Moving prospects from contemplation to purchase

In the contemplation phase, a prospect is wondering, “Do I need this? Is it for me?”. You have no idea what level of clarity they have about their needs at this point. They may have only the vaguest idea that they want help, but don’t really know what sort of help they need.

So you need to consider different purchasing pathways for different prospective clients. The pathway for some prospective clients is going to involve a lot more education than the pathway for others. So it’s important to provide mechanisms for people who are ready to call/buy/sign-up right now, as well as systems to move other prospects closer toward this goal.

Now there is also a pre-contemplation stage – in this phase the prospect is not even aware that they might need what you are offering. They may not understand their own situation and they may not understand the relevance of your solution to them.

But you can still offer these prospects something to help move them closer toward taking action (buying your product or service).

What you need to do is help them define their own problem first of all. So you might do this by providing anonymous self-completed quizzes and surveys (Do you have a drinking problem?, What type of support is right for you?).

Now let’s look at testimonials for a moment. There is a place for testimonials at all phases of the buying decision process. But it’s worth giving some thought to to how you can provide appropriate testimonials to specifically address the state of mind and concerns of your prospect where they are right now.

Most testimonials are coming from the perspective of someone who has used a product or service and is reporting on how good it was, what it gave them.

For example, “allowed me to dream bigger dreams” might be a testimonial given to a life coach. But  these testimonials may not necessarily resonate with a person at the pre-buying phase. Sentiments such as these might sound positive, but do they actually offer anything to a prospect considering your service?


In behavioural change terminology this might be considered the contemplation stage of change (the change in this case being a shift from being a prospect to being a client).

As a prospect in the pre-buying phase, I want reassurance regarding my fears and I want encouragement with my hopes for the product or service. These hopes and fears could be totally different than the ones addressed by a post-sales testimonial. What about having some testimonials that specifically talk about topics such as:

* How did you find the buying process?
* How was your first coaching session?
* What were you looking for?
* What were you afraid of and were these fears borne out during your initial experience?

These types of testimonials may help people to move from pre-contemplation to contemplation to actually buying your product.

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