Can Inbound Learn from Retail?

I was reading about Carole Mahoney’s mutated sales funnel and reflected back on some of the experiences that we’ve all had with retail salespeople.

Carole talks about TOFU, MOFU and BOFU. Remember the last time that you walked into a retail store? When the salesperson saks, “Can I help you?”, what do you say? Is your response a clear indication of your location in the funnel or are you hiding information because the salesperson hasn’t earned your trust yet?
Carole also suggests that where prospects are in the funnel is an indication of what they know and how close they are to buying. This is where people can really get in trouble. Julie commented on my last post that she’s just trying to save everybody time, but she’s assuming that she knows what she needs and she may not know all that the salesperson knows. She may be trying to buy the wrong solution.
Finally, think about all the ways that a prospect could find you. Are they finding you because you’re advertising a low price on something that you want to use to bait and switch them? Are they finding you because you’re advertising more coils, more knots or more of an item that you’ve private labelled so they can’t comparison shop? Are they finding you because they found a great article, but they’re not looking to buy a solution because they’re looking to do it themselves?
Anything else?
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One thought on “Can Inbound Learn from Retail?

  1. 3 things. 1- indicate is the keyword. Nothing should ever be assumed. This is a danger that many fall into with customer persona modes, like sales scripts, it leads to people assume. Always test the assumptions.2-how we buy changes with what we are buying, why, etc. You may walk into a retail store and not want to reveal much and have to feel that you are getting the best deal in town. I, on the other hand, walk into a running store and buy the most expensive running shoes in 15 min- because I hate retail shopping, I only have 30 min to get them, I know I want a pair of shoes, and I don’t care what brand, so long as they feel right.3- TOFU, MOFU, BOFU should be based on the target customer’s buying process. Bait and switch is in direct opposition to that.Julie’s comment is a great example also of being authentic. While we can adjust our style to understand and be understood, we should never change ourselves to appear to be a match just to get the sale. In her case, it could be that it is just not a good match. It could also be that the salesperson is not asking the right questions to understand.Thanks for the mention! 🙂

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