Digital marketing gurus often use a dating metaphor when talking about lead generation and sales (and explaining why they need to nurture potential customers). It usually sounds something like, “You wouldn’t meet someone at a bar, walk up to them, start to chat and then, five minutes later, ask them to marry you.” Or even the more condensed, “It’s like walking up to someone at a bar and saying ‘Hey, you’re cute—want to get married?’”
And then they say that, instead, you have to nurture your leads to get them prepared for the commitment of purchasing.
All versions of this metaphor are completely flawed. Yet it’s such a popular metaphor that people just assume that it’s true.
Here’s why and why it matters.
You’re Not Asking for a Monogamous Commitment
First, a purchase isn’t as permanent as a marriage, plain and simple. The commitment to purchase a $50, $500, even $5,000 course or program is nothing like spending the rest of your life with another human being.
We’re not proposing that our customers spend the rest of their lives monogamously committed to us. If that’s what purchasing something was all about, we’d think a lot harder before buying a new jacket.
Realistically, your customers may purchase your offer and will likely purchase other offers that complement it or even include different approaches.
Your Customers Are Coming to You (Not the Other Way Around)
Let’s revisit this “walk up to someone in a bar” concept. When someone opts in for your email list or visits your website or follows you on social media, you’re not approaching them, they’re approaching you. Even more significantly, if they’ve opted in, they’re expressing interest in you and what you have to offer.
If this metaphor were right, you wouldn’t be walking up to someone at a bar. They’d be walking up to you.
That means it’s prime time for you to capitalize on your customers’ interest versus making them wait and potentially losing their interest.
A Purchase Does Not Require Days, Weeks, or Months of Nurturing
In a good person-to-person relationship, interest increases with time. But that’s not true with a business-to-person relationship.
A purchase doesn’t require days, weeks, or months of nurturing.
Often your prospective customers are most interested and excited when they first encounter you and your solution. Making them wait squanders that interest.
After that point, interest and motivation begins to steadily decline.
Which means that if we spend a week or two—or, worse, several weeks—“nurturing” people before giving them something to purchase that will satisfy their wants or needs, then their interest and excitement has been steadily decreasing that entire time.
And that’s assuming they have an interest left; they may have already gone somewhere else to purchase.
Nurturing and Selling at the Same Time
The metaphor also assumes that nurturing and selling can’t happen at the same time. Not only is that not true, but nurturing and selling should happen at the same time.
Now, this is not to say that if someone expresses interest by following you or opting in that your immediate response should be sending them to a sales page. That would be like someone coming up to you and saying, “Hey, tell me more about what you do” and you responding by shouting “Buy this $900 product!”
Your audience does need to be nurtured—but they can be nurtured at the same time that you’re giving them a sales message.
If you want to sell as much as you can (and you’re in business so I assume you do), you need to give them the chance to purchase when they’re most interested in you and what you do, which is right when they first encounter you.
But you also need to combine that selling with nurturing and building that relationship at the same time so that they feel comfortable—and then compelled—to buy from you.
The longer you make people wait, the lesser the chance that they’ll buy.
But also, if you throw a sales page at strangers, they’ll run screaming.
When people opt-in to your list you need to:
- Nurture them and sell to them with the most compelling pieces of content you have.
- Give them a deadline to purchase.
- Give them just the right amount of time to acclimate to that purchase.
Enough time that any sticker shock has worn off, enough time so that they feel they’ve gotten adequate time to decide, BUT not enough time that their interest has started to wane.
Is that tricky? Yeah—and that’s why most people aren’t doing it. They haven’t figured out how.
Learn more about how you can nurture and sell at the same time with our free training. Sign up for on-demand access right here >>
Do you nurture and sell at the same time? Share your experience in the comments below!