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Internet Strategy

Creating No-Turning-Back Experiences

admin | Jul 19, 2019

This blog post is a partial excerpt from Steve Wolgemuth’s book, The Crucial 12, Powerful Insights For Marketing Leadership, where he discusses The Thing That Sells The Thing™.

A No-Turning-Back Experience

I remember it like it was yesterday. My wife was sitting at the other end of the sofa, and she looked at me and smiled. At that moment, I knew she was the one for me. We were engaged a few weeks later. Many couples can recall magic moments similar to mine. It’s a milestone experience from which there is no turning back — that point in the relationship that stands out above all the other dates, dinners, and conversations.

But this concept of a milestone experience also applies to business development and marketing. If a business leader can recognize a pattern in how customers might experience a “no turning back” moment, they may have a game-changing insight, one that will revolutionize the success of their marketing strategy.

Years back, I had a conversation about this with a client named Joan who was responsible for selling an expensive product. It was a complex sale that involved several decision-makers, took a long period of time, and required a lot of information. I asked her to identify which experiences or what part of the sales process she considered milestones. In other words, if she could just get her next prospect to do or to experience one thing, what would it be? What is that no-turning-back experience?

The Thing That Sells The Thing™

In my clumsy attempt and frustration to guide her, I blurted out, “Joan, what’s the thing that sells the thing?” Somehow, that language resonated with her and facilitated not only a productive marketing conversation but also a new way of thinking for her and her team-mates. As she began using this phrase within her organization and with my company’s team, it became a silly phrase that represented what I have come to believe is one of the most powerful, yet under-used, marketing concepts — identifying milestone experiences in your customers’ journeys, then emphasizing and building marketing strategies around those experiences.

We’ve all had them. Remember when you took that puppy home for a trial period? Or how about when you asked to see the dessert menu because you were “curious.” How about that college campus visit for your teenager that completely changed her mind?

Businesses love when potential customers make a full commitment and press the “buy now” button, or call to order a product or service. But often, asking for a “half-way” action is more realistic: one that doesn’t require as much of a commitment, but establishes a path towards a sale. It may be asking a website visitor to use a “build your own” simulator tool to design a custom backyard shed, choosing the color and features for their next car, or answering a few questions to determine the approximate cost of their next roof.

Generating Ideas for Experience Milestones

What’s the thing that sells your company’s thing? What are some realistic user-experience milestones you should be asking for? If you don’t have any ideas in mind, here are some suggestions:

  1. Think about your best customers. What are some of the experiences that they’ve had before making the decision to hire you? Look for patterns. Pro tip: there may be more than one “Thing.”
  2. Consider making a video. A powerful video that says just the right thing to a potential customer at the right time can be extremely powerful.
  3. Think about “easy asks.” What can you safely ask the potential customer for that they’d likely say “yes” to? Maybe it’s an in-person event invitation where you deepen relationships with the decision-makers. Maybe it’s an educational event where you position your brand as helpful and informative. Maybe it’s showing them that one-in-a-million beautiful photograph you captured of your product.

The thing that sells the thing can take on many forms, but it always has to do with the experience of the end-user. It requires both empathy and imagination for businesses to figure out which experiences actually create no-turning-back milestones for their customers. But that focus and that discovery might just revolutionize your business development efforts.

What “no turning back” experiences have you identified for your industry? Our experienced team at YDOP can help you to identify your “Thing that sells the thing™” and then build your digital strategy around it. Our experienced marketers can help you develop a powerful strategy and execute it to get results that you’ll see in your bottom line.