As a business owner, I am always receiving emails advertising everything under the sun. At least once a week a salesperson will drop off their business card and sales material in hopes of getting me to buy their product. Every one of us is constantly bombarded with advertising and pressured by salesmen trying to sell us something—so much so that we have all become very cynical consumers. It’s as if we have all set our default setting to “I don’t believe you” or “Sounds great, but what’s the catch?”
This cynicism explains why most advertising and cold calls are a waste of time and money. Before you can sell to the consumer, you have to first gain their trust. Consumers buy from people they know, like, and trust. That is why traditional marketing and sales campaigns are no longer very effective. Asking for the sale on the first contact with a prospect is like proposing marriage on the first date—not likely to happen.
That is why the most effective marketing is based on relationships using the VCP process. VCP stands for Visibility, Credibility, and Profitability. This process takes into account that no relationship, especially a business-customer relationship, appears out of nowhere. They are born and nurtured as the business earns the trust of the customer.
Visibility is how your customer becomes aware you exist. The best way to get visibility is to offer information that provides a solution to a problem. This is where you present a variety of solutions to the customer’s problem, with your product or service as one of the options.
Credibility is earned as your customer begins to build confidence in your ability to solve their problem. This can take many months to accomplish, and requires patience by the business owner who must learn to use such techniques as sending newsletters, posting to blogs, and providing free informative webinars. Credibility entails doing what you have promised to do once the customer makes the first purchase.
Profitability is the final step. This is when the customer becomes not just a one-time customer, but a repeat customer. Better yet, they become a raving fan who refers their friends.
The VCP process is a better way to plan a marketing campaign that works with today’s busy cynical customers. But it takes planning and patience by the business owner.
So how can YOU use the VCP process to develop customers?