(Prefer to read? Here is the transcription. Please excuse any typos.)
One of the ups and downs of sales and marketing is that unfortunately our customers; as a recruiter your clients and candidates, may decide not to purchase your services straight away. The harsh reality is; they will purchase on their time scale. Unfortunately not yours or mine..
Lets talk about customer buying cycle’s and the thoughts that people go through when they’re making a purchasing decision. It is the same process whether that’s a product that they’re buying or whether that’s a service that they’re buying, it’s exactly the same.
It’s the same in any industry whether you’re selling a fridge or whether you’re selling a relationship or whether you are selling your amazing candidates to clients.
It happens in different ways and different time frames for different people. This is known as the buyer’s cycle. A great way to remember it, I always call it ‘the acid test’ because this takes us through all the different elements.
The first one I’m going to cover is awareness, the second is contemplation or consideration, the third is intent and the fourth is the decision.
Now let’s talk about the buyer’s cycle. When it comes to purchasing decisions you only probably need to look at your own behavior around deciding to buy something for the home or for your kids or for your significant other or whatever that might be. You tend to go through a cycle. Generally you don’t turn up the store and say “Right this is what I going to buy. I’m just going to buy this now.”. Some individuals might do that and its likely that they are further down the buyers cycle.
Now some people break this down into three sections, other people break down into four. Let me just give you an example. Recently we purchased a speaker Bose Bluetooth speaker because we needed a new one and we knew that there was something that we could potentially purchase wasn’t quite sure what.
Well, I was up at our neighbors, a 79-year-old lady in the village that we love to pieces and she was showing us her new speaker and showing us how to download Spotify! Yes that is true and I wasn’t aware of this particular speaker at this point. So anyway, I had a look at Daphne’s speaker and then decided I’m going to have to look at this online and let’s make a decision about this.
I started going through the different process. We were at a point that we knew we needed something like this because when we do events we like to have music playing. So that intention was there and we went through the buying cycle in a classic sort of way. If you just think about your own purchasing behavior you will know that this is exactly true and it’s exactly the same in business.
First of all, we become aware and then we may consider that we want to buy that thing or we decide – Do we actually want to move company? Do we actually need to recruit somebody now or later? Then we go through this intention while we start to consider it in a lot more depth. Then we have a real buyer’s intent and then finally we make that decision. – That is a classic buying process. So how does it relate to you and your marketing? How can you think about that?
Many people ask us “So how does this content marketing work then?” Is it going to bring us lead straight away?” Well, it can and sometimes it can take a little while longer because it depends what stage people are at. Often people will become aware of you through social media, then they go to your website, they read a full blog post like this and then they sign up for your emails.
In a recent blog post we talked about the LinkedIn authorship. Share content on LinkedIn, and people will become more aware of you. That’s the great power of social media it can create that awareness about you. People may find out about you at a local event. Maybe it’s a career’s fair or maybe at a local networking event depending on what sector you are working in.
It could be because a candidate that you’ve placed, their best buddy is also looking to move and they recommend you as the recruiter of choice. It could be that within an organization, one part of the company has used your specific recruitment company and now they’ve recommended you to another part of the organization. So that’s where the awareness starts. You get onto people’s radar and they may or may not want to use your services straight away but at least you are there.
Contemplation / Consideration
The next part that happens is – I call it contemplation, some people call it consideration. This is where people are starting the evaluation process and they are really starting to look around a lot more. They may come and have a look at your website. They’re going to read your content. They’re going to start making a judgment about whether you are the type of person that they could work with, whether you understand them.
Remember people will look at your content before they make a decision to pick up the phone. This is where they’re making that consideration about – Are they really as good as say they are? Do they get me? Do they understand what is important?
That’s where you really have to make sure that you have all your ducks in a row. When I say that I’m talking about how you are profiling yourself as an authority in your recruitment sector. Do you have a website where you are actively sharing content? Do you have resources available? Are you actively posting on to LinkedIn adding value and branding yourself as a recruiter of choice? This is where people are making decisions about that next stage.
Are they going to pick the phone up?
Maybe they’ve been receiving the emails that you’ve been sending out to them for a while and now they’ve got to know you they’re starting to trust you a little bit more and now they want to do something about their marketing.
We often with our emails have people that respond to us and say “Been receiving your emails for a while, I now know that I do need to do something about marketing. It’s the middle of the year or whatever and we want to press the button on this, can we have a conversation?”
Then of course people move into that decision mode and if you’ve got all the other things right along the way and your offer is crafted in such a way that it appeals to people and they get that you can add the value that they need, then they are more likely to say yes.
If you will follow that process all the way through by creating that awareness, being present online, people are able to see you… If you’ve got your website set up and the branding you; are portraying exactly what you can do for people in an ethical and congruent way ? If so you have warmed those people up.
Now some people may take days to go through this process, some people take weeks and some people take years and one of the benefits of online marketing is that you can automate this. You can get your blog posts created for you. You can outsource all of the content to an expert and you can be there when people are ready to buy from you.
So that is the buyer’s cycle and I call it ‘the acid test’. So remember it’s about awareness. It’s about contemplation and consideration. People are going through these different phases. It’s about intent and when we get to the intent part, they’re going to pick up the phone and talk to you so you need to know what your key sales messages are that are going to convince that person that’s in conversation with you. And then of course they make a decision and whoopee doo ………………….
As an ambitious recruitment organisation, THE marketing strategy to master is email marketing. It will consistently deliver both candidates and clients.