When I think of Spring, I can’t help but think of it as a season of transition. Seeds evolve into plants, kids graduate from high school and college, and many single people choose this time of year to get married.
No matter what the transition is or how desirable the next phase may be – transitions are, by their very nature, very stressful periods of time. In that stress, comes the need for a deepened understanding and more support.
You may not think of it this way, but my guess is that at the very moment your customer is ready to buy, they’re in a state of transition as well. They might be evolving their business, they might be experiencing a life transition or they might just be transitioning to you from whoever was servicing them before.
At MMG, we’re big believers in not only understanding who your sweet spot customers are but even more important – understanding exactly where that sweet spot customer is at any moment in the buying cycle.
If your prospects or clients are in a state of transition, it would be helpful for you to remember some of the realities that transitions bring so that you can serve them better, be more empathetic and anticipate their needs.
When a person is in any sort of transition, everything is heightened. Typically a transition is a significant event that brings with it a host of emotions. At the base of any transition is the combination of uncertainty and anxiety. Because it’s important to whoever is going through it – they’re worried that it won’t go the way they’ve envisioned that it should. Add to that anxiety the reality that in most transitions some elements are out of their control. The bride can’t control the weather. The graduate can’t control his family dynamics. The business owner can’t control if the old vendor will block the transition or make it simple and clean.
On top of that blend of anxiety and uncertainty is loss. As the old saying goes, “you can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” No matter how exciting or amazing the new transition will be, there is the pain of saying goodbye to something comfortable and familiar. Even if your new client is furious with their old vendor – they know exactly what to expect and how to react to it. There’s comfort in that.
Another element of transition that you need to keep in your sights is the fact that when someone is making a change, they often have unrealistic expectations for what that change will bring to them. You’ve probably made quite a few promises and commitments to entice that new customer to do business with you. At the moment of the transition – they not only expect you to keep those promises, they expect you to exceed them. When we’re courting a new client – we’re putting on the full court press. They feel very desired and like they’re your first and only priority. If you deliver on that – you can quickly earn their trust. But if you stumble, it’s tough to recover.
Finally – remember that when someone is going through a significant change, they’re very conscious of the risks involved. They may know intellectually that this is something they either need or want to do, but they’re putting themselves in a very vulnerable position.
If you want to make your new customer’s transition to your company smooth and worry free, you’ll need to have a carefully orchestrated plan in place. Over communicate that plan. Build in time for them to ask the same question they’ve asked ten times before. Be absolutely accessible and transparent and earn their confidence and trust, step by step.