than ever to put ourselves in the shoes of those we can help and try to better understand their lives.

So, for the next few minutes, let’s imagine for a moment a 40-year-old woman named Susan is driving down the road. Traffic is whizzing by, the radio is on, and her mind is wandering thinking of all the things she has to get done.

Suddenly, a woman’s voice comes on the radio and grabs Susan’s attention. She’s explaining how the water in her home caused her family all kinds of trouble and she goes on to gladly share her experience of how XYZ Water Pros helped solve their water woes. 

Susan immediately identifies with the woman in the ad as she just moved into her home from a different state. Within days, she realized there was something wrong with the water. Her skin and hair were dry, her glasses had unsightly spots, and the faucets sported a crusty buildup.

She makes a mental note of the company’s name and when Susan gets home she pulls out her laptop and starts doing some research online.

First, she searches for “hard water spots” and sees results on the causes of hard water buildup and different ideas on how to fix it. She sees everything from using vinegar to buying a water softening system, however, she still isn’t sure what’s best for her and her family.

Susan’s next search is for “water softeners”. 

The internet search results come back with an overwhelming display of options. There are e-commerce products that can be purchased online, big box store products, a few local companies at the very top in the paid ads section, and even some frequently asked questions and responses.

“Well, that’s interesting”, she says to herself, “I guess there is more than one local company who offers this service.”

Then she searches “water softener companies near me”.

In the Google Maps section, she sees a long list of companies.

She sighs, deeply overwhelmed.

 Thinking back to the radio ad, she scans the map for “XYZ Water Pros”.

 She spots their listing. They have multiple 5-star-reviews, however, so do a few other companies.

 She begins to wonder why she would want to use a local company instead of buying online. Plus, with Covid-19 still a concern, does she really want a stranger in her home if it’s not necessary?

 That evening she chats with her husband, Dave. They discuss the numerous options and decide to visit XYZ Water Pros’ website.

 Susan and Dave are at a critical juncture in their research.

 It is at this moment that the XYZ Water Pros website must act as an extension of their sales team to convey value to Susan & Dave, overcome objections, and explain why they are the best option.

 Whether your business is a local dealership like XYZ Water Pros, an e-commerce store, or an OEM, listen up –  the goal is still the same up to this point.

 You need to show up for high-intent searches, use the tools available to invite people to click through to your site, and then effectively communicate why you are their best option.

 To understand how to do this, let’s dissect what has happened in our scenario.

 The radio ad Susan heard interrupted her day to pique her interest about a problem with which she identified.

 Then Susan also went through multiple Google searches to find out more about her problem.

 First, she typed in a low knowledge-level term, “hard water spots”. She didn’t know what the problem was or how to fix it yet. She then learned about hard water minerals, what the solution might be, and from there did a higher knowledge-level search for, “water softener”. 

 Without a local city or the words “near me” in her search, the search engine algorithm identified her search as a global search instead of a local search.

 One simple way a local company can show up at this point at the top of the first results page, even with a global search, is if they are effectively running paid ads.

 Last, Susan realizes she wants to look locally so she adds in the words “near me” to her search.

 The search engine algorithm now identifies her search as local so they show a map with relevant business listings high on the results page.

 The radio ad reminds Susan of XYZ Water Pros so she finds them on the map.

 Once Susan and Dave visit XYZ Water Pros’ website, the site must immediately give them a reason to stay engaged.

 Here are a few ways XYZ Water Pros can do this as well as some questions to think about when it comes to your site:

  • Assure Susan she’s in the right place within 2 seconds. If you go to your website, is it immediately apparent what your business does?
  • Provide a crystal clear reason why Susan should continue browsing their site. Do you have a strong value proposition that sets you apart from your competitors and a clear path for your website visitors to find what they need?
  • Use images, videos, and text that support your value proposition to make Susan feel that you are the best option. Does your site provide value and build rapport by addressing your target market’s questions so they can relate to what you’re saying?
  • Provide a simple way for Susan to contact you. Is there a web form and phone number on every page of your site? Is there a clear call-to-action?
  • Add trust indicators & social proof so Susan feels comfortable that others like her have had a good experience with your team. Do you have testimonials and 3rd party certifications next to the contact forms on your website?

 Even if the XYZ site hits all these bullet points, Susan may still explore her options. However, they’ve greatly improved their chances of standing out from the competition and earning Susan and Dave’s business.

 With the event of Covid-19 in 2020, people are more aware than ever about their health. They are actively searching for options and it’s up to you to understand their journey and craft, test, and constantly improve your marketing to fit their needs.

 Imagining your customer’s journey is one simple way to improve leads. This will allow your team to improve empathy, communication, and your value proposition. Combining this with the skill of a savvy marketing professional will help you grow your business whether there is calm or chaos in the world around us.